Music Company Asks For Permission To Pursue Its Delayed Civil Suit Against Megaupload; States Extradition 'May Never Occur'
from the when-even-the-'good-guys'-are-getting-sick-of-the-endless-delays... dept
Microhits, one of two copyright holders who filed civil suits against Megaupload two months after after the FBI raid on Dotcom's home, has just requested it be allowed to move forward on its civil lawsuit as it feels the DOJ's case is taking too long to proceed.
Microhits has asked the United States courts to stop delaying its case against Megaupload until the extradition issue is resolved - because it might never happen.Microhits, whose catalog includes Christina Aguilera, Rod Stewart, Marvin Gaye and Dr. Dre, had its original filing put on hold for six months to allow the US to proceed with its case, something the DOJ doesn't seem to be in any hurry to do. Megaupload's legal defense requested these two civil suits be put on hold for a number of reasons, while mentioning the close resemblance between Microhit's filing and the US government's indictment.
New papers filed with the US district court in Virginia say the extradition is "a mere possible future event but indeed an event which may in fact never occur."
In its motion, Megaupload said the civil suit allegations "appear to be copied verbatim" from the indictment filed in January. If the civil suit progressed in parallel with the criminal case, Megaupload's defendants may be forced to assert their Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination but then waive it as part of the civil case, the motion said.As it stands now, extradition hearings won't begin for another 8 months, and Microhit is worried it may never get to directly pursue Megaupload -- and that Megaupload may have its money safely out of reach by the time it gets the green light.
"This would be an unfair burden on their constitutional rights," the document contends.
Further, Megaupload argued it is broke, as its assets were frozen in January. The company has been asking the U.S. government to unfreeze some funds in order to pay for the preservation of upwards of 28 petabytes of data stored on the service and needed for the legal cases.
Microhits also pointed to the potential loss of any damages. They said Mr Dotcom had posted messages on his Twitter account in which he wrote about his new Mega business. In the posts, Microhits said he had "openly avowed to move their assets and operations out of reach of the United States".Megaupload's lawyers fired back, stating that its assets weren't even under Dotcom's control at this point.
They said the US Government had seized the assets and were "doling out limited amounts for living expenses and foreign counsel".
"Defendants' assets are still sequestered and no amount of tweets and blog-posts will 'un-freeze them' - that requires a court order."
Mr Dotcom's team said facing the civil action would be difficult because of no access to seized funds, seizure of books and records and no access to the former Megaupload servers. The FBI has copied parts of the servers and wanted to delete the rest.So, even if Microhits receives the go-ahead, its options are greatly restricted by the DOJ's previous actions against Megaupload. Microhits does have a point, though -- this case has dragged on far too long with very little progress being made by the prosecution. At this point, it almost looks as though the DOJ has settled in for a war of attrition -- one that will slowly bleed Dotcom, keeping his assets frozen, his business closed and any evidence contained on Megaupload's servers in the control of people who can't seem to decide whether to keep it or destroy it.
The longer this drags on, the less likely it seems that the DOJ has a strong case. But, as has been demonstrated by other site seizures, it really doesn't seem to matter whether there's a winnable case behind the shutdowns. Entities like the DOJ and FBI that are more than willing to seize first and ask questions later are probably not the kind that will step aside and let a civil suit take precedence. Microhits is going to find itself empathizing with Megaupload, as delay after delay push any sort of resolution back across the horizon.