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  1. After the seized Megaupload and Megavideo domains ran malicious ads last month, there is more Mega domain strangeness to report. Various domain names which previously belonged to Kim Dotcom and his companies have expired and are now listed for sale, or were sold already. When Kim Dotcom’s mansion was raided early 2012, the U.S. Government targeted various domain names that were linked to the “Mega conspiracy.†While Megaupload and Megavideo were the most prominent targets, the indictment also listed,, and various other “Mega†domains. All the above sites were pulled offline as a result of the raids, and and displayed a banner informing visitors that the sites were under investigation. As reported previously, the banners vanished after the U.S. Department of Justice made a mistake, which also caused the seized Megaupload and Megavideo domains to run malicious ads. After uncovering these problems with the Megaupload and Megavideo domains, we noticed something else strange. The domain name was no longer listed as seized. In fact, the domain is now in use by another company that offers backup solutions, similar to what Megaupload planned. Baffled by this finding, we contacted the company behind the new backup service. They informed us that they are in no way affiliated with Kim Dotcom, Megaupload or its former employees. “We are an independent software startup with no affiliation to MegaUpload whatsoever,†a company spokesperson said. Instead, the new Megabackup simply bought the domain name through a broker after it had expired. “We have acquired this domain name through a reseller platform called ‘Sedo’ about a year ago, simply because this name looked interesting and suitable for the backup software we make.†Megabackup is not the only domain that expired. The same happened to, and The latter is currently on sale for a cool $35,000. HugeDomains, the company currently selling, informed us that they scooped up the domain after it had expired. “When the domain was not renewed by the owner after expiration, HugeDomains acquired the domain when it became publicly available on January 22, 2015,†the company informed us. So has the U.S. Department of Justice made another mistake by letting these domains slip out of their hands? Well, not so fast. While the domain names are all linked to Megaupload and mentioned in the indictment, those on sale were not officially seized unlike many others. This means that anyone could have picked them up, which has also happened to Kim Dotcom’s domain. Commenting on the situation Dotcom informs us that the domains were not supposed to expire. “This should not have happened,†he says, adding that someone else in his team handled the registrations.
  2. Kim Dotcom's dream of a people-powered, censorship-resistant Internet will rely on the goodwill of supporters to get off the ground. In an announcement this morning, the entrepreneur confirmed that his MegaNet project will seek equity via a crowd-funding campaign set to launch on the January 2016 anniversary of the raid on Megaupload. For many years Kim Dotcom was associated with a crazy lifestyle but these days he prefers to be seen more as a family man. Regularly posting pictures of his children on Twitter and playing down his wild past, Dotcom seems unlikely to entertain a recent request from Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde to join him on the Gumball Rally. But while yachts and fast cars might be a thing of the past, Dotcom has certainly not lost the fire in his belly when it comes to his current predicament. As he fights off a ravenous U.S. government determined to bring him to justice by any means possible, spying included, the Megaupload founder has positioned himself as a champion of Internet privacy. On January 19, 2013, Dotcom marked the anniversary of the raid on his empire by launching the privacy-focused cloud-storage service Next year on the same date, the tenacious German says he will deliver again. Thus far, details are thin on the ground, but what we do know is that Dotcom is planning a new anti-censorship network he calls MegaNet. “How would you like a new Internet that can’t be controlled, censored or destroyed by Governments or Corporations?†Dotcom teased in February. MegaNet’s precise mechanism is yet to be revealed, but Dotcom has already stated that the network will be non-IP address based and that blockchain technology will play an important role. What we also know is that users’ mobile phones will play a crucial role, although at launch other devices will participate in the network. “All your mobile phones become an encrypted network,†Dotcom notes. “You’d be surprised how much idle storage & bandwidth capacity mobile phones have. MegaNet will turn that idle capacity into a new network.†At this stage it appears that Dotcom envisions a totally decentralized system, an essential quality if he is to deliver on his claims of absolute privacy. With the earlier promise that participants in MegaNet “become the MegaNetâ€, Dotcom’s announcement this morning that the project will seek monetary contributions from the masses seems entirely fitting. “MegaNet details will be revealed and equity will be available via crowd funding on 20 Jan 2016, the fourth anniversary of the raid [on Dotcom and Megupload],†Dotcom confirmed. And for now, that is all. Dotcom has become somewhat of an expert at dripping small details to the masses as and when he sees fit while allowing the media to fill in the blanks. It’s a somewhat effective strategy which provides millions in free advertising for close to zero marketing outlay. The big question now is how much equity MegaNet will need to get off the ground and how many of Dotcom’s supporters will believe that privacy is a commodity worth supporting with their wallets. People were happy to support Peter Sunde’s on the same premise, but as recently revealed the amount of cash required to compete can be considerable. However, Dotcom probably won’t attempt this entirely on his own. Given his history there’s a significant chance that the entrepreneur will pull in heavyweights such as Julian Assange and Glenn Greenwald to support the campaign. That will definitely help to boost the coffers. Update: Kim Dotcom has sent TorrentFreak additional details on how MegaNet will operate. “MegaNet has a unique file crystallization and recreation protocol utilizing the blockchain. You can load entire websites with this new technology and it makes them immune to almost all hacker attacks and ddos,†Dotcom informs TF. “In the beginning MegaNet will still utilize the current Internet as a dumb pipe but in 10 years it will run exclusively on smartphones with hopefully over 500 million users carrying the network. “A network by the people for the people. Not controlled by any government or corporations. MegaNet will be a powerful tool to guard our privacy and freedoms and it will also be my legacy,†Dotcom concludes. On the finance front, MegaNet will partner with and Max Keiser to raise capital.
  3. Kim Dotcom has booked a significant victory in his battle against U.S. efforts to seize assets worth millions of dollars. In a decision handed down this morning, Justice Ellis granted Dotcom interim relief from having a $67m forfeiture ordered recognized in New Zealand. Dotcom informs TF that the victory gives his legal team new momentum. In the long-running case of the U.S. Government versus Kim Dotcom, almost every court decision achieved by one side is contested by the other. A big victory for the U.S. back in March 2015 is no exception. After claiming that assets seized during the 2012 raid on Megaupload were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes, last July the U.S. government asked the court to forfeit bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions connected to the site’s operators. Dotcom and his co-defendants protested, but the Government deemed them fugitives and therefore disentitled to seek relief from the court. As a result District Court Judge Liam O’Grady ordered a default judgment in favor of the U.S. Government against assets worth an estimated $67m. Following a subsequent request from the U.S., New Zealand’s Commissioner of Police moved to have the U.S. forfeiture orders registered locally, meaning that the seized property would become the property of the Crown. Authorization from the Deputy Solicitor-General was granted April 9, 2015 and an application for registration was made shortly after. In response, Kim Dotcom and co-defendant Bram Van der Kolk requested a judicial review of the decision and sought interim orders that would prevent the Commissioner from progressing the registration application, pending a review. The Commissioner responded with an application to stop the judicial review. In a lengthy decision handed down this morning, Justice Ellis denied the application of the Commissioner while handing a significant interim victory to Kim Dotcom. Noting that the “fugitive disentitlement†doctrine forms no part of New Zealand common law, Justice Ellis highlighted the predicament faced by those seeking to defend themselves while under its constraints. “The application of the fugitive disentitlement doctrine to a person who is exercising a bi-laterally recognized right to defend an eligibility hearing, with the result that he is deprived of the financial means to mount that defense, is to put that person on the horns of a most uncomfortable and (the plaintiffs would say) unconstitutional dilemma,†Justice Ellis writes. Recognizing that Dotcom and Van der Kolk have a “substantial position to preserveâ€, Justice Ellis says there would be “very real consequences†if they were unable to do so. “If the provisional view I have formed about the unavailability of post-registration relief is correct, authorizing the registration application to proceed now might deprive the plaintiffs of any ability to defend the extradition or to pursue their appeals against the forfeiture order in the United States,†Justice Ellis said. “I have little hesitation in concluding that interim relief should therefore be granted.†The New Zealand Commissioner of Police is now barred from taking further action to register the U.S. forfeiture orders until the court indicates otherwise. Kim Dotcom informs TorrentFreak that his New Zealand legal team are “relieved†by the decision and can’t wait to “get back to work and beat this bogus extradition case.†Elsewhere, the battle continues. Dotcom says that the decisions handed down in New Zealand will be presented in Hong Kong in an attempt to get more assets unfrozen there. Over in the U.S. there is also much work to be done. “Our US lawyers are still bound by the US forfeiture judgment and won’t be allowed to accept funds from my unfrozen assets without a significant risk to them, unless the US government allows that, which is unlikely. But we have appealed the US Forfeiture judgment in the US and the team is optimistic that we will prevail,†he notes. Megaupload’s U.S.-based lawyer Ira Rothken joined Dotcom in welcoming today’s ruling. “We are grateful that the NZ court ruled in favor of fairness, natural justice, and due process today by stopping US efforts to take Kim Dotcom’s NZ assets for doing nothing more than opposing extradition to the US – a country he has never been to,†Rothken said. In closing, a fiery Dotcom reiterated his intention to keep battling. “The big fights are yet to come and I can’t wait to expose the US government and Hollywood for the most unlawful and corrupt law enforcement action ever taken against an Internet service provider. US attorney Jay Prabhu, the DOJ clown who lost control of the Megaupload domain recently, will only find a job at the MPAA after we are done with him,†Dotcom concludes.
