The High Court of New Zealand has ruled that Kim Dotcom must have all of his assets seized by the New Zealand government returned to him immediately and that barring an appeal from the Crown Prosecution, all $17 million in assets will be returned to him, including his cars, helicopter and any cash seized on hand. Thankfully for Kim, he’s already successfully launched a replacement service for Megaupload called Mega as well as a music service called Baboom.
When the New Zealand goverment, in conjunction with the US and Hong Kong governments seized all of Megaupload’s assets illegally (without any due process) it slowly became clear that many of these governments were acting as agents of their respective copyright mafias, namely the MPAA and RIAA and their international affiliates. Upon further analysis and legal proceedings it was determined that the actions of the Crown Prosecution among many other governmental agencies had overstepped their constitutional bounds and acted beyond the scope of the law. As such, Kim Dotcom has been kept under house arrest with limited access to his personal funds in order to pay for the property and lawyers.
However, with today’s announcement he gets something like $6 million in vehicles back, $10 million from financial institutions and the rest in personal items from himself and his wife that were seized during the raid. This is going to be a huge blow to the Crown in New Zealand as the court is clearly on Kim Dotcom’s side and it will be interesting to see what the court rules in his extradition hearing. His extradition hearing is expected to be in the next few months and will likely determine if he is extradited to the United States where he could be tried in court for up to 20 years in jail. Even though, realistically, the US courts would find so much wrong with the way that he was arrested and the evidence against him gathered (and evidence he could use to defend himself also destroyed) that any self-respecting judge would just throw the whole case out of court and claim a mistrial.
The gross negligence that the US and New Zealand governments displayed during their takedown and seizure of Megaupload’s assets will serve as an example of how you don’t take down a file sharing service and expect to accomplish anything other than looking like a bunch of amateurs. There’s no doubt that Kim Dotcom is not the most innocent of people, but there’s also no doubt that the way that the New Zealand and United States governments handled this case should have resulted in people losing their jobs for overstepping the law and trying to ruin the lives of anyone involved with Mega. Not to mention all of the legitimate artists and business owners that probably lost millions of dollars worth of their work stored on Megaupload’s servers which have since been shut down and wiped clean.