Steve Wozniak shares his thoughts on the MegaUpload case

By on June 26, 2012, 9:30 AM

Steve Wozniak visited New Zealand last month, stopping by MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom’s Auckland-area estate during the trip. When Dotcom was allowed back online last week, he tweeted a photo of the two during the visit and publically thanked him for his support of the Electronic Frontier Foundation but now is it Wozniak that is speaking out in favor of Dotcom.

In an email interview with CNET, Wozniak defends Dotcom, proclaiming that the charges levied against him are evidence of how poorly thought out the attempt to extradite him is. He feels that prosecutors are attempting to take advantage of loopholes in the system, further noting that it’s too bad for the US government that Dotcom lives in New Zealand “which is better on human rights.”

As part of the process, the New Zealand government in cooperation with the US government has seized Dotcom’s assets, preventing him from accessing funds to pay for legal services.

"How unfair that the United States will allow him living expenses out of his frozen assets but not give him any legal fees,” Wozniak said. “The side with access to the funds spends millions on lawyers hoping the other side goes bankrupt and gives in. Shame on the system that permits this one-sided advantage. Kim is well enough liked and respected that his legal team is working without up-front payment."

Furthermore, the Apple co-founder chimes in about the alleged pirated content being hosted on MegaUpload.

"I scratch my head wondering why the studios went after the guy doing more than can be imagined to remove the links the studios wanted removed," Wozniak noted in his email. "Heck, I use my iDisk (MobileMe) and dropbox to share files by sending links to friends. They might even be copyrighted materials. I might even send a song in an e-mail to my son, although if I think he'll keep it I will use the 'Buy gift' feature in iTunes. But there are so many legitimate uses to peer-to-peer file sharing and cloud storage."

CNET notes that Woz offered one final bit of advice to the entertainment industry. "When you can't stop something like a steamroller, get out of the way."




User Comments: 11

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Arris Arris said:

Nice quote at the end from Wozniak but don't think I'd be speaking out for someone convicted of insider trading and embezzlement.

Arris Arris said:

Although both sides of the battle aren't exactly clean

"Kim Dotcom has spoken out against his negative portrayal in the media, claiming to be a reformed character and a legitimate businessman who has been unfairly demonized by United States authorities and industry trade groups such as the RIAA and MPAA. He contends that the services offered by his Megaupload site were not significantly different from those of comparable services such as Rapidshare or YouTube, and he has just been used as a scapegoat because of his hacker past. Dotcom is also keen to point out his charitable works, including funding the fireworks display for New Year 2011 in Auckland,[63] and donating large amounts of money to the relief fund following the devastating 2011 Christchurch earthquakes, and explains that his property purchases in New Zealand were approved by several other government Ministers before being vetoed at the last minute by Justice Minister Simon Power, after the United States Department of Justice secretly asked his department for help with their investigation of Dotcom."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Dotcom

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Even Al Capone was entitled to due process.

MilwaukeeMike said:

Even Al Capone was entitled to due process.

Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion, never theft. He's a bad example... Here's a better one...if you embezzle a million bucks from your employer and get caught, do you really think you should be allowed to only give back $900,000 and keep the rest for legal fees?

Steve's statement that file sharing can be used for normal purposes is naive. Are we to believe that the RIAA is going after him because his users are sharing pictures of their weddings and kids?

"When you can't stop something like a steamroller, get out of the way." That's a good mentality... since we can't stop someone from breaking a window to enter our home, maybe we should all just remove the locks on the doors. Great logic there, buddy.

Tygerstrike said:

Everyone seems to think that the US is going after DotCom for pirating. The US is going after him for far more shady dealings then some piracy. If it was only piracy it would fall to civil litigation as he was only a third party provider. DotCom has a laundry list of ACTUAL illegal activities of the likes that would put him in the class of Al Capone. He is simply trying to sway the media and say that the big bad US is after him for some innocent piracy. The DoJ wouldnt be going after him as hard as they are if they didnt have solid evidence that DotCom has commited crimes against US citizens.

And I certainly hope they keep him from his money!!! Why should he spend money he embezzeled from other ppl to defend himself?! Those ppl he ripped off deserve their money back!! Let him get a Public Defender like a lot of ppl have to. Put him in the same boat as his victims.

Guest said:

Innocent until proven guilty, isn't that the basis for the US justice system?

Unless a court find him guilty of a crime, all you are claiming are not true, but only opinion.

And the DOJ can make mistake, Letting gun walk sound familiar?

Or extradicting a UK teen for linking to TV show, not providing content?

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion, never theft. He's a bad example... Here's a better one...if you embezzle a million bucks from your employer and get caught, do you really think you should be allowed to only give back $900,000 and keep the rest for legal fees?

Steve's statement that file sharing can be used for normal purposes is naive. Are we to believe that the RIAA is going after him because his users are sharing pictures of their weddings and kids?

"When you can't stop something like a steamroller, get out of the way." That's a good mentality... since we can't stop someone from breaking a window to enter our home, maybe we should all just remove the locks on the doors. Great logic there, buddy.

Al Capone was wanted for bootlegging, murder and various other crimes, YET, the US government (as far as we know) did their jobs by the book (using the US Constitution) and could only convict him on tax evasion. He was convicted by due process. Like him or hate him, Kim Dot Com is being railroaded. Period. When you allow the government to take advantage of one person, no matter how vile they are, you are opening a door that will be difficult to close.

File sharing is a tool, like a hammer or a gun. How the user uses it determines whether or not it is bad. You can kill a person with a paper clip if so inclined, does that mean we need to ban and get rid of paper clips? Many websites have safe harbors against being prosecuted for what their users post to them, being files or information. Why should Mega Upload be any different? People upload copyrighted material on You Tube by why hasn't the government stepped in and closed them down as well? Aren't laws supposed to be uniformly enforced for everyone?

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

Everyone seems to think that the US is going after DotCom for pirating. The US is going after him for far more shady dealings then some piracy. If it was only piracy it would fall to civil litigation as he was only a third party provider. DotCom has a laundry list of ACTUAL illegal activities of the likes that would put him in the class of Al Capone..

The complaint alleges that Megaupload, founder Kim Dotcom, and his team are responsible for $175 million in "criminal proceeds" and "more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners." Specifically, Kim Dotcom and six of his executives are charged with running "the Mega conspiracy websites" under a business model "expressly designed to promote uploading of the most popular copyrighted works." The DOJ also says Megaupload also developed its uploader rewards program as a means of laundering money.

The complaint charges Dotcom, his executives, the Megaupload Limited company and a second company called Vestor Limited which Dotcom used to shield his personal assets. Specifically, the charges are:

engaging in a racketeering conspiracy

conspiring to commit copyright infringement

conspiring to commit money laundering

two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement

[link]

90-95% of this case is about piracy.

Mantrhax Mantrhax said:

I blame NZ govern for leting a foreigner country try to arrest a NZ citizen using american laws... this is a country that I dont want to go never more, because if they do it with a citizen imagine what they can do with a tourist.

TJGeezer said:

The DoJ wouldnt be going after him as hard as they are if they didnt have solid evidence that DotCom has commited crimes against US citizens.

Remember: In the US, people are guilty until proved innocent, and therefore deserve to lose their assets if some prosecutor prodded by corporations and copyright gamers decides to dream up some high-profile charges and get some press.

Wait - that doesn't sound right... I'm almost sure that's not what they taught in school...

avoidz avoidz said:

According to TorrentFreak, "the search warrants used by police to raid the New Zealand home of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom have been ruled illegal." - [link]

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