Dotcom appeal set for August

February 11th, 2016 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

The appeal against the decision to extradite Kim Dotcom and his fellow Megaupload co-accused Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato will be heard in August. …

They have appealed the decision, with a case management conference regarding the matter heard before Justice Raynor Asher in the High Court at Auckland.

He allocated an eight-week fixture for the appeal, beginning August 29.

Eight weeks? That’s a long time as the appeal can be on matters of law only.

Counsel for the US Christine Gordon, QC, had sought an earlier date but Justice Asher says given all the circumstances, including the complexity of the case, the date is appropriate.

He believes eight weeks is “very generous,” however, and says the hearing will probably take half that time.

Disappointing that the appeal may not conclude until November 2016. Then he will no doubt seek leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal which means Dotcom may end up trying to hijack another election.

Dotcom claiming poverty but spent $24 million on his music video!

January 21st, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Welcome to Kim Dotcom’s Good Life — but was it worth $24 million?

The dollar figure is the cost Dotcom put on the making of the music video which he made public today.

Remember this guy is claiming he didn’t get a fair court hearing because he was so poor he could not afford more lawyers and witnesses.

Herald calls for Dotcom to go

December 28th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

New Zealanders ought to be able to find Judge Dawson’s 271-page decision online as easily as they can download movies and music and other copyrighted material. It explains the methods allegedly used by Dotcom’s Megaupload site to store such material and even reward those who did so. It is said to have provided multiple URL links to the same material and when it received a take-down notice from a copyright owner, it is said to have removed only the offender’s link, not the material.

Again I recommend people read the decision. The way Mega was run bears almost no resemblance to You Tube or Dropbox. in fact they stole hundreds of thousands of videos from You Tube to act as camouflage for what they were really doing – paying people to share commercial copyrighted movies.

It may be that these sort of practices are technically legal but it is in the interests of content providers and users that we find out. We cannot find out until Dotcom goes to the US and faces trial. He should go now.

Interesting that Dotcom claimed to be starved of funds, yet he is also saying they will fight all the way to the Supreme Court. That would suggest he in fact has plenty of funds available for his legal case.

The 271 page Dotcom judgment

December 24th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

I’ve now read the 271 page ruling of Judge Dawson in Dotcom et al extradition hearing.

Any doubt on there being a case for extradition crumbles when reading the ruling.

In fact, the evidence in there is so strong, that I think the chance of a successful prosecution in the US is now very high. Previously I was quite unsure if there would be proof beyond reasonable doubt.

I encourage people to take the time to read the ruling. Any thought that Megaupload operated like Youtube or Google Drive gets blown away. The paragraphs from 200 to 300 get into the meat. Here are some extracts:

DOTCOM sent an e-mail message to VAN DER KOLK, ORTMANN and BENCKO in which he complained about the deletion of URL links in response to infringement notices from the copyright holders. In the message, DOTCOM stated: “I told you many times not to delete links that are reported in batches of thousands from insignificant sources. I would say that those infringing reports from MEXICO of ’14,000’ links would fall into that category. And the fact that we lost significant revenue because of it justifies my reaction”

ORTMANN told VAN DER KOLK “Maybe try undeleting them” and VAN DER KOLK asked “You want to risk that?” Then VAN DER KOLK said “I mean MX is just MX, we could ignore them”, and ORTMANN added “It’s not like Mexico is going to sue us in Hong Kong”. ORTMANN continued “Just for testing, we should undelete those files”, “for one day”, “we can excuse it as a tech glitch”. VAN DER KOLK added “I often ignore reports from certain countries, such as VN”. In this context, the abbreviations “MX” and “VN” appear to refer to Mexico and Vietnam, respectively.

So they decided not to delete material from countries they didn’t think were powerful enough to pursue them.

Later that day, DOTCOM instructed ORTMANN, in German, “And please do what I wrote bram. Undelete everything that was in the last 4 weeks reported from non first world countries. SIMPLY everything. And you will see we have daily record again”

So direct instructions from Dotcom to undelete files that they had been told breached copyright.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia expects a representative of the FBI to testify to the following facts: a. On or about December 26, 2008, via Skype, ORTMANN said to VAN DER KOLK, “wow, an Indian subpoena requesting MV uploader credentials…” VAN DER KOLK responded, “wow,” “ah that one from the police,” “I think I saw that one.” Later, VAN DER KOLK said, “it’s just Indian police,” and ORTMANN responded,” yes, we can probably ignore this one.” VAN DER KOLK suggested, “we can always say that we never received their e-mail,”

Not exactly honest are they?

