Megaupload Founder Causes Uproar Over Lawyer Choice
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is finding that the now-shuttered file-sharing website he ran isn't the only thing that rubbed the U.S. government the wrong way -- his choice of legal representation has, too.
Sun, April 15, 2012
PC World — Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is finding that the now-shuttered file-sharing website he ran isn't the only thing that rubbed the U.S. government the wrong way -- his choice of legal representation has, too.
At issue is whether there is a conflict of interest.
Megaupload recently hired high-profile attorney Andrew Schapiro to defend itself, yet because of his firm's participation in cases involving Google, YouTube, Disney, Fox and other movie, TV show and software companies, the government is crying foul, saying it plans to call as witnesses some of these companies in the Megaupload case, according to TorrentFreak.
YouTube, for instance, is listed as a victim in the indictment against Megaupload. Schapiro led YouTube to a summary judgment in a copyright trial against Viacom, a battle that is ongoing since that judgment was recently reversed.
And Google, which also has been represented by Schapiro's firm, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, supposedly withdrew its AdSense service from Megaupload because of copyright concerns.
"It is unclear how Quinn Emanuel intends to zealously represent defendants Megaupload Limited and Kim Dotcom while also protecting confidential attorney-client information gained in the course of representing other clients, ... particularly where those clients interests are directly opposed to those of the defendants," the government wrote.
Schapiro's firm wrote a rebuttal decrying the government's meddling.
"[I]f the government is to have its way in this case, the only lawyers before the court will be those representing the government," the firm said. "If the government is to have its way, the only evidence available to the court would be that cherry-picked by the government, for the government, from the universe of relevant servers slated to be wiped. If the government is to have its way, in sum, Megaupload will never get its day in court and the case will effectively be over before it has even begun."
[See also: How Megaupload Got to be a Pirate Poster Boy]
Besides the tussle over who should represent Megaupload, there's a big legal question about what to do with the tens of millions of files that were stored on Megaupload.com. That's because several groups are fighting over who should or should not maintain 1,100 servers that house the files, including Web hosting provider Carpathia Hosting which says it is shelling out $37,000 a month to maintain the servers.
The Department of Justice, which says it has all the evidence it needs against Megauplad, doesn't want the servers and the potential cost of tens of millions of dollars as the case moves forward.