- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2015

As a judge in New Zealand wrestles over whether to extradite the executives of defunct file-storage site Megaupload to the United States, a court ruling in Virginia has postponed civil proceedings against Kim Dotcom and company until at least April 2016.

U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady for the Eastern District of Virginia approved this week a request for a stay filed in a case brought by the Recording Industry Association of America, or RIAA. A similar decision is expected soon in a related case brought by another Hollywood trade group, the Motion Picture Association of America.

In granting Megaupload’s request for a stay, Judge O’Grady has agreed to put a hold on RIAA’s civil claim for six months. Proceedings are now slated to start on April 1, according to a court order filed Tuesday.

The website’s former executives — including Mr. Dotcom, a German-born Internet tycoon, and colleagues Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk — are currently awaiting to hear whether or not a judge in Auckland will have the men sent to the U.S. to stand trial for charges of wide-scale copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering. Justice Nevin Dawson is expected to make a determination later this month.

By agreeing to stay civil claims until next spring, Megaupload won’t risk having that case’s outcome influence a potential criminal trial in the U.S. if the individuals are in fact sent to America, Torrent Freak reported

Federal prosecutors in Virginia said Megaupload managed to cost Hollywood an estimated $500 million by providing a website where large files, like motion pictures and entire albums, could be shared online for free.

The Department of Justice had the site shut down in January 2012 in tandem with a federal indictment and helped coordinate the arrests of the members of the so-called “Mega Conspiracy” who have fought extradition efforts ever since.

A former programmer for the website, Andrus Nomm, surrender to U.S. authorities earlier this year after agreeing to a plea deal that includes a 366-day prison sentence.

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