U.S government attempts to silence Megaupload’s lawyers
Lawyers representing the six major Hollywood studios, the United States government and Megaupload met in District Judge Liam O’Grady’s courtroom on Friday, CNET reported. The appearance pertains to digital files belonging to as many as 60 million people throughout the world that are stored on Megaupload’s 1,100 servers. The files are currently located on servers owned by Carpathia Hosting, which is now housing them at its own expense, however the company is looking to delete the information or possibly sell off the servers. Carpathia claims the cost of hosting the data is a financial burden and has asked the court for relief. The U.S. government in January arrested and charged Megaupload’s founder Kim Dotcom, along with six others, with racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering. But before the trial even starts, the first order of business will be to determine whether Megaupload’s lawyers will be allowed to address the court.
Government officials have argued that Ira Rothken, the lawyer in charge of the company’s defense, and his law firm Quinn Emanuel, should not be allowed to represent Megaupload in court. Schapiro’s past record in copyright cases has come into question and it may pose a possible conflict of interest. The law firm represented Google and YouTube after Viacom filed a copyright suit against them in 2007, and YouTube managers may testify as witnesses against Megaupload.
The government also claimed that in order to reclaim the data, Megaupload will need more of its money that was seized, and officials are opposed to the idea of releasing more of the company’s funds. Rothken argues that all parties are in agreement over Megaupload’s data, however, and they believe it should be preserved. The Electronic Frontier Foundation would like to see the court return the data to its rightful owners and even the Motion Picture Association of America wants to preserve the information for possible legal action in the future.