Steve Wozniak talks Dotcom, Megaupload
Fri, 20 Jul 2012 7:00p.m.
On January 20, 2012, dozens of armed police officers raided the home of Kim Dotcom.
He was arrested along with his three Megupload co-founders. Dotcom was held in prison for a month.
Six months after the arrests, the case is precedent-setting in so many ways.
Kim Dotcom's new song 'Mr President'
From the way the raid was conducted, to the implications for the future of copyrighted material on the internet, to how to preserve big-budget content producers like Hollywood in an age in which people want material fast, cheap and now.
Three-and-a-half decades ago, when none of this seemed possible, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne founded a computer company called Apple – changing the way we connect with each other forever.
Wozniak was in New Zealand recently and met Dotcom, the so-called internet pirate with one of the most influential figures of the internet age.
So what does Wozniak make of the Megaupload affair?
John Campbell’s speaks to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. (Full transcript below)
SW: “I had not really known or followed Megaupload in my life before I meet Kim Dotcom at his house, I went to meet him because he was unable to come to see speak there because of a house arrest and I thought that would be a fair kind of exchange, a nice thing to do for him. And I went in just not knowing how he was going to appear, what kind of person he was, was he a criminal.
Copyrights need to be protected. We have gone through music, and we are struggling a bit. The music studios have got used to the new ways. But basically a lot of performers in music who used to get very good royalty cheques for huge hits of the past see their royalty cheques cut into a10th now, but that is the modern age, distribution is just so easy and free.
Well it is going to hit the movie industry, well it started a long time actually, but movies is a bigger deal maybe because there is so much more money in involved in making a lot of movies and now people can download them for free.
I am totally against people trying to get things for free that were created by creative people. I have close connections in the music industry, most of my best friends have some connection to the music industry. I am involved with film, I am involved with television. Basically their material should not be stolen.
The problem is you have to go after the people that are stealing it. If someone commits a crime shipping drugs on the sea, you don't drain the sea and say the sea is the problem. If they are mailing drugs through the post office you don't shut the post office down you try to get the people who are doing the wrong steps.
In this case I think instead of the studios going after Kim Dotcom who was running a service that was very hugely popular in the world and used by a lot of the people to basically steal movies and the like, instead of going after him they should have probably gone and arrested all the Church leaders that never gave people all the right morals.”
JC: “I want to go back to the post office analogy; you don’t shut down a whole post office if someone sends drugs through the mail. It is also illuminating if there are lots of post offices and only one is closed. So, where Megaupload users doing anything that the users of countless other file sharing sites weren’t doing? Were they more predisposed to piracy? And was it, as is being alleged, a site that explicitly encouraged it?”
SW:“That is a good question that gets to the heart of the matter. I think that MegaUpload, well from what I heard it was doing the normal things that other file sharing sites use. I have Dropbox which I have used many a time, I have Apple iDisk that I have used many a time. I don't use it to purloin movies and send movies for free.
If I hear a song or something I might even send it to my son very quickly on the fly so he can get it in time, for free. But what I do I go back and I go buy a copy of the song or copy of the CD. Just to make myself super legal so I can talk about these things and not be on the other side.
If MegaUpload, and I don't know too much about it, was really telling people you know, "here is a way to steal your movies" that is bad and that is wrong, and I would really be against it. But I don't know that it is as much of a crime for a huge raid, shutting down a man's a life, his business, destroying his family, you know hurting his wife and kid and leaving him in limbo, you know sometimes you look for which side is being the most truthful, when I sat down with Kim at his table, he was open, sharing everything, answered every question and I was asking the devil's advocate questions.
I was not coming across like, "yeah yeah yeah like gung ho I am on your side", because I really wanted to know the issues and he was just so open.
And I look at the Government and their phony charges, the fact that they won't let him use his assets to pay his lawyers. They give him a cost of living but not the cost of his legal defence. That is just totally unfair, you want an unfair advantage. You only want an unfair advantage when you know already you are in the right, when you know deep in your heart. You are in the WRONG I mean. That is when you seek the unfair advantage cause you think you need it.
They will probably offer him some plead guilty to a little plea bargain type arrangement in the end and that is just another form of torture, plea bargaining, you can avoid something very horrible going through with us we will actually let you off the hook and let you out now if you just sign this thing saying you are guilty even though you are not.”
JC: That is a uniquely American way of doing business I think. I just want to pick up on a phrase there; ‘phony charges’, ‘The government’s phony charges’ – that’s strong language from a man who could certainly stay well out of this and sit on the sidelines and enjoy all the benefits of being a founder of Apple. Why are you speaking out?
SW: “I am very thankful when well know people speak out on issues, like the early classic rock groups, a lot of them would speak out against the Vietnam war, on issues that matter to a lot to us that are life and death. I personally grew up shy and I do not speak out, I never call the press, I never try make a point about something, but I grew up too honest and I will answer questions when they come my way and I will not lie.
So, it's just that the charges are so weak, I try to come down with... if I could find something really bad or criminal in there boy I would be speaking out that Kim Dotcom should be paying for his crime but I'm just finding like minor things like he parked too long.”