On or about October 25, 2009, Mr van der Kolk instructed a Mega Conspiracy employee through an e-mail, written in Dutch, how to alter the “featured” videos list on and the “Top 100” list on Mr van der Kolk wrote, among other things, that the Top 100 should not list any copyrighted files, but instead should list game demos, software demos, and movie trailers. Mr van der Kolk instructed the employee to track what was currently popular on the Internet and to download material from websites such as,, and Mr van der Kolk further instructed the employee to create fake accounts on and and to upload the files to those accounts, so that it would appear that the files were uploaded by active users instead of Mega Conspiracy employees.

So they knew the material downloaded most was copyrighted, and they faked their top 100 list to exclude that.

On or about November 19, 2009, via Skype, DOTCOM sent ORTMANN a Skype conversation between DOTCOM and VAN DER KOLK, during which DOTCOM said: MV is full of problematic content on the [publicly viewable] video pages. I told you how important this is. Every day counts, especially since we have articles out there comparing us with napster and putting us in a bad light. WHY THE FUCK did you not take care of this? You told me you will do this WHILE you are in HK. I just spoke with mathias [ORTMANN] and he told me he informed you long time ago about fixing this. WHY do you risk our good running business with not following up on important matters like this. If you look at the latest video pages now it is FULL with the latest commercial stuff. FUCK THIS BRAM!

The problem wasn’t that their most popular content was commercial stuff, it was that they were admitting this on the public pages.

And ORTMANN added, “the important thing is that nobody must know that we have auditors letting this stuff through.” VAN DER KOLK responded, “yes that’s very true also.” ORTMANN replied, “if we had no auditors – full DMCA protection, but with tolerant auditors, that would go away.” And VAN DER KOLK replied, “yes true”.

There are scores of references to them hiding what they really were doing.

On or about April 10, 2006, Van der Kolk sent an e-mail to Ortmann asking, “Do we have a server available to continue downloading of the Youtube’s vids? … Kim just mentioned again that this has really priority.” In addition, Van der Kolk wrote, “Hope [] is not implementing a fraud detection system now… * praying *”. Van der Kolk also wrote: “Well we only have 30% of their videos yet.. In my opinion it’s nice to have everything so we can descide and brainstorm later how we’re going to benefit from it.”

They decided to download nearly the entire contents of Youtube onto Mega, so they could falsely claim the majority of their users are uploading home videos, not commercial copyrighted content.

Judge Dawson concluded:

The overwhelming preponderance of evidence produced by the applicant in the ROC and the SROC establishes a prima facie case to answer for all respondents on each of the counts. …

Pursuant to s 24(1) this Court finds that the respondents are all eligible for surrender on all thirteen counts in the superseding indictment.

Hard to read the judgment and come to any other conclusion.

Dotcom ruled eligible for extradition

December 23rd, 2015 at 2:50 pm by David Farrar

The District Court has ruled that Kim Dotcom is eligible for extradition.

No doubt he will appeal, and claim all sorts of conspiracies. But this was a matter decided by a judge, after 50 days of hearings. I doubt any person has ever had a longer or more well resourced defence case.

He has 15 days to appeal to the High Court, which can be on a matter of law only.

In a way this is a pity. I’d be quite keen for him to remain in NZ and spend another $5 million on trying to overthrown the Government, to have it all backfire again!

Dotcom decision today

December 23rd, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Merry Christmas Kim Dotcom – you could be in jail on December 25.

No he won’t be. I do wish the Herald wouldn’t feel the need to sensationalise. There’s a 15 day appeal period. I can’t imagine there is any chance bail will be revoked until appeals are done.

The Courts of New Zealand website has just forecast that a decision is coming tomorrow in the Megaupload extradition case.

It said through its Twitter account that the “USA v Dotcom & Ors decision will be delivered” tomorrow afternoon by district court judge Nevin Dawson.

While being picky the website doesn’t have a twitter account. The Department of Courts does.

The decision comes after a two-month hearing in which the United States put forward its application to have Dotcom and three others arrested in New Zealand in 2012 extradited to face criminal copyright and related charges.

Dotcom and the other – Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato – have strenuously denied the charges, which were connected to the operation of the Megaupload filesharing business operating out of Hong Kong. The business was one of the most popular on the internet, and carried popular movies and music.

Judge Dawson’s decision will reveal whether he considers the required level of evidence has been produced to show there is a case for the men to answer in the US.

If Dotcom loses tomorrow he will no doubt blame some global conspiracy. But the reality is he has had every opportunity to make his case that there is no evidence of offending. He had 50 days of courtroom argument where his lawyers put up every argument imaginable, and the Judge hearing the case has considered them all.

