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 Megavideo.com and the “Top 100” list on Megaupload.com. 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 download.com, apple.com/trailers, and gamespot.com. Mr van der Kolk further instructed the employee to create fake accounts on Megaupload.com and Megavideo.com 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 [Youtube.com] 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.