  4. Kim Dotcom has succeeded in getting more of his seized funds released by the courts in New Zealand. In addition to millions for legal expenses, the entrepreneur will receive $128K per month including $60K to pay mansion rent, $25,600 to cover staff and security, plus $11,300 for grocery and other expenses. How much does it cost to enjoy a reasonable standard of living in the modern world? A couple of thousand dollars a month? Three thousand? Four? For Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, none of these amounts scratch the surface, a problematic situation considering all of his assets were previously seized by the U.S. and New Zealand governments. In February a “broke†and “destitute†Dotcom appeared before Justice Patricia Courtney, asking for living expenses and a massive cash injection to pay historical and current legal fees. Dotcom was previously granted around US$15,000 per month to live on but high costs had left him “pennilessâ€. Following the hearing Justice Courtney’s ruling is largely good news for Dotcom, with the Judge taking into consideration claims by authorities that the entrepreneur has funds in a trust that could help pay his expenses. “The trust’s major asset is its shareholding in Mega Ltd, said to be worth more than $30m (US$22.6m). In evidence Mr Dotcom said that there were difficulties in selling Mega shares because they were blocked from being sold until the planned listing of Mega, which is now scheduled for late May 2015 (though it is possible that this date will be pushed back). There was no evidence to the contrary,†the Judge’s ruling reads. “I have concluded that Mr Dotcom does not have the ability to meet his legal and reasonable living expenses from trust assets because, on the evidence, those assets are not sufficiently liquid.†Noting that he still owes former lawyers around US$1.5m, the Judge said that Dotcom’s estimate for financing his legal battle against extradition is between US$1.5m and US$3m. This amount will be released from currently restrained government bonds. Next up was the Dotcom family’s accommodation costs. Rent on the now-famous mansion amounts to US$754,000 per annum under a lease Dotcom signed in February 2013 and which expires in the same month 2016. The Judge decided that terminating that lease would result in additional costs. “If [Dotcom] were to terminate the lease in order to find a more modest home, he would immediately be exposed to a significant contractual liability for the existing rental in addition to the costs of any new accommodation,†the Judge writes. “Little would be saved by requiring Mr Dotcom to move into more modest accommodation pending the expiry of the lease; it is more likely that the total amount required to house Mr Dotcom and his children and meet his lease commitment would actually prove greater than simply remaining where he is. “I therefore accept that, in the particular circumstances of this case, a figure of $80,000 (US$60,300) per month is reasonable for accommodation.†The Judge also considered Dotcom’s claims for items like security, staff wages and other general expenses. Dotcom currently has eight staff but the Judge felt that five would be sufficient to assist with cleaning, cooking, shopping, managing the grounds and caring for Dotcom’s children. “I allow $25,000 ($18,850) per month for staff,†the Judge said. Turning to Dotcom’s request for $20,000 (US$15,000) for groceries, fuel and maintenance etc, the Judge said this was a little high considering Dotcom’s estranged wife Mona could be expected to chip in. “On the basis that the children’s mother can be expected to contribute to some of these costs I consider that the figure of $20,000 (US$15,000) is a little high and would reduce that to $15,000 (US$11,300) per month,†the Judge added. In addition to the legal fees mentioned earlier, in total Dotcom was awarded $170,000 (US$128,000) per month to cover living expenses. “Mr Dotcom may have access to that figure each month pending the expiry of the lease on the property,†the Judge said. “At that point I would expect that the position will be reviewed.†
  5. Kim Dotcom's upcoming extradition hearing has been delayed by three months. The procedure was set to go ahead in just four weeks but the High Court says that would give the entrepreneur insufficient time to prepare his case. It will now take place no earlier than September 1, 2015. While trying to recoup as much of his seized wealth as possible, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is determined to avoid being sent to the United States where he faces the largest copyright case in history. On four previous occasions the German-born businessman has been granted delays to his inevitable extradition hearing but in March his luck appeared to run out. Through his legal team Dotcom asked the North Shore District Court for an adjournment until October, claiming that more time was need to prepare his case and those of co-defendants Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk. The request was denied. Last month the parties returned to court with a request for a judicial review. Today and with some reservations, Justice Sarah Katz at the High Court granted the application, sending the matter back to the District Court to set a new hearing to take place no earlier than September 1. Justice Katz said that she believed that the delay was necessary for Dotcom and his associates to prepare their cases and have a fair hearing. “I have therefore concluded, with some reluctance (given the time that has elapsed since the plaintiffs were first brought before the courts) that the interests of natural justice require an adjournment of the 2 June 2015 extradition hearing date,†Justice Katz said. Previously, legal team issues and associated financing problems have prompted Dotcom to seek delays to his extradition hearing, but this morning the Judge indicated that the current delay shouldn’t herald additional claims. “This [adjournment] should not be taken by the plaintiffs, however, as a signal that any ongoing funding or representation difficulties (if they arise) would be likely to justify further adjournments,†Justice Katz said. “On the contrary, the plaintiffs must take full responsibility for preparing for their extradition hearing on whatever new date is allocated, with whatever level of legal support they are able to secure.†The United States has been particularly vocal on Dotcom’s financial position with claims that the entrepreneur “improperly divested himself†of shares in cloud-hosting service Mega when that money could have been used for his defense. The Judge addressed those claims in today’s ruling. “[Dotcom’s] Trust Me Trust is said to be a sham and Mr Dotcom’s conduct in relation to it is said to amount to equitable fraud,†the judgment notes, adding that if such an allegation was true, further delays to any trial would not be tolerated. In the event, Justice Katz said the validity of the U.S. government’s claims would be determined in separate proceedings. “For present purposes I must give Mr Dotcom the benefit of the doubt on the issue. Further, the assets of the Trust Me Trust, whoever may ultimately be entitled to them, are currently subject to freezing orders,†Justice Katz wrote. Finally, Dotcom co-defendant Finn Batato, who previously applied for legal aid due to a poor financial situation, will now have to defend himself after that application was turned down. However, that is not viewed as a problem by the Judge. “Mr Batato will be able to derive significant benefit from the work undertaken by his former legal team prior to their withdrawal. He will also derive significant benefit from the fact that the other three plaintiffs are legally represented and the plaintiffs are taking a collaborative approach to extradition issues,†the judgment reads. While today’s judgment appears to rule out further delays to Dotcom’s extradition hearing, the history of this case has shown us to expect the unexpected.
