Labour joins dots on PM's dinner and Dotcom

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 05:00 05/10/2012
SHOWTIME: John Key with Simon Baker on the set of the Mentalist.
@johnkeypm/Twitter
SHOWTIME: John Key with Simon Baker on the set of the Mentalist.
John Key with director and New Zealand land owner James Cameron, right, and producer Jon Landau, left.
@JohnKeyPM/Twitter
HOLLYWOOD HEAVYWEIGHTS: John Key with director and New Zealand land owner James Cameron, right, and producer Jon Landau, left.

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Prime Minister John Key last night met the powerful Hollywood lobbyist who Kim Dotcom says pushed for the internet mogul's arrest.

Labour says it is "inconceivable" the Megaupload case would not have been raised.

Mr Key is on a schmoozing trip to Los Angeles to sell New Zealand as a destination for blockbusters.

He said earlier this week that he did not expect to discuss Dotcom. He dismissed as "fantasy" speculation authorities were pressured by the film industry to act over him.

The US wants to extradite German-born Dotcom, alleging he orchestrated the biggest copyright infringement conspiracy in its history.

Mr Key met Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) chief executive and former senator Chris Dodd at a "small dinner" at the home of Jon Landau, the business partner of Titanic and Avatar director James Cameron.

It was "a purely social occasion", a spokeswoman said.

Dotcom has accused Mr Dodd of lobbying friends in the White House "to turn me into a villain who has to be destroyed". Mr Dodd is known to be close to US Vice-President Joe Biden.

The MPAA yesterday refused to say if it would raise the Dotcom case at the meeting.

But Labour deputy leader Grant Robertson is convinced it would have. "This is the number one issue for the MPAA at the moment.

"It is inconceivable they would not want to discuss that with John Key and the only reason I can find that it wouldn't be discussed is because John Key had asked for it not to be."

A spokeswoman for Mr Key said the trip was aimed at encouraging more screen production and post-production in New Zealand.

"The prime minister has previously said he would be surprised if Kim Dotcom came up as an issue for discussion.

"As far as the prime minister's office is aware there has been no contact between New Zealand officials and MPAA in advance of the meeting.”

Mr Key touched down in LA yesterday and was quickly mingling with TV stars, including The Mentalist's Simon Baker.

He visited Warner Bros studio and was also to call on Walt Disney and Sony Pictures and meet executives from 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures. Cameron has also organised a dinner party.

The movie industry contributed $3 billion to the economy last year and Mr Key has said the focus of his trips is to create jobs.

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Dotcom and his associates Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk were arrested in January on piracy, racketeering and money-laundering charges, which they deny. US officials claim Megaupload carried about 4 per cent of the world's internet traffic.

THE MPAA ON DOTCOM

"In the Megaupload case, federal investigators tell us that the man known as Kim Dotcom and his colleagues made more than $175 million through subscription fees and online ads while robbing authors and publishers, movie makers, musicians, video game developers and other copyright holders of more than $500 million.

Some continue to argue that the debate about piracy and counterfeiting is not about the money . . . Just look at Mr Dotcom. And he is not alone."

- MPAA chief executive Chris Dodd, March 5, 2012

"The efforts by the US government to shut down Megaupload have had an immediate and positive impact on the marketplace . . . A leading example of effective international law enforcement co-ordination involves the pending case against Kim Dotcom and the rest of the Megaupload conspirators."

- Dodd, August 10

“By all estimates, Megaupload.com is the largest and most active criminally operated website targeting creative content in the world. The site generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and cost US copyright owners more than half a billion dollars."

- Dodd, Jan 19

"Megavideo.com and Megaupload.com are two of the most popular websites on the internet for streaming and downloading illicit copies of motion picture and television content . . . These websites work together and are operated by the same owner."

- MPAA vice-president Michael P O'Leary, October 26, 2011

"It is owned by an unbelievably colourful individual who is probably better known for his multiple convictions for computer fraud, embezzlement and insider trading.”

- MPAA president A Robert Pisano, November 5, 2010

- Fairfax Media

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