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Megaupload demands piracy case is thrown out

Lawyers representing Kim Dotcom and his file hosting service Megaupload have asked a federal US court to dismiss the criminal copyright charges brought against their client by the US government.

The company claimed the United States has no jurisdiction over the Hong-Kong based cloud-storage service as it has never operated a US office. In the words of the lawyers' motion to dismiss, this means, "Service of a criminal summons on Megaupload is therefore impossible".

The motion, lodged yesterday with the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, also argues the company cannot be held legally responsible for the copyright infringement committed by its users. The attorney leading the defence, Ira Rothken, bullishly said "there is no such thing as criminal secondary copyright infringement".

But the U.S. government's indictment claims that Megaupload was more than a neutral bystander to the illegal conduct of its users. The government alleges that the whole structure of Megaupload was designed to facilitate copyright infringement and reward users who uploaded popular movies and TV shows for public consumption.

Megaupload's flamboyant founder Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz, has been dismayed at the case's handling from the off and refused to hand over passwords to his computers that were seized during a raid from the authorities.

Sources: Cnet, Bloomberg.