  6. The U.S. Government has won its civil forfeiture case against Megaupload and Kim Dotcom. As a result, the U.S. now owns Kim Dotcom's bank accounts, cars, art and other property worth dozens of millions of dollars. Megaupload's founder describes the ruling as unjust and says his team will file an appeal at a higher court. Following the 2012 raid on Megaupload and Kim Dotcom, U.S. and New Zealand authorities seized millions of dollars in cash and other property. Claiming the assets were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes, last July the U.S. government launched a separate civil action in which it asked the court to forfeit the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants. Megaupload’s defense heavily protested the request but was found to have no standing, as Dotcom and his colleagues can be seen as fugitives. A few hours ago District Court Judge Liam O’Grady ordered a default judgment in favor of the U.S. Government. This means that the contested assets, which are worth an estimated $67 million, now belong to the United States. “It all belongs to the U.S. government now. No trial. No due process,†Dotcom informs TF. More than a dozen Hong Kong and New Zealand bank accounts have now been forfeited (pdf) including some of the property purchased through them. The accounts all processed money that was obtained through Megaupload’s alleged illegal activities. The list of forfeited assets further includes several luxury cars, such as a silver Mercedes-Benz CLK DTM and a 1959 pink Cadillac, two 108″ Sharp LCD TVs and four jet skis. The memorandum issued by Judge O’Grady repeats many of the allegations in the original indictment. It lists links to infringing materials that could be found on the site and claims that Megaupload purposefully obfuscated its illegal intent. Dotcom refutes these claims as “Hollywood nonsense†and maintains that Megaupload was operating legally and cooperated with copyright holders when required. “The default judgment is so thick with DOJ and Hollywood nonsense that one might think they drafted it,†Dotcom says. The New Zealand based entrepreneur believes that it’s been an unfair battle thus far, and with his assets now going to the U.S. it’s certainly not getting any easier. But while the ruling is a huge blow, it also opens up the possibility to have the case reviewed by a higher court. “For the first time we get the opportunity to test the decisions of this Judge at a higher court. Because of the way his previous rulings were designed he made an appeal impossible. But we now can and probably will appeal O’Grady’s decision on fugitive disentitlement and forfeiture,†Dotcom notes. For now, however, the successful forfeiture request is the U.S. Government’s first major victory against Megaupload. Meanwhile, Dotcom and his fellow Megaupload defendants are still waiting to hear whether they will be sent to the U.S. to stand trial. The extradition hearing will start early June, after a request from Dotcom’s lawyers to postpone it was turned down earlier this week.
  7. Kim Kardashian apparently thinks Scott Disick's recent behaviour is 'totally reckless'. Scott, the long-term partner of Kim's older sister, Kourtney, ditched several commitments in London, England, to travel to Paris to party with Kim and husband Kanye West. And Kim is said to be stunned that Scott would be so disrespectful. 'Kim was totally shocked when Scott showed up,' a Kardashian source told 'She couldn't believe that he would blow off events that he had been paid for to come to Paris. Kim is all about business and this was business. He had been paid to be there and he totally shirked his responsibility.' The 31-year-old had left fans disappointed when he cancelled several pit-stops on his UK tour to go to France, where Kim and Kanye were attending Paris Fashion Week and its various parties. And while Scott's agent denied several fans' claims that the reality star had appeared intoxicated when he did attend some of his appearances, Kim is reportedly concerned that his actions are indicative of more destructive behaviour to come. 'Kim thinks Scott was totally reckless by ditching the British events to come to Paris,' the source added. 'She is really worried that he isn't thinking about his family first. And if he can't get his life under control then she wants him to get help. Either go back to rehab or figure out something else that will work. 'Kim wants the best for Kourtney and she doesn't want to see her sister's family put in jeopardy over Scott's behaviour. This has to stop now.' Following his disinterest during one of his tour stops in Manchester, Scott is apparently being sued for breach of contract. Sources at the event told that Scott refused to answer questions from fans, and people who had paid $145 per ticket for VIP entry were told not to speak to, or touch, Scott while posing for pictures. The PR company told they have initiated legal proceedings against the father-of-three, but he has yet to respond.
  8. Kim Dotcom was in court today pleading for access to his seized assets. A reportedly "destitute" Dotcom asked for the release of US$152,000 a month for living expenses and as much as US$3m for legal fees. The Megaupload founder said if funds aren't forthcoming, living in a mansion may no longer be an option. After years of enjoying a lifestyle most people could only dream of, Kim Dotcom’s name has become almost synonymous with spending to excess. There are dozens of photos showing the Megaupload founder on yachts surrounded by exotic beauties and specially commissioned films depicting his passion for high performance cars. In 2012, however, the brakes were applied somewhat when United States and New Zealand authorities shutdown Megaupload and seized millions in assets. Ever since, Dotcom has periodically requested access to those funds, and has succeeded in obtaining large sums on a number of occasions. But after reportedly burning through almost all released funds, a “broke and destitute†Dotcom was back in the High Court today seeking the release of yet more cash from the US$9m seized by New Zealand authorities three years ago. Appearing before Justice Patricia Courtney, Dotcom requested living expenses and a massive cash injection to pay historical and current legal fees. Dotcom was previously granted around US$15,000 per month to live on but the entrepreneur said that the cost of running a family and a mansion had left him “pennilessâ€. And, according to RadioNZ, Dotcom still owes a small fortune to his former legal team who quit last year when the entrepreneur previously ran out of funds. QC Paul Davison, who had fought Dotcom’s corner since the 2012 raid, is reportedly owed around US$380,000 while lawfirm Simpson Grierson is owed around US$1.5m. To cover his living expenses, at least for now, Dotcom today requested the release of US$152,000 per month plus up to US$3m to put towards his legal defense. Needless to say, the Crown has been putting up a fight, but in common with all things Dotcom, there are other complexities to consider. Last year Dotcom and his wife Mona separated in a wave of publicity, with the latter allegedly fleeing their shared mansion on a golf cart in the middle of the night. Since her ‘escape’ the former model has appeared in several magazine articles in which she provided insight into her life with Kim. The latest, which reported her new love life and a $60,000 Mercedes gift to a “toyboy loverâ€, inspired Dotcom to take to Twitter. “I helped & hired a 17yr old troubled kid to play Xbox with Mona’s brothers. 1 year ago he decided to play with Mona,†Kim wrote. On February 20, the apparent problems continued, with Dotcom reporting that Mona had applied to the High Court asking that it should “decline Mr Dotcom’s application… to release frozen assets for his legal defense.’ Mona Dotcom’s position is an interesting one. Even though she’s not part of the U.S. copyright case against her estranged husband and reportedly not part of Kim’s life anymore, she is the controller of the family trust and the millions it contains. Mona withdrew her opposition to Kim’s application today which prompted Crown lawyer David Boldt to suggest that Mona could release funds from the trust to her husband. However, the fact that the couple are in a “separation battle†over their shared assets was quickly pointed out by a reportedly “amused†Kim Dotcom. Turning to Dotcom’s current home, the now-famous Coatesville mansion, Boldt asked Kim Dotcom if moving to something more frugal might be an option. “Have you thought about moving into a house that doesn’t cost you $1m a year?†he said. “Which landlord is going to rent to me? I don’t have even a bank account,†Dotcom replied. Noting that he didn’t want to uproot his children and that the family had spent $6.8m improving the place, Dotcom conceded that if his financial situation didn’t improve, he may have to relocate. A decision will be handed down shortly.