If the judge does find he should be extradited, that does not mean he is guilty. It simply means that there is enough evidence to warrant him being sent to the US to stand trial. And no doubt in the US he will also have a legion of highly paid lawyers arguing he has done nothing wrong. And he may win in US court.

Of course it is possible the NZ Judge will decide he is not eligible for extradition, and if so then he can stay in NZ.

No doubt if he loses, he will appeal. But you can only appeal the decision on a matter of law, and to the High Court only. However there may be other aspects of the court process that can be appealed higher, and no doubt they will be.

At the end this is a matter of law, not politics. We have an extradition treaty with the US and many other countries. This is what allows people who commit crimes in NZ, to be returned to us to face trial, and vice-versa.

I’ll do an update once we hear the decision.

Dotcom’s poverty claims

October 9th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Kim Dotcom sold shares in his new companies for about $20 million in 2013 to pay for his defence team and provide for his family, he has told a court.

Most people would love to have even $200,000 to pay for their defence team!

He told the court about setting up Mega Ltd with Ortmann and van der Kolk and music company Baboom in 2013, shares in which he sold for about $20 million.

Dotcom said the ventures were “born out of necessity” to pay for the drawn-out extradition battle and also to secure his family’s future with contributions to the family trust, the Trust Me Trust.

So he chose to put much of that money into a family trust, and now is claiming he has no money for his defence.

His ill-fated involvement in the Internet Party was also discussed.

Dotcom said he donated up to $4.8 million during its brief existence and Mr Ruffin asked why he had not put some of that money aside to pay for US legal experts he now claimed were vital to defending his case.

“If I had a crystal ball and I could see the future, in hindsight I could have done that,” Dotcom said.

“But at the time, for me, there was no reason to believe there wasn’t more unrestrained funds coming from my business ventures.”

He spent $5 million trying to buy the next Government, and again now says he can’t get a fair trial because he never thought the money taps would end.

Mr Ruffin also asked the defendant why he had not used money from living costs to pay for the experts he claimed he needed.

“If I wanted to be homeless and sack all my staff and kick my kids out of school I could’ve done that, yes,” Dotcom said.

His (lesased) home is worth $30 million and is one of the most expensive in NZ. Does he still have his 10 cars worth $3.2 million?

He gets $170,000 a month to cover his living expenses. Most people could manage on 10% of that. Then he could cover the $500,000 in just three months.

And most people don’t have domestic staff!

Keall on the Dotcom case

September 30th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Chris Keall writes at NBR:

I’ve previously written that Megaupload’s cash-incentive payments would loom large in Kim Dotocom and co’s extradition case.

And so it proved yesterday as the Crown alleged one user of Mr Dotcom’s file sharing service was paid more than $US50,000 as a reward for uploading files that proved popular with Megaupload members.

Files uploaded by user “H” – just one of many to take advantage of the cash-incentive rewards scheme – generated 1.2 million downloads between 2006 and 2011 (the expanded FBI evidence summary covers it in detail here).

The US Department of Justice, plus major Hollywood studios and multinational record labels, say most of the files covered by the cash-incentive scheme were copyrighted works and that Megaupload was rewarding piracy.

This is at the heart of the case, and the argument that Megaupload was not just like Dropbox – because it paid users for sharing content that got widely downloaded.

Mr Dotcom has also pointed out that YouTube gives uploaders of popular files a share of the Google Ad revenue generated by their clip. That could well be construed as an incentive programme. But to get a share of that Google Ad money, you have to be a trusted user. And if, in its vetting process, YouTube notices there is copyright-infringing music (for example, a zany wedding dance clip features a Taylor Swift soundtrack), the service then approaches the artist or rights-holder concerned and offers to either a) take the clip down or b) leave it up but cut them in on the revenue. Megaupload never gave a cent to an artist or rights holder when it generated an alleged $US175 million in membership fees and ad revenue generated around their material.

It is no surprise they were unhappy. It is possible though Megaupload did not breach US law. They certainly knew they were making money through encouraging copyright infringment. But they may hev done just enough to comply with the US MDCA which has a process for dealing with complaints.

Mr Dotcom has also styled Google as a giant piracy machine, saying it makes it easy to find copyright-breaching material, whereas Megaupload featured no search engine or other mechanism to help users find files stored by other members.

But the Crown has already focused on FBI evidence, gatheredthrough intercepted Skype conversations, that the Megaupload crew worked with third parties to make offending content on Megaupload easily discoverable.

Again quite damning.

