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Net access restrictions lifted for ‘Megaupload four’

Dotcom also allowed to go swimming, record an album

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As the “Megupload conspiracy” case grinds on, a New Zealand District Court judge has reinstated Internet access to the four key co-accused, Matthias Ortmann, Finn Batato, Bram van der Kolk and Kim Dotcom.

In a curious addendum to the applications, heard yesterday before judge David Harvey, Dotcom has also had two other variations to his bail conditions: he is allowed to go swimming “at a specified time each day for a specified period of up to 1½ hours”, and with the bail assessor’s permission, can visit Round Head Studios in Auckland, where he is apparently recording an album.

Reporting Dotcom’s counsel’s request for access to the studio, the judge said the album is being recorded “with the assistance and participation of international recording artists”.

Curiously, the USA – represented by NZ Crown lawyer Anne Toohey – opposed the studio visits but not the Internet access. In trying to keep Dotcom away from Round Head Studios, Toohey had said there was no evidence that the recording venture was actually taking place or had any chance of success, to which the judge responded that “notoriety alone could well be a marketing angle” for the recording.

However, Dotcom will need to provide the bail assessor with evidence of his studio visits – for example, by way of sending a photograph of himself at Round Head’s reception desk to the bail assessor.

Citing the defendants’ “exemplary” behavior while on bail, the judge also decided to vary their bail conditions to allow meetings between the four, and Dotcom is to be allowed back into the Coatesville mansion he occupied up until the January arrests.

Blogger Lawgeek NZ has posted the judge's decision here.

In America, the first EFF-supported action to recover users' files from the seized Megaupload servers has begun. Kyle Goodwin, operator of high school sports reporting site OhioSportsNet, is asking a US court to return video files lost when Megaupload was shut down by the FBI. ®

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