  9. Mega founder Kim Dotcom has saved Christmas for many Playstation and Xbox gamers. In what he describes as a Christmas Miracle, Kim Dotcom appears to have stopped Lizard Squad's DDoS attacks by handing out 3,000 vouchers for premium Mega accounts, worth $99 a piece. When Xbox and Playstation players wanted to test their Christmas gifts a few hours ago, they were welcomed by an unpleasant surprise. Lizard Squad, who repeatedly DDoSed the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live’s servers in recent months, were back with a Christmas gift nobody asked for. Another DDoS attack resulting in yet more downtime. One of the affected players was Kim Dotcom, who’s an avid Xbox player himself. But instead of cursing Lizard Squad to high heaven he decided to make them an offer. Although the general belief may be that it’s best not to negotiate with “terrorists,†Dotcom decided to give it a try. “Hi @LizardMafia, I want to play #Destiny on XBOX Live. I’ll give your entire crew Mega lifetime premium vouchers if you let us play. Cool?†he tweeted. Lizard Squad is apparently easy to please as they were willing to stop the attacks in return for 3,000 free cloud hosting vouchers. After getting approval from Mega’s management, Dotcom and Lizard Squad eventually came to terms through Twitter’s back-channel. Once the vouchers were in Lizard Squad’s possession, the attacks did indeed slow down and Christmas was saved. While some still experienced some outages due to the earlier attacks, many players were able to join their favorite games again. “Thanks @KimDotcom for the vouchers–you’re the reason we stopped the attacks. @MegaPrivacy is an awesome service,†Lizard Squad tweeted, confirming the successful intervention. Dotcom, meanwhile, is happy that he can play Destiny but wishes that his other troubles could be resolved this easily too. Whether the U.S. Department of Justice will accept Mega vouchers is doubtful though. “Obviously, diplomacy works. I recommend that the U.S. Government gives it a try. #MakeLoveNotWar #UseMegaVouchers,†Kim noted. Of course there’s no guarantee that Lizard Squad will keep their promise during the days to come, but Dotcom said he will render the vouchers useless if attacks resume. Merry Christmas everyone…
  10. A high-profile police raid carried out on Kim Dotcom's New Zealand mansion has been declared legal by the country's Supreme Court. The Court acknowledged that the search warrants used against Dotcom were 'deficient' in detail, but this did not result in a miscarriage of justice. Almost three years ago, New Zealand police carried out a spectacular and aggressive armed raid against individuals accused only of copyright infringement. Acting on allegations from the United States government and its Hollywood partners, officers of STG, New Zealand’s elite counter-terrorist force, raided Kim Dotcom’s mansion. The German-born businessman was detained along with his wife Mona and their children. Mid 2012, a High Court judge found that the warrants used in the raid were overbroad and therefore illegal, but a February 2014 Court of Appeal reached a different conclusion. While acknowledging that the warrants contained flaws, a panel of three judges at the Court of Appeal found that overall the warrants were legal. Dissatisfied with the ruling, Dotcom took the case all the way to the Supreme Court complaining that the warrants were overbroad and lacked detail. The verdict was handed down today. In another disappointing ruling for the Megaupload founder, this morning the Supreme Court found that the 2012 raids on Dotcom’s home were carried out legally. Four Justices – John McGrath, William Young, Susan Glazebrook and Terence Arnold – dismissed Dotcom’s appeal while agreeing that the 2012 warrants were not unreasonably vague and general. Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias dissented, but her determination that there had been a miscarriage of justice was overruled. One judge aside, the Court acknowledged that while the original search warrants were indeed deficient when detailing the alleged offenses, those shortcomings did not result in damage for Dotcom and his associates. “The majority of the Court has decided that, although the search warrants were deficient in their description of the offenses to which they related, these defects did not result in any miscarriage of justice to the appellants,†the Court wrote in its summary. “While the search warrants did not specify that the offenses were against United States law, or that the offenses were punishable by two or more years’ imprisonment, this did not cause any significant prejudice to the appellants.†When taking all circumstances into account, including the explanations given to Dotcom by police carrying out the raid, the Court found that Dotcom (and fellow claimants Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk) were given enough detail about the alleged offenses to which the search warrants related. Dotcom, who along with his co-appellants will have to pay court costs of $35,000, aired his disappointment on Twitter. “New Zealand Chief Justice Dame Elias got it right in both Supreme Court decisions in my case. She must be as frustrated as I am,â€
  11. After theaters all around the U.S. backed away from screening The Interview, this week Sony pulled the controversial movie. But now BitTorrent Inc. has stepped into the fray with an online distribution offer. "For us this about the two things we care about most: an open Internet and a sustainable future for creativity," the company said. For Sony Pictures and the creative talent behind The Interview, the past several weeks have been extraordinary. With Sony falling to a crippling hack attack reportedly at the hands of North Korea, never before has a movie resulted in so much corporate destruction. As the dust settles, at least temporarily, Sony finds itself between a rock and a hard place. After pulling the movie this week following threats of terror attacks on theaters, Sony was criticized by President Obama yesterday who described the decision as “a mistake“. Sony responded with a statement from CEO Michael Lynton: “We have not caved. We have not given in. We have persevered, and we have not backed down. We have always had every desire to have the American public see this movie.†But with theaters dropping like flies and “not been one major VOD or one major ecommerce site†stepping forward to show the film, the studio’s options are limited. Last night, however, a hero stepped forward to take on the tyranny of state-sponsored terrorism. “Like everyone else around the world, we’ve been following this egregious hacking of Sony’s servers over the past few weeks,†BitTorrent Inc. said in a statement to VB. “A trend has emerged among commentary in the days since Sony announced they would not release the motion picture, ‘The Interview.’ There have been calls for Sony to release the film online. And many have contacted us asking: Would they be able to release the movie using BitTorrent? “Though we normally would not offer commentary during such a trying time for another company, the answer is yes,†the company said. BitTorrent Inc. believes that Sony’s best option to “take back control of their film†and not cave in to “terrorist threats†is to utilize the company’s BitTorrent Bundles. Not only would Bundles allow everyone to view The Interview at home safe in the knowledge they aren’t going to get blown up, but this would strike “a strong note for free speech†while allowing Sony to set whatever price they like for the film, BitTorrent Inc. says. While there is certainly a promotional aspect to BitTorrent Inc.’s offer, releasing the movie using the BitTorrent protocol would solve Sony’s initial distribution problems. The company could probably flick the switch and have this movie out by Monday, if they’re really wanted to. Of course, any release via BitTorrent Bundles would mean that The Interview would also become available on public and private torrent sites within hours. At this point anyone could download the movie for free. There had been suggestions earlier this week that Sony should go straight to torrent sites with the movie anyway, but BitTorrent Inc. thinks this is a bad idea. “We disagree, however, with some that have suggested that Sony should make the film available through piracy sites. That would only serve to encourage bad actors. It’s also important to make the distinction that these piracy sites are not ‘torrent sites.’ They are piracy sites that are wrongfully exploiting torrent technology,†the company said. It seems unlikely that BitTorrent Inc. will seal the deal with Sony, but if they were successful this would not only be a major coup for the company but one steeped in irony. As BitTorrent Inc. promises to strike a blow for freedom using BitTorrent, for the past several weeks the Sony hackers have also been using the BitTorrent protocol to distribute the very files they obtained from Sony. Just goes to show, BitTorrent technology really can be used for anything.