Dotcom hearing to start Thursday

September 23rd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing will go ahead this week despite his protestations it should be delayed.

A hearing was held yesterday at Auckland District Court to determine the structure of proceedings over the next four weeks.

“The views of the parties are diametrically opposed,” Judge Nevin Dawson said in a judgment released yesterday afternoon.

The United States Government – represented by Crown Law – argued the extradition eligibility hearing should be heard first before multiple applications by the defendants for a stay of proceedings. …

Judge Dawson said the court had to balance the principles of the delivery of justice in a timely manner with the right of the parties to a fair hearing.

“This case has now been before this court for over three and a half years … It is now the 10th time this case has been set down for hearing,” Judge Dawson said.

The judge said the “interlocutory applications” by the defendants could be heard during the extradition hearing, rather than beforehand.

“The court would be better placed to rule on these applications having had the benefit of hearing the evidence of the eligibility hearing,” Judge Dawson said.

The US Government’s bid to extradite Dotcom will begin tomorrow.

This means that for the first time we will actually hear evidence in court from both sides on the substantive charges, rather than on related legal issues.  It will be interesting.

Lessig on the Dotcom case

September 20th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

One of the world’s leading experts on copyright has reviewed the Kim Dotcom case and says there is no basis for extradition.

Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig has weighed into the Megaupload prosecution with a legal opinion which condemns the prosecution case against the filesharing website.

In an opinion released by Dotcom’s lawyers, Professor Lessig said the allegations and evidence made public by the US Department of Justice “do not meet the requirements necessary to support a prima facie case that would be recognised by United States federal law”

Professor Lessig is internationally regarded as an expert in copyright and fair use. He co-founded the nonprofit Creative Commons and has written widely in articles and books on copyright, law and the internet age. The US-based Electronic Freedom Foundation said he had “played a pivotal role in shaping the debate about copyright in the digital age”.

Lawrence Lessig has been a huge force for good in the copyright arena. His affidavit will have considerable influence.

He is of course a witness for the defence, so it is no surprise what he says is there is no case to answer. But that doesn’t mean he is wrong. He is an expert in the copyright arena.

My lay view has always been that the threshold for extradition (which is low) has probably been met, but that an actual trial in the US could go either way.

Dotcom extradition hearing to start next week

September 15th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Court of Appeal has rejected an 11th attempt to delay the extradition hearing and it finally looks like it will happen next week.

I’ve long stated that I think the relatively low bar for extradition will be met. The hearing is not to determine of Dotcom is guilty of the US charges, but that there is a prima facie case, and that the charges are crimes under both NZ and US law.

That does not mean Dotcom is guilty. I think he does have a reasonable defence to the charges, and if extradited he may be found not guilty. It will depend on the details of the case and how the business was run.

So next week we should see some of the details in court, and then a decision by the District Court Judge. No doubt Dotcom, if he loses, will seek to judicially review that decision all the way to the Supreme Court if possible. so don’t expect any finality any time soon.

Some extracts from the judgment:

There are strong policy reasons weighing against constant disruption of pre-trial processes by applications to a higher court and then, potentially, further appeals from that decision. Micro-management of pre-trial procedure by higher courts risks delaying and fragmenting the criminal process. Policy factors militate toward only allowing review (or only granting relief) if the error is blatant, or will potentially lead to serious injustice that cannot be corrected on appeal.

That is actually from the High Court ruling, but quoted by the Court of Appeal.

For the reasons we have explained, this Court is unable to resolve that dispute with the urgency required. But we are satisfied that if there is a need, and it is not afforded to the appellants, they will have adequate remedies. In short, we are satisfied there is no risk of any breach of the appellant’s right to a fair extradition hearing going unremedied.

I imagine a very full media bench at the hearing.

Will Dotcom get an 11th delay?

September 9th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A Court of Appeal judge says the court has been given an “utterly impossible task” in the latest of the many Dotcom cases.

“We are not sure what we are going to do but we are going to do something,” Justice John Wild said, reserving the court’s decision at the end of Tuesday’s hearing.

The hearing to decide whether Kim Dotcom and three of his business associates are eligible to be extradited to the United States is scheduled to start in the District Court on September 21. It is the tenth time the extradition proceedings have been scheduled to be heard.

Grant Illingworth, QC, lawyer for two of Dotcom’s associates, told the Court of Appeal in Wellington on Tuesday the extradition fixture should again be postponed, until it could take place fairly. He said they were wanting “just a few months”.

Dotcom’s lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said all they wanted was time and fair resources to prepare for the hearing.


Yeah sure, just a few more months. And I guarantee you in three more months they’ll find another reason to seek a another delay.

