David Fisher

David Fisher is a senior reporter for the NZ Herald.

Emails show Hollywood studios courted Megaupload deals

Kim Dotcom's extradition hearing is set for August. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Kim Dotcom's extradition hearing is set for August. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Hollywood studios sought to enter into commercial deals with the Kim Dotcom's Megaupload site, evidence due to be used in his defence reveals.

The defence team has emails from executives at Disney, Warner Bros, Fox and Turner Broadcasting - among those who complained loudest about copyright infringements - seeking commercial agreements with Megaupload.

They include offers to share content and to join advertising deals, and show studios attempting to strike deals.

A Warner Bros staff member sought an automated upload service, with an email asking: "We would like to upload our content all at once instead of one video at a time."

The company's former digital marketing co-ordinator Shelina Sayani offered "opportunities to syndicate our exciting entertainment content".

Her offer was restricted to clips and trailers - rather than whole shows - but shows the willingness of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) members to engage with a company since branded as the biggest copyright pirating outfit in the world.

Both Fox and Turner Broadcasting emailed asking for discussions about joint advertising projects - effectively a commercial deal with Megaupload to profit both parties.

The defence case will also set out how commonplace use of the site was among the Hollywood studios and record companies. It shows 490 Megaupload accounts registered to MPAA and Recording Industry Association (RIA) members.

Dotcom's legal team's trawl of file data has shown MPAA and RIA members uploaded 16,455 files to Megaupload.

The data also showed 1058 members were registered through .gov domains, which takes in US government sites including the FBI, Nasa and the US court service.

It excluded users who registered through the US military, which numbered accounts at 15,634 users. They uploaded a huge 340,893 files which were about 94,000 gigabytes in total size. Most of the users are believed to be US service personnel serving abroad.

The email evidence was due to be published overnight on the TorrentFreak website.

It comes ahead of the expected defence case from Dotcom's multi-national team after his January arrest at his north Auckland mansion on charges of criminal copyright violation.

He has been freed on bail before an extradition hearing expected in August.

The arrest by New Zealand police was part of a global FBI operation which took down the Megaupload filesharing website said to be responsible for 4 per cent of the world's internet traffic.

The case followed complaints about movie copyright violations by the Hollywood studios through the MPAA. It led to an FBI investigation which accused Dotcom and six colleagues of huge internet piracy. They also come amid a legal wrangle over the Megaupload data.

Carpathia Hosting last week filed a paper seeking a court ruling on Megaupload's data after the FBI raids led to the site being pulled down and company funds frozen.

It wants the court to allow them to delete it or to order someone else to pay for storing it.

The total amount of data stored is 28 petabytes - the equivalent storage size of 330 hours of continuous HDTV or half the collected writings ever made in any language.

The case revealed the MPAA was seeking personal details of individual members as it considered suing those it believed had breached copyright using the website.

The revelation forced the MPAA to assure users yesterday they were not among targets for a civil suit.

- Herald on Sunday

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a3 at 03 Sep 2014 15:05:22 Processing Time: 813ms