  12. In a new court filing Megaupload's legal team refutes the U.S. Government's claim that Kim Dotcom and his former colleagues are fugitives. The filing further reveals efforts to uncover the MPAA's involvement in the criminal investigation into Megaupload and Kim Dotcom. kimfugitiveIt’s been nearly three years since Megaupload was taken down by the U.S. authorities but it’s still uncertain whether Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants will be extradited overseas. As there’s little progress in the criminal case, the U.S. launched a separate civil case asking the court to forfeit the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions of the Megaupload defendants. The U.S. claims that these assets were obtained through criminal activities. In a recent motion to strike the DoJ added that Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants have no right to oppose the forfeiture request as they are fugitives. “Claimants Bram van der Kolk, Finn Batato, Julius Bencko, Kim Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, and Sven Echternach, are deliberately avoiding prosecution by declining to enter the United States where the criminal case is pending,†U.S. Attorney Dana Boente noted. Yesterday evening Megaupload’s legal team filed a response to the Government’s motion, noting that the U.S. heavily distorts the “fugitive†status concept. The lawyers inform the court that Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants aren’t trying to avoid prosecution. Instead, they’re remaining in place until the New Zealand court decides over their extradition request. “These Claimants never fled the United States to evade prosecution. To the contrary, they remain precisely where they have long been residing and carrying out the very business enterprise that the Government characterizes as criminal—in New Zealand.†“Nor have these Claimants altered their plans so as to avoid return to the United States. To the contrary, they are simply maintaining the pre-indictment status quo and following the rule of law by invoking their rights under the laws and procedures of their home countries, where they had long-planned to remain.†In a declaration to the court Dotcom emphasizes that he’s currently under supervision of the New Zealand court. He never fled from the United States, in fact, he has never been there in his entire life. “I have never been a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. I have never visited the United States,†Dotcom writes. Megaupload’s lawyers ask the court to deny the U.S. “fugitives'†claim or keep it pending until there’s a decision on the motion to dismiss they filed earlier. In this motion they argued that the entire case should be dismissed since the U.S. doesn’t have a statute for criminal secondary copyright infringement. If the court decides to move forward, Megaupload’s legal team want the “fugitives†claim to be converted to a request for summary judgment. This would allow them to conduct discovery and find out what role the MPAA played in the criminal investigation. Shortly before the investigation began the MPAA hired former Assistant Attorney General, Cybele Daley, for lobbying purposes. Daley had a budget of over $1 million a year to lobby attorneys at the Department of Justice, and Megaupload’s lawyers want to find out where the U.S. was overreaching. It’s now up to the Virginia federal court to decide how to proceed. Needless to say, the outcome will have a major impact on Dotcom’s means to fight back. torrentfreak
  13. After several false takedown notices from the major record labels Mega has now terminated the cloud hosting account of its founder Kim Dotcom. The incident shows that Mega takes copyright infringement seriously, but that it's also vulnerable to abuse. New Zealand-based entrepeneur Kim Dotcom has dealt with numerous copyright infringement allegations in recent years. The United States launched a criminal case against Dotcom and wants him extradited, while the major movie and music companies filed their own suits against Megaupload’s former boss. This week he can add another allegation to this growing list, a rather unusual one too as it comes from cloud hosting service Mega, a company he founded. Dotcom has been using Mega to share his first music album “Good Times†with everyone who wants to give it a spin. While he holds all the rights, several prominent music labels kept informing Mega that the album was “infringing.†A few weeks ago we learned that the takedown requests were all inaccurate, and triggered by a prankster. However, that apparently didn’t stop them from coming in and as a result Dotcom has now had his Mega account terminated for repeatedly violating the terms of service. Those who try to grab a copy of the album via the official download link on see the following message: “The file you are trying to download is no longer available. The associated user account has been terminated due to multiple violations of our Terms of Service.†The account termination probably won’t last as it was triggered by false takedowns. However, it shows how easy it is to abuse the takedown process to shut down people’s accounts, at least temporarily. Previously Mega told TF that they take every takedown notice seriously, but that they also plan to set up a system where repeated false takedowns can be flagged to prevent this type of abuse in the future. “We are improving our systems to monitor the takedown process and will eventually be able to identify repeated incorrect notices,†a Mega spokesperson said. For now, we hope that Dotcom has his files backed up in a safe place. Update: Kim Dotcom told us that the following takedown notices were received for his album.The account has now been reinstated. Aug 18 – IFPI – allegedly “The Golden Echo†by “Kimbra†Sep 1 – IFPI – unspecified, could be any of “DAVID BISBAL, ARIANA GRANDE, EMINEM, ALEJANDRO SANZ, VA, U2, CESAR MENOTTI E FABIANO, CARTEL DE SANTA, CRAIG DAVID, GREEN DAY, DUNCAN DHU, PLAYA LIMBO, RICARDO ARJONA†Sep 15 – Begian Anti-piracy Federation – allegedly “X†by “Ed Sheeran†Oct 11 – MarkMonitor on behalf of the Entertainment Software Association – allegedly “ALIENS†Oct 12 – NBC Universal – allegedly “Anarchy†by “The Purge†Oct 22 – MarkMonitor on behalf of HBO – allegedly “Boardwalk Empire†Oct 23 – MarkMonitor on behalf of CBS – unspecified, could be any of “NCIS: NEW ORLEANS, NCIS, STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE, EXTANT (2014), PENNY DREADFUL, HAWAII FIVE-0 (2010)†
  14. Kim Kardashian is enjoying a surprise getaway somewhere tropical for her birthday. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star turned 34 years old on October 21. And her husband Kanye West helped her celebrate in style, as Us Weekly reports he whisked her away on holiday to an exotic locale. Kim posted a photo of the gorgeous beach where she is staying on Instagram Wednesday, leaving out any clues as to who she was vacationing with. 'Good morning #BdaySurpriseGettaway,' she wrote on the picture-sharing website in the scenic photo's caption. Kanye has a history of making Kim's birthdays as special as possible. Last year saw him propose to the reality star in a truly lavish way. He rented out AT&T Park, a huge stadium, in San Francisco and asked for her hand in marriage in front of a bevy of friends and family who were sitting in the bleachers. The rapper revealed on Twitter Tuesday just how much he still loves his other half. 'Happy Birthday baby! Thank you for being the dopest wife & mom!' Kanye tweeted. 'Sometimes I feel like just saying I love you isn't strong enough to express how much I love you.' Kim and Kanye welcomed daughter North into their life in June 2013. And their little baby is said to serve as a deep source of inspiration for the loving couple. 'Kim is really determined to be the healthiest mom ever for Nori. As a birthday gift for herself, Kim wants to do her best to eliminate sugar from her diet,' a source told Hollywood Life. 'She was inspired by the new documentary called Fed Up which is about the food industry and how sugar is hurting our youth, causing obesity and diabetes. Kim really wants to be a role model for Nori and wants to be as healthy as possible as well.' Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  15. Kanye West is reportedly trying to get Kim Kardashian to "soften" towards Beyoncé Knowles. Kanye and Beyoncé's husband Jay Z are good friends and have even been on tour together. However, their wives don't get on quite so well, with speculation the singer is not too impressed with the reality TV star. Earlier this year it was claimed that Beyoncé asked not to be seated too close to Kim at the MTV VMAs, but she's apparently now had a re-think. "As far as Kim's concerned, the damage is done - she thinks Bey only wants to be friends because she wants something from her now," an insider told British magazine Heat. "But Kanye would love for things to be better and it trying to get Kim to soften. Kanye's spoken to Jay privately and told him the approach may have to be public in some way - that's the way Kim is and not coming to the wedding was a huge snub." Kim and Kanye tied the knot in Italy in May and it had been thought that Jay would act as best man. In the end, the A-list couple didn't attend - in part thought to be because Beyoncé didn't want to appear on Kim's show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. "Kim's ignoring her calls so far. Bey's going to have to eat some serious humble pie to make up for all the public snubs she's made over the years and for missing her wedding," the source said. "She's certainly not going to forgive her just because Kim's a bit more famous now and Beyoncé's popularity has taken a hit." Add Rep and Leave a feedback Reputation is the green button in the down right corner on my post
