MegaUpload judge quits case following ‘enemy’ comments

By Zack Whittaker

After making remarks critical of the U.S. government’s attempts to strengthen international copyright law, the judge at the center of MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom’s extradition proceedings has stepped down from the case.

New Zealand Judge David Harvey called the U.S. government “the enemy” at a conference this week. He has now made the decision to remove himself from the case, according to the New Zealand Herald.

“He recognizes that remarks made in the context of a paper he delivered on copyright law at a recent Internet conference could reflect on his impartiality and that the appropriate response is for him to step down from the case,” the district court’s chief judge, Jan-Marie Doogue, said in the Herald.

The judge’s comments were made in relation to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a deal described by the Electronic Frontier Foundation as “a secretive, multi-nation trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property laws across the globe.” The U.S. is pushing for New Zealand and others to adopt tougher copyright restrictions as part of the agreement.

Dotcom remains in New Zealand as he battles extradition to the United States on criminal charges.

The case will now be heard in March 2013 by Judge Nevin Dawson, who has previously heard parts of the case and made the decision to grant DotCom bail earlier this year.