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Megaupload judge steps down

David Harvey, the New Zealand judge overseeing the extradition of Kim Dotcom to the United States has recused himself from the case

Judge_David_HarveyKim Dotcom, one of Managing IP’s 50 most influential people in IP, is the founder of Megaupload, the cloud storage service shut down earlier this year by the US government. The United States has brought criminal copyright infringement charges against Dotcom and other company executives, claiming that they knowingly allowed and encouraged users to use the site for infringement. The US wants to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand, where he is domiciled.

According to the National Business Review, Judge Harvey was speaking at the NetHui conference in New Zealand. In a discussion about the effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement on IP issues such as DVD region locking, he reportedly said: “We have met the enemy, and he is the US”.

The Chief Judge of the district court, Jan-Marie Doogue, told the press that Judge Harvey stepped down of his own accord, “recognis(ing) that remarks made in the context of a paper he delivered on copyright law at a recent internet conference could reflect on his impartiality”.

Kim_DotcomThe flamboyant Dotcom has been making headlines since persuading the New Zealand courts to relax the terms of his bail. He has announced that he will release a dance album to pay his legal fees, used Twitter to mock the charges levelled against him, and accused US Vice-President Joe Biden of personally ordering Megaupload’s shutdown.

To see Managing IP’s complete Top 50 list for 2012, click here.

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