The surreal global saga pitting the entertainment industry and US law enforcement against a technology cult hero has taken a new twist. The New Zealand judge presiding over the extradition of Kim Dotcom, the founder of file-sharing site Megaupload, has suddenly stepped down over a controversial comment about US copyright law.
The controversy began in January when Dotcom was arrested in a dramatic raid in New Zealand and the US announced it would prosecute Dotcom and Megaupload in Virginia. Since then, however, Dotcom (a German national who legally changed his name to “Kim Dotcom”) appeared to have gained the upper hand after he was released on bail and extradition proceedings slowed to a crawl. A New Zealand court has also ruled the warrants used to conduct the raid were illegal.
On Tuesday, the chief judge of the New Zealand district court that must decide if Dotcom can be extradited announced that Judge David Harvey had surrendered the case and would be replaced. The move comes after reports that Harvey said ”We have met the enemy and he is [the] U.S.” at a recent conference in relation to the current state of copyright law.