Megaupload pushes for dismissal of indictment
Lawyers for Megaupload in the US have filed another motion asking a federal court to dismiss the criminal case against the company
By Jeremy Kirk and Computerworld staff, Sydney | Friday, 20 July, 2012
Lawyers for Megaupload in the US filed another motion yesterday asking a federal court to dismiss its criminal case, continuing its argument that the company can't be served a summons since it was headquartered outside the US.
Megaupload wants the US District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia to hear oral arguments on its request for dismissal of the charges, which the Department of Justice (DOJ) opposes. A court date for oral arguments is set for July 27.
DOJ attorneys argued in a response released on Tuesday US time that it was "unprecedented and unjust" that Megaupload could not be served since it "purposefully avoided establishing an office in the United States." The file-sharing site is accused of encouraging users to upload material under copyright, earning upwards of US$175 million in advertising and subscription fees, the DOJ alleges.
Founder Kim Dotcom and six others were indicted in January on criminal copyright violations and fraud along with two companies, Megaupload and Vestor Limited.
Individuals located outside the US can be served a criminal summons, but Megaupload's lawyers contend a corporation cannot be served.
It is not clear what the impact of a dismissal against Megaupload as a corporate entity would have on the case. However some commentators have suggested that a dismissal of the charges against the company could force authorities around the world to return seized Megaupload-related assets, which would provide Dotcom with a substantial "war chest" for further legal action.
Dotcom, known for his prolific activity on Twitter, wrote on the social networking service earlier this month that he would voluntarily go to the US for trial if the DOJ released funds frozen when he was arrested. Dotcom has said he has been unable to pay his legal fees.