from the when-is-enough-enough dept.
Kim Dotcom's oft-delayed extradition hearing began on Monday 21 Sep, nearly three years and 10 months since the infamous raid of Dotcom's New Zealand mansion. Over that time span, Dotcom's legal team has managed to drag out the affair through 10 extradition hearing delays and various other legal maneuvering. And according to some number crunching from the New Zealand Herald (confirmed by the Crown Law Office, the NZ prosecutors representing the US there), Dotcom's trials and tribulations have cost NZ taxpayers nearly NZ$5.8 million in legal fees (or approximately $3.7 million).
The total cost is just one of the eye-dropping[sic] Dotcom-related numbers the Herald outlined this weekend. To start, it's been 1337 total days since the raid. And in total, 29,344 hours of legal work has been made possible through taxpayer investments; two-thirds of those hours have gone specifically towards the extradition request according to the paper. With the base rate for Crown solicitors set at NZ$198/hour, the Herald puts the current cost at the NZ$5.8 million figure above. Dotcom took to Twitter to note that such a calculation means NZ has spent almost the equivalent of half of its 2014 budget for Crown prosecutions on Dotcom alone. (In contrast, the Herald reports Dotcom has spent an estimated NZ$10 million, roughly $6.4M, on his defense.)
(Score: 0, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01 2015, @02:38AM
Nothing new there. I do hope that the US prosecutors that want him are footing most of the bill, though.
Is this guy considered a hero to some? I've always thought of him as kind of crazy, trying to run a file sharing site that was so obviously going to get him into trouble.
(Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01 2015, @02:59AM
Certainly a hero to many here and at Slashdot. I keep forgetting who he is but every time he scratches his ass another story shows up here or at Slashdot.
(Score: 1, Redundant) by liquibyte on Thursday October 01 2015, @03:04AM
We're not on slashdot.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01 2015, @09:40PM
I know, those are three big words, but read them multiple times and the meaning might sink in for you.
(Score: 5, Interesting) by Fluffeh on Thursday October 01 2015, @03:18AM
I wouldn't consider him a hero - just someone who made a website that allowed folks to do the wrong thing. Having said that, I don't see "allowing" someone to do the wrong thing the same as "doing it yourself" which seems to be the prosecution case in most of these types of trials.
To hear that about half NZ money set aside for prosecutions was spent on this one guy is simply disgusting. Whatever you think of the guy, while the overall crime rate is falling in NZ, sexual assaults have been increasing over the last three years - so there's a good place to spend some money. Oh yeah, you still have stuff to rebuild in Christchurch as well, so there's another good place to spend some money.
So, all in all, what do I think of NZ spending millions of dollars on extraditing him to the US? Waste of damn money, terrible misuse of taxation dollars that would likely anger most of the folks in NZ if they knew what it was being spent on.
(Score: 5, Insightful) by Mr Big in the Pants on Thursday October 01 2015, @05:01AM
- The US told them to. John Key is a blatant US sycophant and narcissist - sucking up to the US and looking good are two of his major goals.
- He is in bed with the movie industry and recently changed our employment law at their behest to suit them.
- Its not the current Govt's money so they could not care less about the cost.
- Should their case be found wanting Dotcom will have the right to sue and even a failed attempt at this will get major media traction
- This governemnt is extremely poll focused so bad media is something they fear.
- Should Dotcom win people will refocus from this media circus to the ACTUAL important issue which is the police, govt and spy agency conduct throughout which has been embarrassingly atrocious.
In NZ's tiny democracy this case is a big deal and there is a LOT of egg waiting to spill on someone...
(Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Friday October 02 2015, @12:39AM
I absolutely agree with Mr Big in the Pants. John Key has ruled by focus group since the beginning, and it's always been my personal conspiracy theory that he will leverage all his goodwill with the Yanks when his time as PM finishes and get some great job.
I always thought it would be Ambassador to Washington, but maybe he would aim higher, perhaps some plum UN thing?
(Score: 2) by Mr Big in the Pants on Friday October 02 2015, @04:17AM
Jim Bolger did that previously and he has a holiday home in hawaii...
(Score: 5, Interesting) by Anal Pumpernickel on Thursday October 01 2015, @08:48AM
I wouldn't consider him a hero - just someone who made a website that allowed folks to do the wrong thing.
I don't think sharing is wrong. The only ethical issue I see is spreading around non-free proprietary user-subjugating software and then encouraging others to run it, but you can do that at so many websites.
If you meant "illegal" instead of "wrong", then perhaps that is true according to the ones currently in power. But those two things are not at all the same.
(Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01 2015, @03:19AM
He's sticking it to the man which is always good.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01 2015, @09:46PM
Ah, to be back in Junior High. Enjoy these days while you can.
(Score: 3, Interesting) by Moggy on Thursday October 01 2015, @03:32AM
I do hope that the US prosecutors that want him are footing most of the bill, though.
Unlikely... Whether he stays or goes, we the taxpayers are are left footing the bill. I'd just like to see someone reimburse us. The **AAs & FBI started this mess. If our courts decided not to extradite perhaps the TPPA will allow us to sue those parties for damages. Or just sue them anyway for sheer incompetence and stupidity.
TBH over here he's been largely forgotten since last years election. The novelty's worn off and the general population has moved on to the next episode of masterchefkardishianbullshit
ACK; NAK; RST;
(Score: 2, Interesting) by anubi on Thursday October 01 2015, @04:02AM
Its a lot easier to run the charges up if someone else ( not you ) is footing the bill.
( Same thing that has me so concerned about Obamacare. Its not the doctors... its all those healthcare administrators jumping onto the taxpayer funded gravy train.... All Aboard! )
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
(Score: 2) by Zz9zZ on Thursday October 01 2015, @06:26AM
I dislike bureaucracy, but I would prefer some government bloat to privatized middle managers. Bureaucrats are a pain, but I fear more the ones who are actively seeking to profit at the expense of other people's healthcare. That being said, our current health care system seems like a compromise for a worse system, but that is pure armchair speculation as I'm lucky enough to have benefits at my job. Anyone have thoughts on our new system?
~Tilting at windmills~
(Score: 3, Interesting) by HiThere on Thursday October 01 2015, @08:06PM
It's an unreasonably expensive to expand healthcare coverage while still not covering everyone.
It's been called RomneyCare after it's actual originator. It might be a good system if they stripped out the insurance companies. Everyone gets sick, so insurance is only a decent model for major medical. And I priced dental insurance a couple of years ago, and studied what they decline to cover under the policy. None of the policies that I saw were worth a plugged nickle. They cost more per year than just paying the dentist, and if anything major came up they declined to cover it. I expect that most health care insurance is like that except for major medical (and I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt).
Additionally health care policies have drastically raised the expenses of running a medical practice.
That said, many people have benefited from "ObamaCare". I just wish they'd clean the insurance companies out of the system. And provide full coverage, so the paperwork could be drastically cut.
(Score: 1) by anubi on Friday October 02 2015, @05:35AM
I beg you, kind sir, to run for office.
You offer insight into this medical mess I have not seen from anyone I have seen so far.
I had the same experience with dental... however I actually had a dental plan - and paid monthly premiums for about five years - before I needed it and got a really rude awakening.... aka "not covered"... when I needed it.
I have been leery of "insurance" ever since. It has been my observation that only liability insurance makes sense. And then, its not they will pay... its that they are big enough to hire enough lawyers to defend their position, so no one is gonna get paid. Kinda like having a protection racket. Those guys are big enough that they won't be ramrodded like a little guy with no backup will.
What are those "three simple questions" to "determine eligibility" for those senior insurance policies that well-known TV celebs hawk on late night television? I am of the strong belief those "three simple questions" are so that if their lawyers can dig up any alternative interpretation of what you answered, they can keep the premiums you have paid so far and unhook themselves from the insured peril. I believe they will use your answers to those "three simple questions" to decline your eligibility to receive any compensation - and that will be done at the time the policy is needed... not at the time the stream of premium payments is established. Insurance companies are not in business to give money away. Where does the money for all those big buildings, executive salaries, office support staff, advertising, and TV celebs come from? Premiums!
The TV pitchmen roll that "just answer three simple questions" out just as smooth as others hock up "FREE! ( just pay shipping and handling )"... and you know every time that TV ad-head hocks up that phrase, your credit card charge will nearly double from the price shown on the TV screen.
I see premiums kinda like buying fancy dinners and investments for the suit-and-tie crowd. Unless I "win the lottery" and have a genuine covered peril, I just lost all those years of paying premiums.
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
(Score: 2) by Hyperturtle on Thursday October 01 2015, @04:35PM
Whatever comes of it, I think we have a test case to use as a subject for that article about measuring the worth of man.
It seems they came up with value, and he is worth at least the sum (and likely more to come) of the people doing the work that's being valued.
Those little people are not worth that much individually; it's clear what the governing bodies think of the values of them and him just by the efforts spent.
(Score: 5, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01 2015, @03:46AM
Nice timing there.
(Score: 2) by hemocyanin on Thursday October 01 2015, @05:32AM
I was waiting for this comment.
