Dotcom released

Megaupload's Dotcom released on bail

Kim Dotcom, the founder of website Megaupload.com, has been released on bail in New Zealand as he awaits a decision on whether he will be extradited to the U.S. to face charges including copyright infringement.

Mr. Dotcom was granted bail Wednesday morning. In a written statement, District Court Judge Neil Dawson argued that with satisfactory bail conditions, concerns that Mr. Dotcom would flee could be alleviated as it no longer seemed he had access to significant resources.

"All known assets have been seized and are unavailable for Dotcom's use or disposal. No new assets or accounts of any significance have been revealed since his arrest," wrote Judge Dawson.

Mr. Dotcom was named in a Federal Bureau of Investigation indictment in January as the founder and, until last year, chief executive of Megaupload.

A U.S. lawyer for Megaupload, Ira P. Rothken, said his current understanding is that conditions of bail are going to include no use of Mr. Dotcom's helicopter and that his house will have no Internet access.

Mr. Dotcom's release "is a very important development for the defense," said Mr. Rothken. "It will allow Kim to participate in his own defense in a more focused manner."

Judge Dawson said it was unlikely the extradition hearing would happen before the end of May and was more likely not to happen before July.

U.S. authorities claim Megaupload Ltd., based in Hong Kong, and its collection of websites generated more than $175 million in criminal proceeds and caused more than half a billion dollars in harm to copyright owners.

Megaupload, and similar online storage sites known as cyberlockers, have many legitimate uses, such as allowing people to share large presentation files and home movies.

(Published by WSJ - February 22, 2012)

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