  16. Since his hectic election campaign came to a close last month, Kim Dotcom hasn't given a single interview. On TorrentFreak today he breaks his silence, opening up on his fight with two governments, his departure from Baboom, and what he views as almost "religious extremism" employed by the labels and Hollywood to destroy him. When it comes to the online space, Kim Dotcom is undoubtedly one of the most polarizing personalities around. From Megaupload to Mega to his fledgling music service Baboom, everything touched by the man has been bathed in publicity and heated opinion. It is this ability to attract attention that undoubtedly played a key role in his creation of the Internet Party, a political movement with a stated aim to shake up New Zealand politics and put Dotcom-affiliated politicians in Parliament. Last month, however, the elections failed to go as planned. The Internet Partyconceded defeat without winning a single seat, with its founder honoring tradition by politely congratulating Prime Minister and arch-rival John Key on his success. After endless appearances and endless daily tweets, Dotcom essentially disappeared from public life, only breaking his silence to comment on the video game Destiny and his exit from Baboom. Today we catch up with the controversial entrepreneur to find out what happened. “Baboom is this great idea of unchaining the artists from major record labels, allowing them to deal directly with their fanbase and using groundbreaking new ways of monetization that pay artists even when fans access content for free,†Dotcom told TF. “But Baboom is facing tough opposition from the labels. Baboom has had to deal with unfair and deliberate efforts to make us fail. I won’t go into details.†Dotcom says that for the sake of the artists he wants Baboom to succeed. But, in order for that to happen, a sacrifice needed to be made. “The best way to achieve that success was to take me out of Baboom completely. We have a great management team and some brave investors in place. The brand ‘Kim Dotcom’ is toxic and a major distractor to what Baboom is trying to achieve,†he concedes. While sometimes problematic, Dotcom’s branding is clearly a double-edged sword, one only needs to look at the 2012 launch of to see that. On the tiniest of budgets, Dotcom managed to rally the world’s press to witness the launch of his new cloud-storage site. And without him it’s doubtful that Baboom would’ve achieved the profile it has today. But while those same strengths allowed the Internet Party to became a news event every day leading up to the election, Dotcom’s profile and history – by his own admission – became a millstone around the party’s neck. Every aspect of his private life became a point of leverage for his political opposition. “The Internet Party failed to deliver meaningful change in New Zealand at the last election because of the media spin by our opponents,†Dotcom says. “They have successfully turned me into a villain, a German Nazi, a horrible employer, a political hacker, a practitioner of prohibited digital voodoo magic and nothing short of a monster. I would hate that guy too if I didn’t know that it wasn’t true.†Dotcom says that part of the problem is that he has powerful enemies who in turn have friends in positions of influence, including in the press. “When you have the US Government, the NZ Government, all Hollywood studios and all major record labels fighting against you, you don’t have a lot of friends, especially in the media,†Dotcom says. “They either own the media (like in the US) or control the media with their significant advertising spending. Their passion to destroy me and everything I do, because of a copyright disagreement, is almost as fanatical as some of the religious extremism I see on TV.†So with the election over, and maybe even Dotcom’s entire political career with it, the entrepreneur still has huge adversity to overcome. As he cuts Baboom free and wishes the company every success, Dotcom thoughts and energies turn to his pending extradition case. He knows it’s not going to be easy, especially given the mauling he received at the hands of New Zealand’s political heavyweights in the run up to the election. “If I was a judge in New Zealand I wouldn’t think too highly of ‘Kim Dotcom’ after months of prime time media bashing by the Prime Minister personally and his media helpers,†Dotcom says. “John Key constantly made the Internet Party and its goals for Internet Freedom about my extradition case and he accused me of attempting to subvert the New Zealand judiciary. He basically told the judiciary every day that I’m a selfish, criminal man who ‘has to go away’.†While Dotcom insists his motives were altruistic, there can be little doubt that if the election had gone his way the words of John Key and friends might have meant just that little bit less. As it stands, things went pretty badly. The details of that extradition fight will become clear during the months to come, but in closing Dotcom shared with us an interesting development. “After 1000 days of waiting we finally got access to our own data (copies of our personal computers / hard drives). Remember, the Government made us wait this long for a single reason only: They demanded access to our encryption codes,†he says. “But here’s the twist: It turns out that the Government had access to the encryption codes all along. Who would have thought that they didn’t install a trojan on my computer while they had the GCSB / NSA spying on me.†Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing is currently scheduled to take place in February 2015. Expect the media circus to get going again soon.
  17. In a surprise move Kim Dotcom has sold all of his shares in music startup Baboom. Speaking with TorrentFreak, Baboom chief executive Grant Edmundson said that the company will now be able to be judged on its own merits, rather than on the "brand equity (or otherwise) of its shareholder base." On January 20, 2014, Kim Dotcom celebrated the two-year anniversary of the raid on his New Zealand mansion by releasing his brand new album ‘Good Times’. In addition to being the first Dotcom collection distributed commercially, the album was also notable for soft-launching Baboom. The fledging music service was to provide the platform for the entrepreneur’s assault on the major label-controlled recording business. From the beginning Baboom’s stated aim was to disrupt the music industry by closing the gap between artists and fans, rewarding the former with most of the profits. The latter would be put in a win-win situation via free ad-supported music streaming. The one constant that remained throughout was Kim Dotcom himself, a person with whom the service was inextricably linked, both financially and from branding and marketing perspectives. Today, however, that has all come to an end. According to a new Particulars of Shareholding document filed this morning, Coatesville Trustee Services Limited – Dotcom’s family trust – has sold all of its shares in Baboom. Before the sale Michael Sorensen’s Vig Limited, which also holds 13044 shares (9.97%) in, held 45% of Baboom’s shares. Company documents reveal that Vig now owns 90% after Dotcom’s family trust shares were transferred to the company. As can be seen above, the remaining 10% is held by Xavier Buck of Dicé Invest. In November 2013, Buck, who is also a director at Domaintools, said he would be heading up MEGA Europe. Perhaps the most curious element of Dotcom’s exit from the business is the language being used by Baboom chief executive Grant Edmundson. While he wishes the Baboom founder well, a single sentence distances Dotcom from the company in every possible way. “The transaction means Dotcom no longer has any equity or role in Baboom, nor any relationship with the company,†Edmundson said. “Kim is moving on to focus on other projects and both camps wish each other well with future plans.†TorrentFreak spoke with Edmundson and asked if Dotcom’s exit from the company had been his choice alone, Baboom’s, or by mutual agreement. He told us that he would not comment on matters between shareholders. However, when questioned on whether Baboom’s brand would be affected by the departure of its founder, Edmundson was more forthcoming. “In terms of the impact on Baboom, my view is that the Baboom service will now be able to be judged on its own merits rather than being assessed on the brand equity (or otherwise) of its shareholder base,†the Baboom CEO said. Kim Dotcom did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Baboom is currently trying to raise US$3.98m (NZ$5.05m) and a listing on the Australian Securities Exchange. The company sought to raise the funds from investors in return for 11.5% of its shares with the offer closing in July, but that deadline was amended to make it open-ended. Baboom is scheduled to debut in the fourth quarter of 2014, although no firm launch date has been provided by the company. Update: Kim Dotcom has taken to Twitter:
  18. In recent weeks various music industry groups have sent takedown requests targeting Kim Dotcom's album Good Times. IFPI and others claim that Dotcom's music infringes the rights of their artists, but it appears that they fell victim to a DMCA prankster. Earlier this year Kim Dotcom released his first music album “Good Times,†giving it away for free to anyone interested. An official copy of the album was posted on the cloud hosting service Mega, which is linked from Dotcom’s homepage. This has never caused any issues, until a few weeks ago, when various copyright holders started sending unusual takedown requests to have the content removed. IFPI, representing the major music labels, submitted several DMCA notices to Mega claiming that the file infringed the rights of various artists. This resulted in a game of whack-a-mole in which the album was removed and reinstated a few times. Currently it’s unavailable yet again. When we previously covered the issue, Mega stressed that the takedown requests were clearly mistaken. The company accused IFPI of not doing their homework and doubted the accuracy of their notices in general. However, since the takedown notices kept targeting the same link, there was a good chance that these mistakes were orchestrated in some way. Assuming that someone was making IFPI and others believe that the link pointed to albums of other artists, we decided to do some research. Eventually we stumbled upon a series of Pastebin pages where the URL of Dotcom’s album is linked to titles of other artists. Several of the artists mentioned in the pastes are the same as the one’s IFPI listed in their DMCA notices, so this would explain the mistakes. The above is concerning for several reasons. First of all, it shows that IFPI and others don’t verify the legitimacy of their takedown notices. This means that pranksters can easily get them to censor legitimate content. Secondly, Mega usually can’t check the validity of a claim, or it simply doesn’t know whether or not a user has permission to publish it. So they have very little options to stop the abuse. “Mega aims to process all takedowns promptly, within a few hours. It is impossible to verify the claims as the files are encrypted so we don’t know the contents (unless the full link is provided with the key included), and we can’t verify if the person has a valid ownership/license or not,†a Mega spokesperson told us. Despite these restrictions, the cloud hosting provider says it’s setting up a system where repeated takedowns can be flagged to prevent this type of abuse in the future. “We are improving our systems to monitor the takedown process and will eventually be able to identify repeated incorrect notices,†Mega says. Until then, Dotcom’s album will most likely disappear from Mega a few more times. Luckily for the fans, there’s also a copy hosted on the soon-to-be-released music service Baboom.