(Score: 2) by zeigerpuppy on Thursday October 01 2015, @09:15AM
Me too, would have commented myself if I could think I something witty to say...
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01 2015, @09:27AM
Nobody wins except the lawyers.
(Score: 2) by Gaaark on Thursday October 01 2015, @12:15PM
and the hookers... lawyers love da hookers! :)
--- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
(Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01 2015, @11:11AM
If they prosuite him, it'll cost this much because he's rich and powerful.
If they don't, then its simply a case of the rich and powerful being untouchable. A law for us, and a law for them.
As for people who believe his business model is legal, they don't understand just how much megaupload was catering towards illegal activities.
There's a difference between having your services exploited for illegal activities, and outright encouraging and rewarding illegal activities.
Legalities aside, Kim Dotcom's personality and presence is toxic to NZ.
There was a time when i was sympathetic to his cause, but the more you learn about him and how he treats others, the more you realize how much of a scumbag he is. (Pays less than minimum wage to his staff, hires contractors to do work and refuses to pay them their due, spends millions trying to buy an election result)
Sooner he faces trial the better. Its quite possible he'll be found innocent in a US court of law, although doubtful.
But NZ is not supposed to be a safe haven for criminals who get rich on illegal activities.
Ship him off.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01 2015, @12:12PM
How much do they pay you these days?
(Score: 4, Interesting) by urza9814 on Thursday October 01 2015, @03:55PM
Very true. But you have to balance that against the limited resources of the state. Someone commented earlier that the number of incidents of sexual assault in NZ have been on the rise for example. But instead of working on that, they're spending all these millions going after someone who built a tool to let others move numbers around.
There's one law for the rich and powerful, and a separate law for us. They'll spend millions prosecuting a civil case on behalf of major corporations, but they turn and look the other way when it comes to violent crimes committed against the common citizen.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 01 2015, @09:43PM
Wow. it all sounds so benign when you put it like that. I shouldn't feel so bad about that guy who stole my money because he was just simply moving some molecules from my wallet to his.
(Score: 2, Insightful) by TheReaperD on Friday October 02 2015, @12:56AM
It's a matter of comparing severities. Which of these crimes is more severe and should consume the most of the country's limited resources? 1) Sexual assault: A crime the directly causes physical and long term emotional harm to a person. 2) Online copyright infringement: A financial crime that makes copies of an unlimited resource (binary data) that deprives a copyright holder of potential revenue on a lost potential sales.
Ad eundum quo nemo ante iit
(Score: 2) by Anal Pumpernickel on Friday October 02 2015, @08:40AM
I don't think that's quite right. It doesn't truly deprive them of anything. They didn't "have" potential revenue or potential sales; you can't own those things. To say otherwise would be to say that copyright holders own other people's money before they give it to them, which is absurd. Since they did not own those things, they cannot lose them.
If they could own potential sales and potential revenue, then good old free market competition would be 'stealing' too. My competitors are stealing potential revenue and potential sales! If they didn't exist, I predict I'd have more money!
(Score: 2, Informative) by TheReaperD on Sunday October 04 2015, @03:11PM
I don't tend to buy the "potential" revenue argument that the MPAA/RIAA and similar organizations like to claim either. But, I was allowing that for the sake of my argument that even if we take their position as truth, enforcement is still grossly out of line with the severity of the "crime." As far as what the "potential" revenue means as far as actual lost sales, what little research has been done suggests that less than 5% of all copyright infringers will actually make a purchase that they otherwise wouldn't have made if the file was not available on a torrent. Most of the study data actually suggested less than 1% but, they didn't want to use that number allowing for margin of error. In reality, they found that the top infringers were also the top paying customers as well. They used the sites to sample media and when they found what they liked, they purchased it for full price, assuming it was available legally (a problem with a lot of MPAA backed media).
I have a hunch that the reason that the media companies go after file sharing so heavily is that with the ability to sample media before purchase that they can no longer produce absolute crap and shovel it out the door and make their money back before the world learns it's crap. There were well-known directors that had made an entire business model out of this before file sharing to have it go tits-up when file sharing became commonplace. (Looking at you, Uwe Boll.) This same director and a scummy lawyer also brought the copyright infringement astroturfing extortion method into wide-spread use that the U.S. courts are currently trying to clean out of the system.
Ad eundum quo nemo ante iit
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 02 2015, @08:34AM
Well, unlike stealing, nothing is actually lost here. And the government made so many legal errors while trying to prosecute him that this is just a violation of his rights.
Maybe you want the US to play world police, but I don't. Especially not if it's just to violate people's free speech rights, which our government happily ignores.