Megaupload pushes for dismissal of indictment

Megaupload contends it can't be served a criminal summon since it did not have an office in the U.S.

Lawyers for Megaupload filed another motion on Wednesday 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 U.S.

Megaupload wants the U.S. 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 Tuesday 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 U.S. 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.

The closely watched court battle took a surprising turn earlier this week when a New Zealand judge recused himself from further extradition hearings involving Kim Dotcom and his colleagues.

North Shore District Court Judge David Harvey was reported to have made a comment referring to the U.S. as an "enemy" during copyright and trade talks last week at the NetHui Internet conference held in Auckland. The extradition hearing, planned for August, has been rescheduled for March 2013.

Dotcom, known for his prolific activity on Twitter, wrote on the social networking service earlier this month that he would voluntarily go to the U.S. for trial if the DOJ released funds frozen when he was arrested. Dotcom has said he has been unable to pay his legal fees.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com

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