  19. The U.S. Government is going after Kim Dotcom's bank accounts, cars, art and other property. In a complaint filed at a Virginia federal court the Department of Justice argues that the property of the Megaupload and its founder should be forfeited as it was obtained through criminal means. Acting on a lead from the entertainment industry, the U.S. Government shut down Megaupload early 2012. Since then the case hasn’t progressed much. Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing has been delayed until 2015 and most of the recent court proceedings dealt with how the seized assets should be handled. Dotcom tried to regain his possessions but this effort failed last month. Meanwhile, both the MPAA and RIAA have protected their claims on the Megaupload millions, and now the U.S. Government has joined in as well. In a complaint submitted at a federal court in Virginia the Department of Justice asks for a forfeiture of the bank accounts, cars and other seized possessions, claiming they were obtained through copyright and money laundering crimes. The filing starts with a brief summary of the indictment that was brought against Dotcom and his colleagues. According to the Government, Megaupload was a criminal organization set up to profit from copyright infringement. “The members of the Mega Conspiracy described themselves as ‘modern day pirates’ and virtually every aspect of the Mega Sites was carefully designed to encourage and facilitate wide-scale copyright infringement,†the U.S. attorney writes. The Government wants the seized properties to be handed over to the authorities, and claims it’s permitted under U.S. law. This includes the bank account that was used by Megaupload for PayPal payouts. The account, described as “DSB 0320,†had a balance of roughly $4.7 million (36 million Hong Kong Dollars) at the time of the seizure, but processed more than $160 million over the years. “Records indicate that from August 2007 through January 2012 there were 1,403 deposits into the DBS 0320 account totaling HKD 1,260,508,432.01 from a PayPal account. These funds represent proceeds of crime and property involved in money laundering as more fully set out herein,†the complaint reads. One of Megaupload’s bank accounts More than a dozen bank accounts are listed in total including some of the property they were used for to buy. The list of assets further includes several luxury cars, such as a 2011 Mercedes-Benz G55 AMG with a “Wow†license plate, TVs including a 108″ Sharp LCD TV and artwork in the form of Olaf Mueller photographs. The Government claims that the possessions can be forfeited since they were obtained through criminal copyright infringement and money laundering, but Megaupload’s lawyer Ira Rothken disagrees. “Kim Dotcom and Megaupload will vigorously oppose the US Department of Justice’s civil forfeiture action,†Rothken tells TF. “The DOJ’s efforts to use lopsided procedures over substance to destroy a cloud storage company is both offensive to the rights of Megaupload and to the rights of millions of consumers worldwide who stored personal data with the service,†he adds. According to Rothken the U.S. ignores several crucial issues, including the Sony Doctrine and the fact that criminal secondary copyright infringement no longer exists. “The DOJ’s forfeiture complaint ignores the US Supreme Court’s protection called the Sony Doctrine provided to dual use technologies like cloud storage, ignores substantial non infringing uses of such cloud storage including by DOJ users themselves, and ignores the fact that Congress removed criminal secondary copyright infringement from the copyright statute in 1976,†Rothken says. Which side the District Court judge will agree with has yet to be seen, but with so many parties claiming their cut of the Megaupload assets it’s certainly not getting easier for Dotcom to reclaim his property.
  20. In what could be one of the most ironic anti-piracy mistakes this year, music industry group IFPI has asked Mega to take down Kim Dotcom's very own music album Good Times. Mega was asked to remove its founder's music twice, casting doubt over the accuracy of the record labels' takedown efforts. Mega, the cloud hosting service founded by Kim Dotcom, has been growing steadily since its spectacular launch last year. Considering the controversial reputation of its predecessor Megaupload, copyright holders have been keeping a close eye on the site. Thus far, however, the number of takedown requests received by the company has been relatively small. Perhaps not completely unexpectedly, among the takedown requests that do come in are many that wrongfully request the takedown of perfectly legitimate files. This was illustrated earlier this week when Kim Dotcom’s official album Good Times was removed following a complaint. The album was released by Dotcom earlier this year and he has been sharing it via his website ever since. The link in question points to Mega where people can download it for free, but a few days ago it suddenly disappeared. To find out why the album was removed we contacted Mega for an explanation. The company informed us that music industry group IFPI requested the removal of Dotcom’s album through a takedown request sent on September 1. Representing the major record labels, IFPI claimed that the link infringed on the copyrights of one of their artists. IFPI listed several musicians but Kim Dotcom was not one of them. “It’s clearly an incorrect takedown request,†Mega’s Chief Compliance Officer Stephan Hall tells us. TorrentFreak also contacted Kim Dotcom, who asked Mega to reinstate the album, which they did. All in all the album was unavailable for about a day. While a mistake is easily made, this is not the first time that IFPI has tried to remove Dotcom’s album from Mega. A similar request was sent on August 18, this time claiming that it was a copyright infringement of Kimbra’s “The Golden Echo.†IFPI’s actions have been sloppy, to say the least, and Mega’s Chief Compliance Officer has little faith in the accuracy of the music group’s other takedown requests. “This is an indication that someone at the IFPI is not doing their homework and that their takedown notices in general cannot be trusted,†Hall tells TorrentFreak. Unfortunately these kind of mistakes are not an isolated incident. For example, before Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload was shutdown early 2012 the site received many erroneous takedown notices. “During the Megaupload days over 20% of all takedown notices were bogus,†Dotcom told us previously. “We analyzed big samples of notices and most were automated keyword based takedowns that affected a lot of legitimate files. The abuse of the takedown system is so severe that no service provider can rely on takedown notices for a fair repeat infringer policy.†A policy to punish copyright holders who make repeated mistakes, on the other hand, might be worth considering.
  21. Back in 2012, millions of dollars of Megaupload and Kim Dotcom assets were seized in New Zealand and Hong Kong, action designed to bring the Internet entrepreneur financially to his knees. That hasn’t been the case since, however. Dotcom has continued with his very public displays of wealth, living in one of New Zealand’s most expensive houses, flying around the country in helicopters, and bankrolling a brand new political party. All this, 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros insist, are clear signs that Dotcom is disposing of wealth that will transfer to their hands should they prevail in their legal action against him – if there is any left of course. Last month the High Court’s Judge Courtney agreed with the studios and ordered Dotcom to reveal all of his global assets “wherever they are located†and to identify “the nature of his interest in them.†Needless to say, Dotcom has been putting up a fight, and has filed an appeal which will be heard in the second week of October. However, that date falls way beyond September 5, the date by which Dotcom has to comply with Judge Courtney’s disclosure order. During a hearing today at the Court of Appeal, Dotcom’s legal team argued that their client should not have to hand over a list of his assets in advance of the October appeal as several legal points needed to be aired during the hearing. According to Stuff, lawyer Tracey Walker said that the 2012 restraining order covered assets generated before that date, but have no scope moving forward. “The assets that they are talking about now are new assets that were created because of my entrepreneurial skill after the raid,†Dotcom explained previously. Dotcom has remained extremely active in the business sector since 2012, helping to create cloud storage service and then generating cash by selling shares in the company. The authorities and Hollywood are clearly trying to keep an eye on the money. In Court, Walker said that since $11.8 million was seized from Dotcom in 2012 and other funds are currently frozen in Hong Kong, the studios have a fund to draw on should they win their case. Revealing more about his current financial situation would breach Dotcom’s privacy, Walker added. Appearing for the US-based studios, lawyer Jack Hodder said the disclosure order was fully justified. Ending the hearing, the Court of Appeal reserved its decision on whether Dotcom will have to comply with the High Court ruling and disclose on September 9, or whether he will indeed be able to wait until after the October hearing. In the meantime the political mudslinging continues in New Zealand, with Kim Dotcom now preparing legal action against controversial blogger Cameron Slater who he accuses of publishing “200 plus smear stories†as part of a “character assassination†campaign handled by the ruling National Party.
  22. Lil’ Kim is in full attack mode against Nicki Minaj and it may be more "complicated" than anyone realizes, according to T.I., who tells Billboard that things are bound to get sticky when a “new and younger version†of an artist comes around after one who’s been "dominating for so long.†The latest activity in the ongoing rivalry between the female rappers came on Aug. 4 when Kim unleashed her own remix of Beyonce’s “Flawless,†where she responds to an apparent jab from Minaj heard in the original remix. Days later Kim released another diss track aimed at Minaj in "Identity Theft." Minaj has done her part to keep the beef going with songs like "Stupid Hoe.†Neither side looks to be calling a truce anytime soon, so Billboard asked the opinion of someone with perspective on the matter: rapper T.I. Tip, who has engaged in and helped dissolve discrepancies in the past, believes that Kim's issue with Minaj aren't specific to women -- or rappers, for that matter. "This is something that can happen to men too," he says. The chatter about Minaj potentially taking Kim’s spot, or Minaj boldly proclaiming herself the Queen of Rap, doesn't help things either, T.I. says. "Just because you heard another person say that you gonna be on edge," he explains. "I feel like that's more of the case with Kim and Nicki, even though I don't know what started any of this, it's a little more complicated to put to bed because of that fact." He also notes that Minaj being constantly compared to Kim has an impact as well. "It's gonna put a chip on your shoulder in a different way too," T.I. says. Meanwhile, T.I. says his protégé Iggy Azalea “could be†collaborating on a song with Kim soon, though he wouldn’t confirm. The Aussie rapper has been pitted against Minaj before. “That's a little more preposterous like 'what the fuck' because they're not even in each other's lane," T.I. says of the Azalea and Minaj. T.I. is currently busy readying his new album, Paperwork, and prepping the latest season of T.I. & Tiny's: Family Hustle. He’s also executive producing a new reality show, The Sisterhood of Hip Hop Besides readying Paperwork for release, and prepping the latest season of T.I. & Tiny's: The Family Hustle, he's executive producing a new reality show,Sisterhood of Hip Hop, which debuts on Oxygen Aug. 12.
  23. Kim Dotcom is dealing with a multi-pronged attack on his assets. While the governments of both the U.S. and New Zealand work to keep already seized assets frozen, a High Court judge has just ordered the millionaire to reveal where all of his remaining assets are. Meanwhile, all U.S. civil action has been frozen until 2015. While there are plenty of people who would like to portray Kim Dotcom as the biggest copyright offender the world has ever seen, there are many who look beyond that towards his larger than life persona and playboy-style riches. His lifestyle, one in which he inhabits a huge and luxurious mansion while traveling the country in helicopters, is made all the more interesting by the fact that authorities in the United States, New Zealand and Hong Kong attempted to seize all of Dotcom’s assets back in 2012. While they succeeded in locking up millions, it’s evident that Dotcom has assets elsewhere and is currently disposing of them. That’s the argument being put forth by Dotcom foes 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros who have not only initiated legal action in the United States, but have also done so in New Zealand. They’re keeping an eye on Dotcom’s spending to ensure there’s something left for them should they prevail in their legal action. In a new judgment out today, Justice Patricia Courtney said there is indeed evidence to suggest that Dotcom had been giving “very substantial payments†to his fledgling “Internet Party†political party. His offer to pay a $5m bounty to a whistle-blower was also noted. As a result, Judge Courtney concluded that there is “a danger that any judgment obtained by the applicants will go unsatisfied, partly or wholly, as a result of Mr Dotcom disposing of assets.†In an effort to put the brakes on that possibility, the Judge gave Dotcom until August 20 to reveal all of his assets “wherever they are located†and to identify “the nature of his interest in them.†However, speaking with RadioNZ, Dotcom said any money he’s spending now has been made since the mansion raids of 2012. “The assets that they are talking about now are new assets that were created because of my entrepreneurial skill after the raid. So they’re trying to attack assets that have nothing to do with MegaUpload or anything that I have run previously as business operations,†Dotcom said. However, the $11.8 million in assets already subjected to a criminal restraining order following the raid in New Zealand are also under attack. In April the High Court saidDotcom could have his assets returned. That decision was quickly appealed by the Crown and the case was heard at the Court of Appeal today. A lawyer for the police told the Court that although the assets are being held under a criminal restraining order in New Zealand, the Court did not need to take into account whether the cases being pursued in the United States against Dotcom were criminal or civil in nature. The judges reserved their decision on whether the freeze on Dotcom’s assets should continue for another year in addition to the two years plus that have already passed. Meanwhile, over in the United States, Dotcom lawyer Ira Rothken announced that the US Federal Court had granted a motion to stay all civil copyright litigation against his client until April 1, 2015.
  24. Kim Dotcom has been told that his extradition hearing will be delayed once again. The Megaupload founder will now have to wait until at least February 2015 to discover his fate, not during the next few weeks as planned. The United States Government is keen to get its hands on Kim Dotcom. He stands accused of committing the biggest copyright-related crime ever seen through his now-defunct cloud storage site Megaupload. But their access to the entrepreneur will have to wait. According to Dotcom, his extradition hearing has now been delayed until February 16, 2015. Delays and postponements have become recurring features of the criminal case being built against Dotcom in the United States. A March 2013 date came and went without a promised hearing, as did another in November the same year, a delay which Dotcom said would “save Prime Minister John Key embarrassment during an election campaign.†Another hearing date for April 2014 also failed to materialize and now the date penciled in for the coming weeks has also been struck down. Dotcom also reports that he still hasn’t received a copy of the data that was unlawfully sent to the FBI by New Zealand authorities.
  25. Kim Dotcom is pulling out all the stops in his fight against the U.S. government and his adversaries in Hollywood. On the table now sits a $5 million bounty for anyone prepared to reveal behind-the-scenes wrongdoing and corruption. Dotcom told TorrentFreak how it will work. dotcom-laptopWhichever way you look at it, Kim Dotcom has a series of huge battles in front of him. Up soon is his fight to avoid extradition to the United States where he is wanted in the biggest copyright infringement case ever. Running in parallel to that criminal case are a pair of civil actions brought by the MPAA and RIAA, with both entities currently attempting to put a lock on his currently frozen assets, should the entrepreneur get his hands on them again. As those battles continue in the background, Dotcom is preparing his next steps, and he’s calling on supporters to help him. On the table today sits a cool $5 million bounty payable to anyone who provides substantial information that will allow the Megaupload founder to win his case. It’s a large amount by any standards but of course Dotcom rarely does anything in half measures. So what exactly is Dotcom looking for and how will the project play out? “Let me be clear, we are asking for information that proves unlawful or corrupt conduct by the US government, the New Zealand government, spy agencies, law enforcement and Hollywood,†Dotcom told TorrentFreak. “It is the opinion of my legal team that disclosure of such information would be lawful. I would also guarantee that any whistleblower coming forward would have the best legal representation at zero cost.†Dotcom goes on to reiterate a long-standing claim, that the action against him and Megaupload was a “corrupt contract prosecution†carried out by the White House in order to get Hollywood’s support for Obama’s re-election campaign. He’s interested in evidence that supports that assertion. “Former Senator and now MPAA chairman Chris Dodd and Vice President Joe Biden in particular have abused their political power to make the pre-trial destruction of Megaupload possible,†he explains. “Joe Biden’s personal counsel (while Biden was still a Senator) Neil MacBride was promoted to a top position at the DOJ and oversaw the Megaupload destruction. We have already exposed a whole range of unlawful government conduct in the Megaupload case, backed by court rulings.†So presuming people have information, what should they do with it? Dotcom suggests going to a well-known newspaper with a proven track-record in handling leaks. “I have been in touch with the Guardian editor and he has kindly retweeted my offer and told me that he hopes that someone will reply to that offer,†Dotcom says. Dotcom notes that potential leakers can utilize the new whistleblower tool released by The Guardian this week. But for those who really need to cover their backs, more drastic additional steps could be taken. “In order to be completely safe I would advise any Whistleblower not to use this tool from home or work. Go to an Internet cafe with a memory stick. Don’t use your own computer or phone. You can also buy a cheap laptop or netbook just for the purpose of leaking and destroy it after you’re done.†The big attraction of course is the $5 million Dotcom has put on the table. What assurances can Dotcom provide concerning the cash? “I’m currently in talks with my legal team about how to formalize the bounty. We will probably setup a trust account to deposit the bounty and provide terms and conditions for anyone who will provide information. I will not just offer a bounty for the piece of ‘case winning’ information but for anything useful,†he explains. “We know that there are people out there with information. I’m willing to pay for that information. I’m determined to fight a grave injustice that has been done to a legitimate cloud storage business, its 220 employees and over 100 million users. This struggle has just begun and it will take time. But in the end we shall be victorious and we shall expose those who have abused their power,†he concludes. There’s little doubt that $5 million is potentially a life-changing sum for the right person.. Will someone step forward into that new life? Time will tell.