Judge overseeing Kim Dotcom’s extradition steps down

Kim Dotcom, whose file-hosting service Megaupload was shut down by the New Zealand and U.S. governments for copyright infringement at the beginning of the year, has had plenty to say about the case until now. But as he awaits news about extradition to the U.S. from New Zealand, he’s become unusually quiet.

I’m wondering if his silence is due to the fact that the judge who was overseeing his extradition case to the U.S. has stepped down — presumably making Dotcom’s future a bit more tremulous.

The New Zealand Herald is reporting that Judge David Harvey, who was overseeing the extradition case, has removed himself after voicing his opinions on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement that could be expanded to make circumventing a DVD’s region code illegal. And for those of you who don’t know what region codes are, they are codes that allow certain DVDs to work only within certain countries to limit piracy.

Harvey, who previously looked favorably on Dotcom, referred to the U.S. as the enemy for its part in upholding silly matters of copyright law internationally. In this instance, it had to do with DVD region codes, but obviously those comments could paint him as biased in the case, which is why he decided to step down.

“Under TPP and the American Digital Millennium copyright provisions you will not be able to do that, that will be prohibited… if you do you will be a criminal – that’s what will happen,” Harvey said, adding, “We have met the enemy and he is [the] U.S.”

Harvey was previously responsible for reinstating Dotcom’s Internet access based on good behavior. He also allowed him to visit a recording studio to finish his politically charged hip-hop album, as VentureBeat previously reported back in April.

Photo illustration: Jolie O’Dell/VentureBeat