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9/08/2012 7:23:19 a.m.
no matter what the goverment does pandoras box is open nothing will stop it movies and music are having trouble cause their products suck not pirates
30/07/2012 10:08:08 a.m.
Megaupload was hardly the first to get into file storage, they are in fact one of the late arrivals. The first commercial file storage I used was back in 1994, well before Megaupload. It was much more expensive back then, and it still wasn't 'new' back then as I used international file storage years earlier while at university, as early as 1989 (paid for by the US defence department) - what since grew to be called the internet. The internet can be traced back to Raegan's Starwars program as was his funding of the defence department that started the internet with a distributed network that would still operate even if 85% of the network was knocked out. Defense development even before this can be traced, but Raegan was the first politician to publicly put money into what is now the internet.2 computer companies that knocked Microsoft off the top spot as biggest, were from growth in the file storage industry, and they did this before Megaupload.There are checks to see if something is based in a country. Megaupload was operating in the US. It hired server space, it paid for that in US$, it was paid by US customers in US$ into US accounts. It had employees in the US, it had lawyers in the US. It paid taxes in the US.The money megaupload spent on removing content while in the millions was window dressing and they spent more on lawyers than on removing illegal content. Its competitors have spent not millions, but 100's of millions. Go back to the post/custom office example I used. If the office doesn't do enough checking for contraband, then thats a fail, especially if there is payments not to check for contraband. Megaupload while did some checking, it did very little of it which is why they failed the US legal requirements.
29/07/2012 1:12:01 p.m.
dear Mike thank You for replying to my comment
Fist I would like to say how nice it is of You to so conveniently not address one of the key points of my comment which was the fact that all movie studio's had access to delete megaupload content.
Second in an interview Kim dotcom said himself that megaulpload spent millions making sure that they were doing everything according to the law.
Third all websites can be accessed world wide yet the companies behind them can be anywhere in the world and only be responsible for what they do in countries where they physically take up space, and pay taxes. Even if most of the visitors of the website were from the U.S. it does not change the fact that it is a company based in HongKong.
The fact that they are a very popular website cannot be held against them, they were one of the first companies to get into the file storage business and is one of the reasons they were so popular and were targeted by user's in order to use it for illegal purposes
Fourth Megaupload like most websites Hire company's that provide servers for them to use. Where those company's sever's are located have nothing to do with megaupload.
26/07/2012 9:01:45 a.m.
@John. Megaupload was never based out of the US? So now Megaupload isn't a multinational but only a small time, Hongkong based provider?They had server space in the US. for quicker service, shorter communication lines help for speed and give better bandwidth. This meant that Megaupload had server space within the US to cater to the US market. Thats 'Operating in the US' in my book. US customers using Megaupload paid money from the US. Thats also operating in the US including payments to accounts in the US. The biggest earner for Megaupload in countries was, wait for it ... the US.Or to put it as the post office example again. The law changed so while the post office is not liable for illegal packages through the mail (which the person sending/recieving are), the changed law required the post office to have like sniffer dogs/scanning to help stop illegal packages. Internet companies are now required to do more. This means that if a user posts something illegally, the provider is not responsible for the actual post, but they are liable for their handling of it. If they do not do enough about detecting/removing such illegal content, thats a different crime which Megaupload is guilty of. Think of it as like a private post office which is now required by law (in the US) to have some customs work done at it, and failure to do the customs work will see the post office shut down. The other internet companies have been spending big to cover the law change. As I said, its not new, and Megaupload had about 4 years to prepare and chose to ignore the law changes.Oh wait? spending hundreds of millions by other internet companies was not required according to John. Well the other internet companies sure thought they needed it.Megauploads #1 country for earning was the US, so they should have complied - they didn't. If check history, Megaupload isn't the 1st company to be targeted, its about the 10th. Its just Megaupload is the biggest sofar.
25/07/2012 11:51:21 a.m.
First of all to anyone who reads this comment please pay attention to these facts, I repeat Facts about megaupload
1. Megaupload was NEVER based out of the U.S. it has always been based out of hongkong.
2. Megaupload wrote in thier terms and agreements that they are not responsible fore what thier user's do.
3. Kim dotcom or megaupload as a company is not responsible for what thier users upload because they are providing a service as steve said they are acting as a postoffice.
4. If there ever was pirated content on mega upload ALL THE MOVIE STUIDIOS HAD ACCESS TO DELETE SOMETHING THEY THOUGHT WAS INFRINGING FROM THE MEGAUPLOAD SERVER.
5. Under the U.S. DMCA title two (OCILLA )Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act,THIS LAW PROTECT OSP's online service providers like megaupload from being responsible for what thier user's actions. (and this is no old law it is in place as i speak right know 7/24/12 six months after mega upload was taken down)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_Millennium_Copyright_Act
After stating these facts I want somebody to please explain to me how the U.S. goverment can still justify taking down mega upload, seazing all of kim dotcoms funds not even giving him acess to pay for lawyers. Raiding his home without warning, its not as if he was in the most wanted list. The U.S. just one day decided to raid his house.
and know his hiring has been set back to march of 2013 EXPLAIN THIS TO ME U.S. PLEASE
25/07/2012 3:36:31 a.m.
