Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

Music industry joins up Dotcom asset freeze bid

The music industry has joined up with the movie studios in a bid to freeze the assets of Kim Dotcom.  Photo / Greg Bowker
The music industry has joined up with the movie studios in a bid to freeze the assets of Kim Dotcom. Photo / Greg Bowker

Recording companies have followed the movie studios' lead and are also seeking freezing orders over Kim Dotcom's assets, the High Court at Auckland heard this morning.

Major movie studios and records labels are both suing Dotcom and his associates.

20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros claim Dotcom-founded Megaupload and its key operators "facilitated, encouraged, and profited from massive copyright infringement of movies and television shows" before it was shut down in 2012.

They have filed a lawsuit against Dotcom, Megaupload, majority shareholder Vester Ltd, chief technical officer Mathias Ortmann, and programmer Bram van der Kolk.

The studios claim the defendants generated more than US$175 million in illicit profits and cost US copyright owners more than half a billion dollars.

The movie studios are seeking profits and damages from the defendants.

Four major US record labels - Warner Music Group, UMG Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment and Capital Records - are also suing Dotcom and his associates in an almost identical suit

The movie studios are now seeking freezing orders against Dotcom in the High Court, it was reported last week.

During a brief hearing in the High Court at Auckland this morning it was revealed that the recording companies are also seeking to freeze Dotcom assets.

The respondents were yesterday served with papers in the recording companies case, the court heard.

A lawyer representing the recording companies, Mark Gavin, indicated his clients' freezing application should be heard at the same time as the one brought by the movie studios.

Movie studios' lawyer Matt Sumpter told Justice John Fogarty there was some urgency needed with the freezing application as existing foreign restraining orders over Dotcom's assets could expire depending on a Court of Appeal hearing at the end of July.

Sumpter said he would like the freezing order application to happen before then. This application could take up to three days.

While Sumpter wanted timetabling orders for the freezing application issued this morning, Justice Fogarty adjourned the matter until next Monday so it could be called at the same time as the recording companies case.

- NZ Herald

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