They keep claiming they have not had enough time to prepare. Well think if all the time they spent on seeking delays in the case, they had spent on actually preparing for it!

IPCA clears DI Wormald of perjury in Dotcom case

August 6th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The IPCA reports:

A report released today by the Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that there is no evidence to support allegations that a Police officer committed perjury when giving evidence in the judicial review proceedings brought by Mr Kim Dotcom. …

In releasing today’s report Independent Police Conduct Authority Chair, Judge Sir David Carruthers, said that, given the public interest in this matter and the conclusion reached by the Police investigation, the Authority conducted its own investigation in order to satisfy itself there had been no Police impropriety during the court proceedings.

“The Authority has found that the cross-examination of Detective Inspector Wormald was designed to discover whether Mr Dotcom had been the subject of visual surveillance, not whether his communications had been intercepted.  Mr Wormald’s interpretation of the questions being asked of him was entirely reasonable and his answers were not in any way false or misleading.

“The suggestion that he intended to mislead the Court is without foundation,” Sir David said.

It’s been a long long time since Dotcom has had a court or authority ruling go his way.

The full report is worth reading.

Our own analysis of the transcript of evidence has led us to conclude that Mr Davison’s questions were unquestionably directed at the visual surveillance of the movements of those who were the subject of the warrants (and in particular Mr Dotcom). Detective Inspector Wormald’s interpretation of the questions being asked of him was accordingly entirely reasonable and his answers were not in any way false or misleading.

No doubt some will claim a cover up, but the IPCA has shown no reluctance to criticise the Police when they have got things wrong.

Inappropriate but funny

May 31st, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

Security Intelligence Service chief Rebecca Kitteridge has apologised to Kim Dotcom for the behaviour of her spies, who swapped emails about the internet entrepreneur’s weight and wife while mocking his chances of getting New Zealand residency. …

One reply stated: “He was never going to get far from the cops on foot, was he?” Another SIS staffer said Dotcom was like the Daleks, the wheeled villains in Dr Who, because “he could be defeated by a small set of stairs”.

That may be the funniest thing ever written by an SIS Officer! Yes I know it was inappropriate, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t very funny.

The more interesting aspect to this story is that the e-mails were released, and this is no doubt due to Kitteridge. In the past any e-mails about someone who had been investigated by the SIS would have been declined under the OIA, and it would not have been difficult to fund a reason to justify this such as prejudicing security or international relations.

The e-mails were written in a culture where they never ever thought they would be potentially released. In the past the SIS pretty much refused all OIAs. But Kitteridge has obviously decided that unless there is a direct link to security and international relations, then material will be released. This is a significant change – one of many the security agencies have gone through in recent years.  I suspect in future SIS staff will confine their humour to the oral sphere.

At some stage I’ll do a post looking at all the changes in the last few years around the security and intelligence agencies. They have been significant, and most heading in the right direction.

Dotcom gets what may be his final delay

May 2nd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

NBR reports:

A High Court judge has given Kim Dotcom and his co-accused more time to prepare for their extradition hearing.

The US government wants Mr Dotcom and co-accused Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk to go to the US to face copyright infringement charges for their alleged roles in file-sharing site Mega Upload.

While District Court judge Nevin Dawson had said the extradition hearing should take place on June 2, Justice Sarah Katz has quashed this decision. The High Court judge has told the District Court to set a date no earlier than September 1 this year.


September the 1st is a Tuesday so that day works!

However, the judge did not let Mr Dotcom and his co-accused off without a warning.

In her decision she says she has decided “with some reluctance” that the interests of natural justice require a later date.

“This 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.

I would be willing to wager a lot of money that in a few months they will seek a further adjournment.

“On the contrary, the plaintiffs must take full responsibility for preparing their extradition hearing on whatever new date is allocated, with whatever level of legal support they are able to secure.”

Although Justice Katz tossed out Mr Dotcom and his co-accused’s arguments that they had not been given full and proper notice of the case, she said they were unable to prepare due to representation and funding.


The Justice is being generous. Dotcom had so much money he spent over a million dollars on the worst CD of all time. He also spent $4.5 million on possibly the worst political campaign of all time.

Because he spent all his money on music and politics, he couldn’t pay his lawyers, and hence he gets a delay.

Hopefully this is the last delay.

Behind the Dotcom album

April 22nd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

A lengthy article by Hayden Donnell on the making of Kim Dotcom’s album. As you read this, recall how he bankrolled the worker’s party headed by Laila and Hone, and proudly supported by John Minto:

The young recording engineer looked in some pain. Tennis balls were being smashed into his body at full speed, in front of a crowd of people. This wasn’t what he’d signed up for. He had been hired to work on one of the most expensive albums in New Zealand music history – the debut by internet entrepreneur and fugitive from US justice, Kim Dotcom.

When the group weren’t recording, though, they indulged in hijinks and hazing. On this day witnesses describe the engineer as being dressed for tennis in a penguin costume. The hitter was an excellent tennis player. According to witnesses, Dotcom looked like he enjoyed the episode.

The young man went to work the next day covered in bruises, pulling up his shirt to show colleagues the blossoming patches of tender purple flesh. It wasn’t an isolated incident. He’d also reportedly vomited after being told to drink a cup of soy sauce during a recording session. Pranks and dares were hazards of the job. Making Dotcom’s Good Times meant enduring some pretty terrible times.


I was told stories about the sessions which featured dwarf strippers and golliwog dolls, uncomfortable casual racism and celebrity cameos.

This is the guy some on the left saw as a hero.

By almost any conventional measure, he failed. The New Zealand Herald called the album “a musical mess” in a one-star review, while described it as “utterly sexless”. Sales weren’t helped by Dotcom giving the album away for free on his website, but remained mediocre. Good Timesdebuted at number 20 in the New Zealand album charts in late-January, peaked at 8 and dropped out of the top 40 in early-March. It sold about 1000 copies at JB Hi Fi according to an industry source, despite getting blanket advertising on stores’ front windows. The Warehouse didn’t sell many copies either.

The album cost a million or so to produce and flopped. I guess in music, like in politics, money isn’t enough.

It wasn’t for lack of promotion. Record company sources say Tucker spent at least $100,000 of Dotcom’s money on radio ads, a digital campaign and, most memorably, plastering the album’s awful cover on buses, bus stations and billboards.

That estimate may be low. A representative from iSite Media – the company that booked the bus advertising – says Dotcom took out ads on between 80 and 140 buses over a month-long campaign. Tucker may have got a better deal, but Auckland Transport says it costs about $200,000 to place ads on 80 buses for a month.

In any case, Dotcom’s promo budget was “far in excess” of what Universal spent marketing the launch of Lorde’s album Pure Heroine. Record companies rarely spend $100,000 on promotion, and if they do, it’s for a hit album and 80 percent of the bill is for TV advertising.

I recall seeing the adverts on lots of Wellington buses only.

An interesting comparison to what Universal spent on Lorde. She has tweeted:

And more:

The mainstream media was an even bigger problem, Tucker says. He claims there was collusion between record companies like Sony, Universal and Warner and radio stations to keep Dotcom off the air. Record execs called radio station bosses, asking them not to playlist Dotcom’s songs and threatening retribution if they did, he says. A friend, an insider in the industry, told Tucker that radio stations caved in to pressure. Dotcom wasn’t playlisted on ZM, The Edge or any major pop station.

The blacklist is bullshit, radio executives say. Leon Wratt, the content director for MediaWorks – owner of The Edge – says the station tried to test out Dotcom’s songs with audiences and received “95 percent” negative feedback.

I think I know which story is more likely.

Christian Boston, content director for 91ZM from 2000 to 2013, says the decision not to playlist Dotcom’s singles had nothing to do with record bosses or politics. His team at ZM thought the music was terrible, he says. “It just got a unanimous ‘No, it’s a crock of shit’, so we didn’t play it.”

And more delusion:

Tucker’s noisiest complaint is reserved for the Herald, which he claims is a mouthpiece for Dotcom’s enemies – John Key and the National government.

A mouthpiece? 81% of editorials and columns (that take a position on an issue) on National have been negative and 19% positive.

He says Good Times deserved more than the one star Chris Schulz gave it in TimeOut, the paper’s entertainment magazine.

“It’s just the journalists that always take the same cheap shots to sell that shitty publication,” he says. “The album was probably a three-and-a-half out of five.”

The review was more than fair, according to TimeOut editor Russell Baillie. “I can’t think of an album in the past year or so more deserving of a few cheap shots than Good Times. It was comedically awful and TimeOut didn’t exactly go out on a limb by saying that.”

What do they think happened? John Key got Tim Murphy to instruct the reviewer to give it one star?

Delay delay delay

April 21st, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

One of those sought for extradition alongside Kim Dotcom has turned up at a key hearing without a lawyer and the court told an application for legal aid has been made.

The old I no longer have a lawyer, so the hearing must be delayed trick.

At the High Court hearing, lawyers acting for three of the men including Dotcom said more time was needed to prepare for the extradition hearing currently listed to take place in June.

