Megaupload.com asked for dismissal of U.S. criminal charges that the file-sharing website illegally distributed copyrighted movies and music in a $175 million copyright conspiracy.
Megaupload Limited, as a foreign corporation without offices in the U.S., can’t be prosecuted for violations of the country’s law, the company said in a filing yesterday in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia.
“In short, a corporation such as Megaupload cannot be brought within the jurisdiction of this court for criminal proceedings absent its consent,” the company said in court papers.
Megaupload.com and founder Kim Dotcom, 38, were indicted in what U.S. prosecutors dubbed a “Mega Conspiracy” involving the exchange of pirated film, music, book and software files. The company and Dotcom were charged with multiple criminal copyright and wire fraud counts, according to a revised indictment issued in February. Dotcom faces as long as 20 years in prison for each of the racketeering and money-laundering charges in the indictment.
Dotcom was arrested at his residence in New Zealand in late January and spent four weeks in jail before being released to await an extradition hearing, currently scheduled for Aug. 20.
A New Zealand court on May 29 granted Dotcom access to Federal Bureau of Investigation files that led to his arrest. Judge David Harvey in that case ruled that withholding the information could threaten Dotcom’s right to a fair trial, according to a copy of the ruling e-mailed to Bloomberg News. The U.S. government opposed the disclosure.
In a separate May 29 court ruling, German-born Dotcom was allowed to return to his leased luxury mansion in an Auckland suburb after his bail terms were relaxed.
Alisa Finelli, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department, declined to comment on Megaupload’s court filing.
The case is U.S. v. Dotcom, 12-cr-00003, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria).