From Steve Anderson in today’s Independent on the questionable circumstances surrounding the U.S. Department of Justice’s targeting of Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom:
But members of his legal team claim the story behind his arrest, and the attempts to extradite him, have a far closer connection with Tinseltown.
Lawyers for the entrepreneur say the charges against him form part of a “political prosecution” waged by the Obama administration in exchange for campaign contributions and political support from film industry lobbyists.
One of Dotcom’s lawyers, Robert Amsterdam, told The Independent that the criminal case against his client, which alleges that Dotcom used Megaupload as a front for a criminal enterprise that willingly shared and profited from millions of dollars’ worth of copyrighted material, is based on erroneous use of civil law and is rooted in the relationship between the upper reaches of the Democratic party and the film-making industry.
In particular, Amsterdam cites the friendship between Vice President Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and a former Senator.
According to Amsterdam and his co-counsel, the US Department of Justice is going to great lengths to prosecute, and thus appease the Hollywood lobby, using racketeering laws to bolster a weak case built on non-existent civil theories of ‘secondary copyright infringement’.
“Here you have, if you excuse me, computer geeks, and they’re being treated as if they’re the heads of the Gambino crime family,” he says.
Expanding on a white paper recently released via Dotcom’s website, Amsterdam points out that the raid on Dotcom’s mansion came on the same day as the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill designed to tackle online piracy, was shelved in US Congress after outcry from online giants such as Google and Facebook, which claimed it would curb online freedoms.
The day before, Dodd made comments implying that the MPAA would stop supporting President Obama if something was not done to tackle copyright infringement.
Dodd, a man Biden has described as one of his best friends, had told FOX News: “Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a cheque for you when you think your job is at risk, and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”