Wednesday, 27 June 2012 16:49

Did the DoJ and The Content Industry Try to Setup a No Win for Mega Upload?

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despdConflict of Interest; it is an interesting term. As an absolute definition it means; “when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other.” As a legal term (as you might imagine) there are multiple meanings with enough ambiguity to keep things interesting. However, to one group of people most notably the MPAA and RIAA it is a way to support and defend their position in the world when they push their lawsuits around the globe. In part two of our look at the MegaUpload case we will dig into how the Content Industry and the DoJ have tried to deny even the right to a defense to MegaUpload.

Most recently the term conflict of interest has been put to great use in the MegaUpload case where the MPAA and RIAA have aggressively pursued some of the legal teams working to defend MegaUpload and Kim Dotcom. What has happened is apparently this; after Kim Dotcom was not able to pay his legal fees his primary law firm of Sidley Austin LLP filed a motion to withdraw. Mega Upload then brought onboard Quinn Emanuel Urguhart & Sullivan. This was seen as a victory for MegaUpload and Dotcom as one of their Attorneys Andrew Schapiro had been involved in a huge victory for YouTube Vs. Viacom.

However in an amazing coincidence the YouTube V Viacom judgment was reversed and now it would be a conflict of interests for Schapiro to represent Dotcom or Mega Upload as YouTube and Google are listed as part of the injured parties and might be called to testify. It truly does represent a conflict of interests, but something is not quite right here. The timing of having that judgment overturned is a little too neat. It popped up AFTER Dotcom approached Quinn Emanuel Urguhart & Sullivan. I wonder if there was a push to get that back on the docket by someone in authority. I know it sounds like I should be looking for tin foil and bugs under the bed, but to be perfectly honest the timing and the quick turnaround are a little too much to not call into question.

Now Quinn Emanuel Urguhart & Sullivan did respond to the US DoJ’s objections and put things in a very concise nutshell about what the US government and the Hollywood Cartels have done;

“Megaupload Limited (hereinafter, “Megaupload”) is a corporate entity charged as a Defendant in this case. It has constitutional rights to due process and to the advice of counsel. Yet, if the Government is to have its way in this case, the only lawyers before the Court will be those representing the Government. If the Government is to have its way, the only evidence available to the Court would be that cherry-picked by the Government, for the Government, from the universe of relevant servers slated to be wiped. If the Government is to have its way, in sum, Megaupload will never get its day in Court and the case will effectively be over before it has even begun. Megaupload’s fate will have been sealed by virtue of an indictment and corresponding asset freeze executed without the benefit of any adversarial proceeding or opportunity to be heard.”

“The Government has invented and sprung what would amount (by its instant conception) to the perfect trap with which to ensnare a corporate defendant and seal its demise. First, the Government sweepingly indicts the corporation and freezes all of its assets. (This of course requires showing probable cause to the satisfaction of a grand jury and the Court, but no one could equate that with all the sentinels, hurdles, and adversarial contestation that should, according to the Constitution, safeguard the path to any ultimate conviction.) Notably, however, the Government has not even served the corporate defendant. Next, the Government resists any release of assets to fund the corporation’s defense, notwithstanding that the corporation can appear only through counsel, and has a constitutional right to counsel, yet (unlike an individual defendant) has no right to have counsel appointed the corporation is rendered effectively indigent by the Government’s pre-conviction freezing of its assets.”

This is eactly what we have outlined earlier today in our article about the blatant siege tactics that are being used against MegaUpload. They have been indicted as both individuals and a corporation, denied access to funds due to “asset seizure and freeze”, prevented from entering a plea (due to lack of legal counsel) and are not entitled to an appointed agent because of their corporate status. In turn the US wants to claim that they are only allowed to afford a defense in a case worth hundreds of millions without any money other than the living expenses that they have granted.

It is one of the worst abuses of the justice system that I can think of and truly is looking like an all-out effort to starve out MegaUpload and the seven managers indicted. We have a feeling that the evidence will not stand up to a proper defense and both Hollywood and the DoJ know this. It is why they are fighting so hard to remove the requirements of law (right to a proper defense, right to counsel etc) so that they can just steam roller this one to a “victory”.

On the other hand when a clear conflict of interest exists that benefits the content industry it is all overlooked and the powers that be do not seem overly concerned about it. In several high-profile cases involving The Pirate Bay it was discovered that the Judge in the case was a member of a copyright group and/or gave lectures on the importance of copyright law. In both cases the verdict stood and the judges were allowed to continue to preside over cases with clear prejudice towards one side of the case. This has also happened in the US and these are completely overlooked by the courts and the government.

We have said it before and we will say it again now. The Content Cartels are willing to do anything they can to maintain control on their profit margin including things that are unethical and possibly even illegal. The truly sad part is that now they seem to have gotten the US government involved. We wonder how we can trust the justice system in these cases when it is so clear that they are not, in any way, being fair and impartial.


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Read 2713 times Last modified on Wednesday, 27 June 2012 18:02

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