1. When did Dotcom live in the US?
2. When was Megaupload based in the US?
The answer is - never. Or care to prove me wrong? Just give a URL.
Megaupload was an internet company - therefore operates all over the world, it has nothing to do with the US. So you wanna say that if I operate a liquor shop in the EU and Saudi citizens are purchasing by me and then smuggling the bottles into Saudi Arabia, I should be taken down by a Saudi commando?
Are you comparing online registration for warranty (voluntary) to online registration to be able to play a game (obligatory)? That's ridiculous! First of all, in neither of the countries I live in is necessary to online register to get extended warranty. Maybe in the US but there I do not care. Second, I was talking about things like Origin from EA where you have to install some crapware to your system to be able to play. You can google it a bit and see the bunch of problems with it. So that sounds reasonable to you, right? And that the "pirates" can play it bother-free is OK. Because they can. I cannot. EA punishes me for giving them my money.
The region locked disks depend on the manufacturer. Try to play Forza on both systems and you will see. Same goes to Nintendo.
24/07/2012 9:01:51 a.m.
@Frank, lets be frank.Dotcom used to live in the US and left because he felt NZ would better protect him from US law. It is US law and breeches of it within the USA that is being used for the extradiction. Any company, even multinationals have to follow the law in countries they operate - Megaupload didn't. Megaupload was also based in the US.We have an international organisation Interpol to help police around the world. We also have police in one country directly dealing with other countries to avoid the red tape of Interpol.Megaupload operated within the US, so had to abide by US law. It doesn't matter that your legal oppinion is Megaupload didn't need to abide by the law. What country did Megaupload earn the most from? Oh wait! The USA. To me thats operating in a country and subject to its laws.Online registering of just about anything (not just games for PC's/XBox) is the norm today. Buy a TV, can register online and have a warantee in minutes vs use snail mail, then have the hand written form read/entered. It also gives details of the law abiding to stop crime. I've seen where someone didn't know their serial numbers, but since they had registered online, they had them so their stolen property could be identified.Online is the way of today.Xbox EU vs Xbox USA, actually you can use them in different countries, but you need to flick the Xbox country setting to run the other games as copyright is not consistent with one rule in the world. The EU fails to recognise fully the US and the US fails to recognise the EU fully - bit of a trade war there thats been going on for over 100 years.Many of Apples legal cases have been frivalous, but many have not. The frivalous ones have often lead to it being thrown out of court or judgement for no damages. The EU if anything is more restrictive than the US, just take their restrictions on imports to protect local business.
24/07/2012 6:31:41 a.m.
@Mike: I keep reading your butthurt comments all the time so don't tell us they are getting removed! It seems to me somebody is greasing your pocket or you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Or maybe Dotcom made something to you?
So in your opinion it is OK that Apple is suing Samsung for 4x4 icons grid (despite the fact that Samsung had it first), for a tablet with rounded corners, etc.? Is it OK that I have to register online (practically all new PC games) or be online all the time (diablo 3) just to play a single player game which I LEGALLY purchased? Is it OK that I have to buy two copies of my favorite games because I live on two continents and my European xbox doesn't play the ones bought in America? Is it OK that I cannot rip a legally purchased movie to see it while flying? Is it? Should I simply pay for it twice? Three times? How many times would it be OK? I could go on with this forever but this has nothing to do with Dotcom's case.
Megaupload had no obligation to comply with any US laws, it was not a US based company. Is that so difficult to understand? Why should US have the right to simply shut down any company they want no matter where it is based? Would you care to answer it?
All copyright laws SHOULD be thrown out and be completely rewritten. It is not normal to have something copyright protected for over 100 years.
23/07/2012 1:43:39 p.m.
@Carl I've made about 15 similar posts, but for some reason the moderators keep pulling anything not pro-Megaupload/Dotcom. That was the 1st post that got through the moderators.It makes me wonder if someone is greasing some in the media? And Dotcom had over 50 accounts that they found to freeze, that doesn't include any they didn't find? Piracy is a huge problem and if anything I expect over time the US laws holding internet companies more responsible will be more widespread (even hold internet companies even more accountable), and it will be costly. But the alternative? The altenative is throw all copyright laws in the rubbish bin and set fire to it. If no copyright, where is the incentive to develop anything, as anyone developing will just get ripped off by piracy.Take gaming like X-Box 360 etc on consoles. In the last quarter in the US they out sold movies. While dotcom keeps pointing fingers at the film industry, the piracy problems of the film industry are only a small part, smaller than the game industry.Take Steve Wosniak - without copyright, Apple would be dead, and nobody would even know who Steve is? Do we want to protect people who create stuff, or protect the criminals that help destroy anything created? Steve is a tech-head and like most tech-heads, not really in-touch with the real world. As he put it, he left that side to Steve Jobs, and Steve Jobs had several copyright cases where Apple spent over 100 million on '1' case helping protect Apple in court.
22/07/2012 2:37:34 p.m.
They took down http://megaupload.com when https://rapidshare.com/ has way more pirated stuff on it. odd.
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