Following in the footsteps of the U.S. Government, this month the major record labels and Hollywood’s top movie studios filed lawsuits against Megaupload, Kim Dotcom, and his colleagues.
The respective cases are strikingly similar and all built on the same evidence. The RIAA and MPAA repeat many of the claims that were laid out in the criminal case, and each demand millions of dollars in damages.
However, the fact that the suits all deal with the same issue is a problem according to Megaupload’s legal team. If the civil cases brought by the movie and music industries move ahead, this may directly influence the position of Dotcom and his colleagues in the criminal case.
In a motion for a stay, the lawyers ask the court to freeze both civil cases pending the criminal proceedings. They argue that the accused may otherwise be forced to implicate themselves, which would violate their rights.
“A stay is warranted here to avoid burdening the Fifth Amendment rights of the individual defendants,” Megaupload’s lawyers write.
“During pleading, discovery, and trial, these individual defendants cannot be forced to risk implicating themselves in the crimes alleged in the Criminal Action in order to provide a defense to Megaupload in the civil case,” they add.
The lawyers ask to freeze the cases until August 1, when the two-week extradition hearing in New Zealand has reached its conclusion. Megaupload previously requested the same in their civil case against Microhits, with success. If the criminal case continues after the extradition hearing, the lawyers will most likely ask to extend the stay.
According to Megaupload lawyer Ira Rothken the criminal case may be over sooner than later.
TorrentFreak previously spoke to Rothken who believes that these RIAA and MPAA cases might show that the entertainment industries and the U.S. Government have little faith in the criminal proceedings.
In any case, Megaupload’s legal troubles, civil or criminal, are expected to drag on for years.