Thursday, June 7, 2012

Did the FBI Just Undermine The Case for Digital Copyright Laws?

PIPA, SOPA, CISPA, and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act are all bills designed to regulate Internet use.  Opponents argue these bills infringe on privacy and fair use rights.  Their proponents, namely the RIAA, MPAA and the federal government, argue the bills are necessary to protect intellectual property and defend against terrorism.

One of the biggest cases involving intellectual property and the rights of network owner/operators is currently under way New Zealand.  Megaupload, one of the Internets biggest video sharing sites, is the target of an international case that alleges the company knowingly aided and abetted piracy.

The primary evidence against Megaupload and its founder Kim Dotcom is information located on seven hard drives ceased from Megaupload's servers.  Lawyers for Megaupload argue the information from these drives was illegally copied by the FBI and shipped to the United States.

Here is how the lawyers for the New Zealand's government defended the FBI's actions:
FBI agents who copied data from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom's computers and took it overseas were not acting illegally because information isn't "physical material", the Crown says.
Did you catch that?  

Copying the information was not illegal because it is not "physical material".

Remind me again what it is Megaupload is being accused of?

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