NZ police have arrested four people connected with MegaUpload.com in New Zealand today at the request of the US FBI. They have been charged in the US "with running an international organized criminal enterprise allegedly responsible for massive worldwide online piracy of numerous types of copyrighted works through Megaupload.com and other related sites". (FBI press release.)
We have little faith in the fairness and appropriateness of the US's laws and processes around copyright and intellectual property. The US government is continually strengthening its copyright laws at the behest of the entertainment industry (see SOPA and PIPA) and is trying to pass laws that we would not like to see copied in NZ.
Will this NZ police cooperation lead to New Zealanders being arrested and handed over to the US for doing things that may not be serious offences in New Zealand? Which other countries' laws do New Zealanders have to obey when using the internet?
Whether this case is an example of good international cooperation or the US demanding other countries help enforce bad law is yet to be determined. We will be monitoring this issue closely and hope to publish more information as it is available.
- FBI charges seven with online piracy (Wall Street Journal)
- Megaupload's Kim Schmitz arrested in Auckland, site shut down (3news)
- File-sharing website Megaupload shut down, NZ-based founder arrested (PC World NZ)
- File-sharing kingpin arrested in New Zealand at US officials' request (NBR)
- 'We're not pirates, we're just providing shipping services to pirates' (Wall Street Journal Law Blog).
- Why the feds smashed Megaupload (Ars Technica).
- Megaupload attempting to get back online (Stuff NZ)
- The FBI press release.
- The indictment.
- Statement from the NZ Police.
- The NZ extradition treaty (PDF) with the US.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade's information about extradition from New Zealand
- Yes, copyright infringement can be criminal in New Zealand with imprisonment up to five years.
- Damning quotes from the MegaUpload owner's email.