Notorious Kim 'Dotcom' on bail in New Zealand
Megaupload mastermind free after January arrest for copyright infringement
Kim "Dotcom," whose real name is Kim Schmitz, was arrested last January
in New Zealand in connection with his highly popular "Megaupload" Web
site. Seventy police raided his mansion in connection with Internet
copyright theft. Kim is a happy man today - he's made bail, and a New
Zealand court has ruled that the search warrants used to arrest him were
Millions of dollars of Kim Dotcom's assets were seized or frozen, including almost 20 luxury vehicles, dozens of computers and art work.
Dotcom was the alleged ringleader of a group that has grossed $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing music, movies and other copyrighted content without authorization.
In response, Dotcom's lawyers maintain that the company simply offered online storage.
However -- High Court Judge Justice Helen Winkelmann found the warrants used in the seizure of property from Dotcom's mansion near Auckland were illegal. In addition, action taken by the FBI to copy data from Dotcom's computer and take offshore were also unlawful.
"The warrants did not adequately describe the offences to which they related," Winkelmann said in her ruling this week. "Indeed they fell well short of that. They were general warrants, and as such, are invalid."
In a statement, New Zealand's police said they were considering the judgment and were in discussions with Crown Law "to determine what further action might be required."
Police said no further comment would be made until that process was complete.
Free on bail, Dotcom is being sought by U.S. authorities who seek to extradite him on charges of copyright theft and money laundering.
Officers cut Dotcom out of a safe room he had barricaded himself in within the sprawling mansion, reputedly New Zealand's most expensive home.
Millions of dollars of Dotcom's assets were seized or frozen, including almost 20 luxury vehicles, dozens of computers and art work.
Dotcom is winning popular support, both in legal arenas and in the public eye.
Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak came out in support of the Internet entrepreneur, saying the U.S. piracy case against Kim Dotcom is "hokey" and a threat to Internet innovation.
Wozniak said he was visiting New Zealand last month to give a speech when he learned Dotcom couldn't come to see him because he was under house arrest. Wozniak says that he visited Dotcom and the two have kept in touch by email since.
"It's just kind of ridiculous what they did to his life," Wozniak said in a telephone interview. "An awful lot of Kiwis support him. The U.S. government is on thin ground."
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Kim Dotcom, MegaUpload, SOPA, copyright infringement, New Zealand
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