Megaupload Defendants Get Internet Access Back; Kim Dotcom Allowed To Record An Album
from the conditions-of-bail dept
When Kim Dotcom was granted bail, we noted that it was rather silly that the conditions of bail included a ban on internet access. It appears that pretty much everyone involved in the case has actually agreed, and the terms of bail have been adjusted to allow all of the Megaupload defendants to have internet access. The US didn't even object to this request (which surprises me, actually).
What the US did object to, however, was Dotcom's request to be able to go to a nearby recording studio to complete an album he is supposedly working on. The US seems to question whether this album really exists as well as its likelihood of commercial success. However, the judge notes:This Court cannot speculate on the success or otherwise of Mr Dotcom’s venture. The numerous varieties of modern musical genres suggest that there are probably unimagined audiences available, and modern legitimate digital distribution systems are changing the face of the music market. I could venture to suggest that notoriety alone could well be a marketing angle for Mr Dotcom’s venture.In the end, he does allow Dotcom to go to the studio, but with specific requirements, including having to notify officials when he's going there, and only staying for four hours at a time. He has to alert officials when he arrives, at the 2 hour mark, and 5 minutes before he leaves -- and he's supposed to do so with a photo of himself on a smartphone (if he has a smartphone).
The US also objected to allowing the four defendants to meet in person, saying that by allowing them internet access, they could just Skype each other. However, the court agreed with the defendants that Skyping is not the same as actually meeting in person and is allowing that as well (again, in a limited fashion). The court notes that the "flight risk" that the US keeps worrying about appears to be exaggerated, though it's still keeping pretty strict limits on Dotcom and the others, and may revisit the rules in the future.
Of course, I'm still wondering why internet access was banned in the first place. It seems like such an overaggressive ban on something that's so central to the ways in which everyone communicates these days.