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Prosecutors claim MegaUpload had enough US connections to face American criminal law

By | Published on Tuesday 17 July 2012


Government representatives in the US have told a court in Virginia that MegaUpload had plenty of business connections with America, and therefore the company should be made to face criminal charges in the country, even though it was incorporated in Hong Kong.

As previously reported, the US government wants to prosecute both MegaUpload and its key executives for alleged copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering. But legal reps for MegaUpload and its founder Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz claim that as the Mega corporate entity was based in Hong Kong, criminal proceedings cannot be filed against it. And while the US could still go after the MegaUpload boss directly, Dotcom’s lawyers say the charges against their client are not sufficient to justify extradition from New Zealand, where he currently resides.

But last week, in a filing with the Virginian court, prosecutors said that MegaUpload had plenty of connections with America, and therefore is subject to US criminal law. The filing notes that the firm rented vast amounts of server space in the States (which was how US officials were able to shut the MegaUpload site down), that it utilised American financial services companies like PayPal, and that it had large numbers of American customers.

It adds that MegaUpload’s own terms of service were self-proclaimed to be “governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the State Of California”, and that when the digital firm was annoyed at Universal Music having its promotional ‘Mega Song’ taken down off YouTube last year, it chose to sue through the US courts. That it didn’t have an actual legal address in America, the prosecutors concluded, was just a technicality.

The court filing concluded: “It appears that defendant MegaUpload, for its own convenience, would subject itself and its users to the jurisdiction of courts in the United States, even as the company now argues that it cannot be brought before a federal court to face criminal charges”.

As previously reported, Dotcom recently said he would voluntarily go to the US to face the charges against him and his company providing the American authorities guaranteed him bail, and gave him access to frozen Mega funds to pay for legal fees. Though the offer was made via Twitter.