In another astonishing development in the Megaupload saga, a judge in New Zealand’s High Court has declared the order used to seize Kim Dotcom’s assets as “null and void”. The blunder, which occurred because the police applied for the wrong type of court order, means that the Megaupload founder could have his property returned.
Just when it seemed that the handling of the Megaupload case couldn’t get any more controversial, a development from New Zealand has taken things to the next level.
Following the raids on Kim Dotcom’s mansion in January, police seized millions of dollars worth of property belonging to the Megaupload founder. But thanks to a police blunder, he could now see all of those assets returned.
On Friday, Justice Judith Potter in the High Court declared the order used to seize Dotcom’s property “null and void” after it was discovered that the police had acted under a court order that should have never been granted.
The error dates back to January when the police applied for the order granting them permission to seize Dotcom’s property. Rather than applying for an interim restraining order, the Police Commissioner applied for a foreign restraining order instead, one which did not give Dotcom a chance to mount a defense.
According to New Zealand Herald, on January 30th prosecution lawyer Anne Toohey wrote to the court explaining that the wrong order had been applied for and detailed five errors with the application.
Justice Potter said that police commissioner Peter Marshall tried to correct the error by applying for the correct order after the raids were completed and retrospectively adding the items already seized.
Although the correct order was eventually granted albeit on a temporary basis, Potter said she will soon rule on whether the “procedural error” will result in Dotcom having his property returned.
The Crown is arguing that since the new order was granted the earlier error no longer matters, but Dotcom’s legal team framed it rather differently by describing the seizure of assets as “unlawful”.
Whether the assets are returned will rest on Dotcom’s legal team showing a lack of “good faith” in connection with the blunder. A hearing to decide if the assets will be returned will take place next week.
Damn the Lawsuits — It’s Full Speed Ahead for Aereo In New York
NEW YORK — Aereo, the startup which aims to rock the TV world by renting you a remote high definition antenna that allows you to watch and record broadcasts via a web browser, launched Wednesday despite lawsuits which allege that the company is violating the copyrights of broadcasters who own the programming.
Two lawsuits have been filed against Aereo (and it has filed a counterclaim of its own) but there is no court injunction preventing the launch, so here we go. In what is perhaps a little tweak at the broadcasters who are trying to shut Aereo down — or just good business of the “first taste is free” variety — Aereo takes to the airwaves with a 90-day free trial, up from the 30 days initially planned. After that 90 days, it’ll cost New Yorkers $12 a month to get the roughly 20 channels broadcasting in this market in HD.
That is, assuming Aereo is still around in 90 days.
The suits against the start-up, whose backers include broadcast veteran Barry Diller, allege that Aereo is blatantly violating the copyrights of broadcasters who air shows that are otherwise available generally only via cable and satellite middlemen, or if you have your own HD antenna attached to a TV set. Aereo contends it has the legal right to provide this service because its potential customers a) have the right to these broadcasts, made available as they are on publicly-owned airwaves and b) have the right to put an antenna anywhere they want to pull in these signals for our own, personal, non-commercial use.
Aereo essentially says it is merely enabling legal private behavior, and charging for that convenience.
Copyright is a justifiably powerful tool which often trumps all — and I am no lawyer — but I’ve already made clear that I find Aereo’s theory compelling. That said, I’m fantastically interested in how the arguments on both sides will be made. Either way this case will change things: Someone is going to do what Aereo is doing, even if it’s only the broadcasters who didn’t bother to, first.
If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times:the iPhone will be the downfall of modern civilization as we know it.And, not just because it promotes that crazy Rock music that's all the rage with those teen-aged Greasers in their high-tops and leather jackets. It's much worse than that, says Apple. It could even promote drug trafficking.
According to Apple, "each iPhone contains a unique Exclusive Chip Identification (ECID) number that identifies the phone to the cell tower. With access to the BBP via jailbreaking, hackers may be able to change the ECID, which in turn can enable phone calls to be made anonymously (this would be desirable to drug dealers, for example...". That's a lot of acronyms that seem to suggest that, allowing users to change their ECID via the BBP could leave us all SOL, FUBAR, and possibly DOA.
But, it gets worse: "More pernicious forms of activity may also be enabled. For example, a local or international hacker could potentially initiate commands (such as a denial of service attack) that could crash the tower software, rendering the tower entirely inoperable to process calls or transmit data. In short, taking control of the BBP software would be much the equivalent of getting inside the firewall of a corporate computer – to potentially catastrophic result. The technological protection measures were designed into the iPhone precisely to prevent these kinds of pernicious activities..."
Though this makes no sense, whatsoever, to most people, the use of the word "pernicious" twice in the same paragraph should be very very frightening to anyone who knows the definition. (Pernicious [\pər-ˈni-shəs\] : highly injurious or destructive : deadly)
The co-founders of Apple changed the world by soldering parts together in their garages. If they say it's going to end, we might want to take them seriously. It seems to me that the message is clear: Fight the iPhone hacking, drug-dealing, bandwidth-hogging hippies over there, or we'll have to fight them over here in our own backyards.
Is there an app for that?
Don't believe me? Read more @ Wired (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/07/jailbreak/)
In an ironically Orwellian move, on July 17, 2009 Amazon.com remotely deleted illegally-sold copies of George Orwell's "1984" and "Animal Farm" from its customer's Kindle e-book readers.
This issue is unique to electronic goods, so it's important to parse the words carefully. The books were indeed sold illegally through, and by, Amazon.com. The legitimacy of the purchases, however, does not seem to be in question. The Kindle owners made a legal purchase, of an item that was not legal for Amazon.com to sell in the United States.
The electronic books that Amazon sold are in the public domain in Canada and Australia, but not in the United States. Effectively, works in the public domain belong to the public. What can be confusing, however, is that something in the public domain--or free to use-- in one country, may not be public domain in another. Naturally, an Amazon.com purchaser might simply assume--considering that Amazon requires their billing address to make a purchase--that the item they were purchasing was neither free, nor illegal to purchase
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“Anything using RF energy — we have the right to inspect it to make sure it is not causing interference,” says FCC spokesman David Fiske.
According to Wired:
The FCC claims it derives its warrantless search power from the Communications Act of 1934, though the constitutionality of the claim has gone untested in the courts. That’s largely because the FCC had little to do with average citizens for most of the last 75 years, when home transmitters were largely reserved to ham-radio operators and CB-radio aficionados. But in 2009, nearly every household in the United States has multiple devices that use radio waves and fall under the FCC’s purview, making the commission’s claimed authority ripe for a court challenge.
Judge: Copyright Owners Must Consider 'Fair Use' Before Sending Takedown Notice
"A federal judge rules that copyright owners must first consider "fair use" before sending takedown notices to online video-sharing sites like YouTube requiring removal of clips. Universal Music argued it could send a takedown notice even if a posting qualified as a fair use of a copyright."