A senior executive from the Motion Picture Association of America has labelled Megaupload millionaire Kim Dotcom a "career criminal" as a United States court prepares to hear its first defence to the copyright case.
Marc Miller, MPAA's Senior Vice President for internet content protection, and a former prosecutor himself, held a briefing on the upcoming hearing for reporters today.
The hearing, to be held on Friday (Saturday, NZ time) in Alexandria, Virginia, will deal with a motion brought by Dotcom's defence team to dismiss Megaupload, Ltd as a defendant in the case.
Dotcom's lawyers say there is no ability for the court to remotely charge the Hong-Kong registered company with a crime.
If upheld, the motion could see charges against Megaupload being thrown out and the company's assets unfrozen.
However, Miller said that even if the court accepts the motion to dismiss the charges against the company, the individual defendants, including Dotcom himself, would still be left to face the raft of copyright, money laundering and racketeering charges leveled against them by the US Government.
He was confident the case would still go ahead, pointing out large copyright cases often involved significant procedural issues.
Asked what view he had on Dotcom's growing status as a public figure for internet freedom, Miller responded that the case was not about "internet freedom or the internet writ large".
"This is a criminal case involving a criminal enterprise that was conducted on a large scale as detailed in the indictment by the government," he said.
He said Megaupload was a business model founded on using the creative works of others and monetising around other peoples' content.
"Creative tweets aside and social media aside this case is truly about a criminal enterprise involving a career criminal who has been convicted at least three times previously for criminal offences," he said.
"I believe those facts are true and bear mentioning."
Asked about perceived kinks in the New Zealand side of the case - the extradition - Miller said it did not bear reading into.
No evidence had been excluded from the case yet, he said.
The case will be heard in Virginia tomorrow. Dotcom and his three associates were arrested in a police raid in New Zealand in January. They were eventually bailed and are now awaiting the extradition hearing in March.
- © Fairfax NZ News