Megaupload Loses Bid To Junk U.S. Copyright Criminal Action

By Joseph Mandour on October 9, 2012

download Los Angeles – The online media storage and download service Megaupload Ltd. failed on Friday in its attempts to convince a Virginia federal judge to dismiss the U.S. government’s criminal copyright infringement charges against the company and its notorious founder Kim Dotcom.

The government alleges the company minted millions of dollars in profits on the back of a massive copyright infringement scheme. Megaupload had asked Judge Liam O’Grady to throw out the case because the New Zealand-based company lacks a “last known address” within the Eastern District of Virginia or a principal place of business elsewhere in the U.S.

But the federal procedural rules regarding service of summonses for defendants named in indictments do not require a result as extreme as dismissal, and no court has ever dismissed an indictment for failure to meet the rules’ secondary mailing requirement, Judge O’Grady ruled. He declared it premature to dismiss the indictment at the current juncture.

“It is doubtful that Congress would stamp with approval a procedural rule permitting a foreign corporate defendant to intentionally violate the laws of this country, yet evade the jurisdiction of United States courts by purposefully failing to establish an address here,” the judge said.

Upon extradition, the government could delivery a copy of the summons to the individual defendants in the case including Dotcom, officers of Megaupload who are legally authorized to receive service of prcess, according to the judge. Dotcom’s extradition hearing is currently on track to take place in March.

Because Megaupload leased over 500 web servers in the Eastern District of Virginia, among other actions it took in the U.S., the government argued that the court can exercise jurisdiction over the company.

The government indicted Dotcom, Megaupload and seven others in January in one of the largest criminal copyright cases ever brought in the U.S.

The indictment alleges that Megaupload, Dotcom and the others were members of the “Mega Conspiracy,” a worldwide criminal organization whose members engaged in criminal copyright infringement and money laundering on a massive scale with an estimated harm to copyright holders in excess of $500 million.

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