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US Department of Justice details Kim Dotcom evidence

MegaUpload labelled 'Mega Conspiracy'

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The US Department of Justice has released the evidence it hopes will prove that Kim Dotcom is indeed a nefarious pirate.

In a 191-page PDF court filing, the Department labels Dotcom the head of “ a worldwide criminal enterprise, which operates and administers several Internet websites that reproduce and distribute infringing copies of copyrighted works, including motion pictures, television programs, musical recordings, electronic books, images, video games, and other computer software.”

That conspiracy, the filing says, knowingly permitted copyrighted material to be accessed on various websites and reaped more than $US150m for the conspirators. MegaUpload made only token efforts to detect or remove copyrighted files and only started doing so long after receiving infringement notices.

The tools provided, including a notification “Abuse Tool”, were ineffectual. “The Mega Conspiracy’s Abuse Tool did not actually function as the copyright owners were led to believe, however, because the Abuse Tool only disabled the specific URL link identified,” the filing says. “The Abuse Tool failed to disable access to the underlying copyright-infringing material or remove the file from the server.”

Another item of evidence the DoJ will offer relies on evidence from a “computer specialist with the Federal Bureau of Investigation” who will show that MegaUpload tuned the service as follows:

“the Mega Conspiracy measured the throughput, or bandwidth, that files on the Mega Sites were consuming. Files that demanded higher throughput, which meant that more users were accessing those files simultaneously, were stored on faster servers located in Washington, D.C. The preliminary analysis of the databases shows that the vast majority of files on these computers are infringing copies of copyrighted works, and the Mega Conspiracy has purposefully made their rapid and repeated distribution a primary focus of their infrastructure.”

That the site also offered to pay uploaders is also held to be damming evidence that the conspirators cared little for the source of files.

Among the jucier parts of the document are this admission that the FBI conducted “undercover” work on the site:

“The FBI has conducted online undercover activities involving the Mega Sites. These undercover activities include identifying, viewing, and downloading copyright-infringing materials on these websites; opening “premium” accounts on these websites to analyze how these websites operate from a customer viewpoint; and performing network analysis to further analyze how these websites operate.”

Your correspondent has just re-watched Donnie Brasco and so cannot help but think sitting behind a keyboard and logging on to a web site rather lowers the bar for “undercover” work. Whatever the nature of the work, a “Special Agent Poston” is later mentioned several times as a future witness who will attest to the site's operations.

The document rambles on with details of numerous email and Skype conversations that the DoJ feels damn the conspirators because they show a clear intent to make money out of material belonging to others.

The Reg has largely ignored Kim Dotcom this year, because he became tedious and had little new to say. Dotcom's response to these allegations, delivered through his preferred medium of Twitter, is as follows.

Dotcom's due in court in July 2014, when he will attempt to defend his extradition from New Zealand to the USA. We may regain interest in him once that case rolls around. ®

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