Music and movie giants have joined forces to freeze Kim
Dotcom's assets, but they'll have to negotiate conditions
Lawyers appeared at the High Court in Auckland today on
behalf of four music industry companies and six Hollywood
film studios seeking to have Dotcom's assets frozen ahead of
their claim against him.
The record labels are understood to be Warner Music, UMG
Recordings, Sony Music and Capitol Records, while the film
companies are 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal,
Columbia Pictures and Warner Brothers.
The companies say the now defunct file sharing website
Megaupload and its key operators, including Dotcom,
facilitated, encouraged and profited from massive copyright
infringement and want Dotcom's New Zealand assets to remain
frozen while their case is under way.
Lawyers appearing for Mr Dotcom and his wife Mona said the
estranged pair were prepared to maintain the current freeze,
but the companies needed to offer security first.
Mr Dotcom's lawyer Robert Gapes said the companies should put
up $NZ250,000 ($A232,742) for Mr Dotcom, and a further
$NZ250,000 for Mrs Dotcom.
Mark Gavin, who appeared for Warner Music Group, questioned
the basis of the $250,000 figure while Matthew Sumpter, who
appeared for the film companies, said there was no evidence
of any suffering or loss to Mr Dotcom.
But Justice John Fogarty said the amount was "peanuts" for
such wealthy clients, and said the Dotcoms could suffer
damages by having their capital tied up.
"We're talking very small change here."
He asked the parties to negotiate the conditions of the
freeze. If they can't sort it out themselves, they'll be back
in court later this month.
In April, an application to extend restraining orders on
Dotcom's assets - including cars, jewellery and other
property - that have been in place since his arrest in
January 2012 was declined.
However, the Crown, on behalf of the US government, appealed
the decision to allow Dotcom to get his assets back.
That hearing is due to be held on July 30, and lawyers for
the studios want to have their separate application to have
Dotcom's assets frozen in relation to their civil case to be
heard beforehand, probably in mid-July.
The US government wants to extradite Dotcom, who was arrested
in New Zealand on its behalf, so he can face copyright
infringement, money laundering and racketeering charges
relating to Megaupload.
Ongoing court battles have meant the extradition hearing has
been delayed a number of times.