Grant Illingworth, QC, told the court the complex nature of the case required the extradition hearing to be put off again.

He said another factor was the lack of legal representation of Mr. Batato.

“Mr Batato is waiting on a legal aid application. He has no lawyer and won’t have one unless legal aid is granted.”

The charges were laid 40 months ago!!

Yes, 40 months.

More than enough time to get a lawyer, and prepare your legal arguments.

Dotcom has tried everything possible to delay the extradition hearing. There are at least 33 judicial decisions involving him. 23 in the High Court, seven at the Court of Appeal and three in the Supreme Court. has anyone in our legal history even had so many opportunities to litigate their case? There will also be some District Court cases on top of the 33 in the higher courts.

Should Dotcom have residency cancelled for his driving conviction?

April 17th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

NewstalkZB reports:

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has a tough decision to make.

He’s the man who’ll make the call whether to kick Kim Dotcom out of the country for lying about a dangerous driving conviction.

Thirty seven other people have been extradited for similar reasons.

Auckland University law professor Bill Hodge says the minister could look to those cases for precedent.

He says by lying about the incident, Dotcom has affected his ability to be trusted.

“Those are what goes to the heart of trust and confidence. At the very beginning of our relationship you (Dotcom) breached our trust and confidence by deceiving us.”

Bill Hodge says Mr Woodhouse needs to separate all the political turmoil around Dotcom from his decision.

I’d be interested in whether the 37 other cases were for similar convictions?

As Hodge says, the decision needs to ignore all the political stuff. Dotcom needs to be treated the same as if he was John Smith.

If the court rules the extradition request from the US is valid, then he should be extradited to stand trial.

But his failure to not declare his driving conviction should not be seen as a way to get around that process.

Not disclosing a conviction is a serious matter, but a driving conviction is different to say a violent or sexual conviction.

Contradictory evidence in the Banks trial

March 7th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

John Banks is seeking to have a second trial for filing a false electoral return thrown out after the discovery of evidence which the Crown failed to disclose to his QC.

Not good for the Crown, if true.

This is at odds with evidence given at the trial, where the Crown contended the lunch was held on June 9, 2010 and the presence of the Americans was denied by the Dotcoms, as well as their bodyguard Wayne Tempero.

The defence was able to prove at the trial there was no lunch on June 9, because Mr Banks was campaigning and Mrs Banks was at work.

In finding Mr Banks guilty, Justice Edwin Wylie said Dotcom was a good witness but he was wrong about the date of the lunch and ruled it must have happened on June 5.

So Dotcom claimed the lunch was on 9 June, but the evidence was that this was not possible as Mrs Banks was at work, so they assumed it was 5 June.

But when interviewed by Mr Butler about the new affidavits before the Court of Appeal hearing, Dotcom accepted the evidence of the US businessmen – including that donations were not discussed at the June 5 lunch. Instead, he said there was a second lunch – again on June 9 – at which the donations were discussed.

You can’t have it both ways. If the lunch was on 5 June, then the Americans were there and their evidence is now accepted that no donations were discussed.

If there was a lunch on 9 June, then the evidence is that the Banks were not there.

“It has never been part of the crown case nor has there been any prior suggestion that there were two lunches within a matter of days of each other, at which both Mr and Mrs Banks were present,” wrote Mr Jones.

“How the Crown can now properly pursue this prosecution in the circumstances is unknown … the crown case will accordingly have to be completely recast in a way which, with respect, is utterly untenable.”

It does seem preposterous that there would have been two lunches within four days with Mr and Mrs Banks, and this was never mentioned at the original trial.

No money for legal bills

March 1st, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

NBR reports:

Internet giant Kim Dotcom still owes Simpson Grierson $2 million, the High Court at Auckland has heard. 

Considering that Dotcom has enough money to stick $4.5 million of it into the Internet Party, then it must be galling to Simpson Grierson that he says he can’t pay them.

He wants $200,000 per month for living expenses

That is almost $7,000 a day. Even five fulltime staff would only cost $1,000 a day.

Mona Dotcom confirms Internet Party funding was to help with extradition

February 27th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The High Court in Auckland has also heard that Mona Dotcom was initially hesitant to donate money to the Internet Mana political party, at her husband’s suggestion, but eventually agreed the family trust would give $400,000. …

She believed Dotcom’s claims that his involvement with the Internet Mana party would eventually relieve the family of his threat of extradition, she said.  

This confirms what we all suspected but was denied by Dotcom.

