US Continues To Try To Block Megaupload From Using Its Lawyers, Pretends It Has Jurisdiction Over The World
by Mike Masnick
Following some filings by Megaupload's lawyers in the US, the US Attorneys office has shot back, asking the court to deny all of the company's requests. And, it goes even further than that: seeking to deny Megaupload the ability to use the topnotch lawyers it hired. This part is not new. Back in April, it sought to block Megaupload from hiring Andrew Schapiro from Quinn Emanuel, arguing that there's a "conflict of interest" because the DOJ argues that YouTube is a "victim" of Megaupload and could be a witness -- and Schapiro has represented and continues to represent YouTube in the Viacom case. Quinn Emanuel has also done some work for Hollywood. The thing is, big law firms like Quin Emanuel have a pretty detailed process to check for conflicts of interest, and assuming that Quinn Emanuel and its clients are okay with things, then how is it the government's place to complain other than out of some sort of childish desire to deny Megaupload the best legal representation it can find. The more we view the DOJ's actions in this and related cases, the more it becomes clear that they have a tendency to act like a bunch of little playschool children in these sorts of legal fights.
Separately, the government tries to reject the argument that Megaupload has made -- and which a New Zealand US judge has found compelling -- that for criminal proceeding to take place against a foreign company, that company needs to be served. However, since the law only allows for service on US addresses, Megaupload reasonably argues that it cannot be served (note: this only applies to the company as a defendant -- the individuals who were charged separately are a different issue). But the government argues this is crazy talk, and it's main argument is basically just to claim that such a reading of the law is absurd... and to say that it's fine to serve company officials once they're extradited to the US. In other words: "we're the US, bitch, and as long as we can extradite people here, we can sue their companies too, so shut up." The sense of entitlement in being able to bring criminal charges against foreign entities is astounding.
The US Attorneys also play some games with the filing itself, claiming that Megaupload cannot make such filings until the defendants appear in the court. In fact, they claim that by fighting extradition, Megauploads' execs count as "fugitives" from the law, and thus cannot file motions with the court. Of course, that's ridiculous. The whole point of filing these motions is to help show that the entire case is frivolous and that the extradition requests are excessive and unnecessary. For the US to respond to that by saying that such arguments can only be made after extradition is an argument that makes no sense. It's basically saying that they can only fight extradition after they've been extradited.
All in all, the arguments here are similar to the DOJ's arguments against letting Megaupload users get back their data. Basically, the DOJ was insanely over aggressive in shutting down Megaupload, creating a huge mess... Now, it's lashing out at anyone who seeks to fix a small piece of the mess, basically by saying that the mess has nothing to do with the DOJ's own actions.
Honestly, from the outside looking in, it sure looks like the DOJ is realizing just how weak its case is here, and is simply lashing out at anyone it can.
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