Justice Department Calls Megaupload Case A Success; Hands Out Cash To Cops To Do More Bogus Takedowns (Techdirt)
Thursday October 4th, 2012
Back in 2010, we wrote about Attorney General Eric Holder talking up how excited he was to create a special "IP Task Force" within the Justice Department. It was, effectively, an admission that he was happy to play Hollywood's business model protection officer on the public dime. Since then, of course, the DOJ has been involved in a fairly stunning set of disastrous attempts to "enforce" IP law -- including seizing and censoring two separate sites for over a year without real due process or evidence. Then there's the questionable attempt to deport a UK student for creating a web forum.
And, of course, the master of all screwups, the Megaupload case. Given all the info that's been released so far, you'd think that the DOJ would have a slam dunk against Megaupload -- but instead, the case has been a complete disaster for the DOJ, as every week we seem to hear about another error made in going after the company. Given how poorly the DOJ has come out in that case so far, you would think that Attorney General Holder wouldn't be highlighting it as a key example of a "success story" for his role as Hollywood's favorite inside man.
And yet... in a speech in which he talks about handing out cash to local police forces to become local versions of Hollywood's private police force, he uses Megaupload as a shining example of the success of this "Intellectual Property Theft Enforcement Program." Of course, you'd think that the top lawyer in the country would know better than to falsely call infringement theft, but apparently Holder's very good at taking Hollywood's talking points without bothering to understand the actual law. Otherwise, he wouldn't have had to "give up" in the Rojadirecta and Dajaz1 cases, after it became abundantly clear that the DOJ was about to lose big time, and could face serious problems for its actions. Instead... he just cheers on the various abuses and failings in the Megaupload case as if they were successful:
In this year alone, we have prosecuted a number of significant IP cases. For example, in January – in one of the largest criminal copyright cases in U.S. history – the Department indicted two corporations and seven individuals with operating an international organized criminal enterprise responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works, through Megaupload.com and other related sites. Indicted, yes. But pretty much everything after the indictment has been an unmitigated disaster. There was the illegal raid on Kim Dotcom's home, which used the wrong documentation. There was the illegal taking of evidence out of New Zealand without permission. There was the illegally obtained intelligence info on Dotcom's location. There was the ridiculous SWAT-ification of the raid team, which New Zealand officials now admit was both overkill and a mistake. Basically, pretty much every action by the DOJ in the case has been a disaster. And this is what Holder is cheering on as he hands out money for local cops to do more of the same? Really?