The United States want New Zealand to extradite Kim Dotcom and his colleagues but this process has been delayed several times already. Earlier this month the extradition hearing was postponed again until February next year.
Fearing that these cases might influence the criminal case, Megaupload’s legal team successfully obtained a freeze on them until this summer, when the extradition hearing was originally scheduled for. Now that this has been delayed until next year, Megaupload wants to place the MPAA and RIAA cases on hold until April 2015.
In a new motion for a stay, the lawyers ask the court to freeze both civil cases because the accused may otherwise be forced to implicate themselves, which would violate their rights.
“The individual Defendants still face extradition, and therefore still have an interest in preserving the Fifth Amendment rights that arise from the prosecution of the Criminal Action,” the motion reads.
There’s also a more practical concern. Since the U.S. Government refuses to provide access to the raided servers, it may be difficult to access evidence that’s crucial to build a proper defense.
“Relevant evidence that is electronically stored on servers, which would be needed to defend the civil cases, is not reasonably accessible. As a result of the Criminal Action, the Megaupload cloud-storage servers have been taken offline and are housed in a locked third-party warehouse in Virginia,” Megaupload’s lawyers write.
“The Department of Justice has opposed Megaupload’s efforts to gain access to those servers and data. Standard civil e-discovery protocols would typically include accessing and “mirroring” the original servers so that the resultant copies may used to analyze the data contained therein. At present, that cannot be done,” they add.
If the court grants the request then it will take another year before there’s any progress in the civil cases against Megaupload. The movie and music studios didn’t object to the previous freezing request, but they may be running out of patience soon.