The shame should fall on Laila Harre and Hone Harawira. They took millions from Dotcom to try and get into Parliament (or remain there), and must have known his motivation or quid pro quo was help with his extradition case. Dotcom’s wife confirms this is why he was doing it.

A multi-millionaire tried to buy his way out of extradition through a pet tame political party, and Hone, Laila and John Minto all lined up at the trough.

Hat Tip: Pete George

How significant is the guilty plea?

February 16th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Kim Dotcom’s long-running legal battle has suffered a blow after one of his co-accused pleaded guilty – and will now testify against his former colleagues.

In one of the biggest developments since Dotcom’s Coatesville compound was raided three years ago, computer programmer Andrus Nomm pleaded guilty to internet piracy in a Virginia court on Friday.

The 36-year-old struck a plea bargain deal with the US Justice Department, admitting he personally downloaded copyright-infringing files. Nomm will serve a year and a day behind bars. …

The US Department of Justice claims Nomm’s guilty plea was a major blow to Dotcom’s case. But that was last night rejected by his legal team. His attorney, Ira Rothken, told the Herald on Sunday the guilty plea did not serve as a precedent.

“If Mr Nomm testifies in a truthful manner … we expect that his testimony will help the defence.

I can’t imagine that there would be a plea deal, if the testimony would help the defence.

What will be interesting is whether it may affect the extradition hearing? Does the fact one person has pleaded guilty to the charges, make it harder for the NZ court to find that the charges are not valid? Remember the NZ court does not have to find likely guilt – just that the charges are valid, and would be an offence in NZ.

Dotcom compares US to Nazis and him to their victims

January 6th, 2015 at 7:07 pm by David Farrar

This was at the end of a series of tweets complaining about the Department of Justice seizing a car he gave to his mother, and freezing his assets  etc.

He complains there has been no trial, yet that is because he has done everything possible to stop the trial from occurring.

But considering Dotcom is known to have a signed copy of Mein Kamph, and has kept or worn other Nazi memorabilia, it is rather sickening to have him try and compare what has happened to him, to what the Nazis did to the Jews. And for good taste he points out Jews run Hollywood.

This is the guy Laila Harre and scores of others on the left were working for.

In the responses to his tweet, he has been heavily criticized by many people who said they used to support him.

Dotcom says he wants to quit NZ

January 4th, 2015 at 12:53 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Embattled internet tycoon Kim Dotcom says he is now considered a pariah and is looking to quit New Zealand.

In an exclusive interview with theHerald on Sunday the Mega founder, who is facing internet piracy charges, says he is bearing the brunt of a vicious public backlash since September’s general election and now thinks his only option is to leave his adopted home.

He said he was renewing his offer to the Department of Justice to voluntarily travel to the US for his trial. But this was on the condition he was given bail and that assets seized in the 2012 Dotcom mansion raid are returned to him.

I doubt bail would be a problem, but I suspect return of the assets would be, as they are forfeit if he loses the case, and releasing them would possibly put them beyond the court’s control.

Dotcom was at a loss to explain why the tide of public opinion had turned so harshly against him.

“It’s turned into something very ugly,” he said. “Now I am a pariah.

“The funny thing is I haven’t changed and I don’t think I’ve done anything wrong. I’m still the same guy who only a matter of months ago people were cheering for.”

I blogged here on why opinion turned. I’m surprised he has not been able to work out why. The preposterous forged e-mail was the final nail in the coffin. Leading chants of FU John Key did not help, plus spending $4.5 million trying to change the Government.

Dotcom, who founded the Internet Party, which then forged a controversial and ultimately disastrous alliance with Hone Harawira’s Mana Party, said his political intentions were “pure”.

“The Internet Party stood for good for all New Zealanders. I thought I was doing people a favour and it backfired.”

Yeah, Right. You vowed to destroy the elected Governing Party, which around half the country support – and see this as good for all New Zealanders. It was utu.

Is paying criminals not to hack a good idea?

December 27th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

NDTV report on how Kim Dotcom stopped a denial of service attack on Sony Playstation and Microsoft Xbox by giving the hackers 3,000 lifetime vouchers for Mega’s premium service.

While the intention may have been just to be able to play his games (or to get some publicity painting him as a saviour) I think it is a bad precedent to reward hackers – ether for hacking, or for stopping hacking. Either way it incentivises them to do more hacking in future.

Also of interest is that Dotcom claims he is broke, and can’t afford anything – yet gave away 3,000 lifetime premium subscriptions to Mega.

An annual premium subscription is around 100 Euros so NZ$150. A lifetime one would probably be valued at around $2,000 using a modest discount rate. 3,000 x $2,000 is $6 million.

It’s tough being broke.