High Technology Litigation, Business Transactions,
& Class Actions
Featured Current Events
60 Minutes Interview of Ira Rothken by Bob Simon regarding government abuse of Kim Dotcom
Read what Steve Wozniak thinks about Kim Dotcom and the Megaupload case in this CNET News.com article
Bloomberg Interview with Ira P. Rothken on the Megaupload/Kim Dotcom case discussing Court Order finding illegal government conduct
Our firm emphasizes intellectual property litigation (including trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights, and patents), internet law, startups, complex business litigation, class actions, videogame law, business law, employment litigation, consumer protection litigation, and personal injury/tort litigation. We are actively involved in cutting edge electronic discovery ("e-discovery") matters and Ira P. Rothken is an active member of the Sedona Conference and maintains a blog at Moredata.com on electronic discovery and evidence issues for legal professionals. Here is a CNET News Story Profiling Ira P. Rothken's Career Protecting Internet Technology Companies.
We Have Assisted in the Startup of Some of the Most Successful E-Commerce and Electronic Entertainment Companies in the World
In addition to our robust litigation practice we assist electronic entertainment, high technology, and e-commerce companies in their business, startup, and legal transactions. For example, since the inception of the "commercialized" internet in the mid 1990s, we have represented some of the largest and most successful web sites in the world on a huge range of matters from startup issues to risk reduction strategies to e-commerce policies and agreements. In many instances we were called upon to handle issues where there was no clear precedent and thus we had to innovate a solution.
We have also helped start numerous successful electronic entertainment and videogame companies including Nihilistic Software, Pandemic Games, Telltale, and Arenanet. Ira P. Rothken, a member of IGDA, has spoken multiple times on how to start a videogame development company at the Computer Game Developers Conference (CGDC). Here is a sample of videogame development transactions in which we assisted our clients:
Megaupload Files Reply Brief in Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Asking for Reversal of Fugitive Disentitlement
Megaupload, Kim Dotcom, and others filed their reply brief today in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals urging the Court to reverse the trial court's finding of "Fugitive Disentitlement."
Here is an excerpt from the reply brief:
"The government asks this Court to affirm a forfeiture order that is purely advisory, was justified only by Claimants’ exercise of their right to oppose extradition, and was obtained without any opportunity to contest the government’s case on the merits. Our justice system requires more. Claimants have not been convicted of any crime, have not fled the jurisdiction, and have not been extradited. They stand ready to defend their property—located entirely in countries that have refused to enforce the U.S. forfeiture orders. But without considering the merits, the district court declared that property forfeited. That order contravenes fundamental jurisdictional requirements, statutory commands, and due process..."
Read the full reply brief.
Megaupload submitted a brief to the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Virginia on August 24th, 2015 asking to specially appear, to prevent destruction of Megaupload's server data so that it can be used as crucial defense evidence in pending civil and criminal copyright cases.
Megaupload also supports reasonable consumer access to legacy cloud storage data.
Below is an excerpt from the Megaupload brief.
Megaupload, Kim Dotcom, and other interested parties filed their opening appellate brief today in Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals opposing the United States DOJ's attempt to use the Fugitive Disentitlement Doctrine as a procedural method of taking all of Kim Dotcom's and the other Megaupload parties' assets prior to trial and without any hearing on the merits of the underlying criminal claims.
According to Megaupload Appellate Counsel Michael Elkin from Winston & Strawn “the Megaupload defendants were branded by the DOJ as 'fugitives' for lawfully fighting extradition in New Zealand (where they reside with their families). The district court's denial of their basic rights to defend against asset forfeiture under a 'fugitive disentitlement' doctrine amounts to a violation of basic due process and we filed a brief today with the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to reverse the injustice visited upon Megaupload and others who have been impacted by the Government's overreach."
According to Ira Rothken, Lead Global Counsel for Kim Dotcom and Megaupload “with our appeal today we are asking the Fourth Circuit to rule in favor of fairness, natural justice, and due process by stopping US efforts to take Kim Dotcom's global assets for doing nothing more than lawfully opposing extradition to the United States—a country he has never been to. The DOJ in our view is trying to abuse the Fugitive Disentitlement Doctrine by modifying it into an offensive weapon of asset forfeiture to punish those who fight extradition under lawful treaties, and a provocation for international discord. Today we ask the Court of Appeals for justice.”
Megaupload and Kim Dotcom filed their opening appellate brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals today - here is an excerpt below:
In a separate criminal case, the government indicted several foreign defendants on copyright-related allegations. Instead of following typical extradition procedures—bringing the defendants to the United States pursuant to international law and then proving its case at trial before seeking forfeiture—the government took a much more aggressive approach. It brought this civil forfeiture case against foreign property owned by the defendants and others (collectively, “Claimants”) and, relying on the seldom-used “fugitive disentitlement” statute, argued that the owners’ claims to their foreign property should be stricken and the property immediately forfeited. According to the government, Claimants’ participation in extradition proceedings—and failure to immediately leave their homes, families, and busi- nesses to travel to the United States—rendered them “fugitives” seeking “to avoid ... prosecution.” 28 U.S.C. §2466(a)(1) (Addendum-A-2).
Accepting this argument, the district court disentitled Claimants from defending their rights to their property, based solely on their “non-appearance” in the separate criminal case and the government’s allegation that they are thereby “fugitives.” Without any hearing on the merits, the court then adjudged the property— all located abroad—immediately forfeited. In so doing, however, the court committed several reversible errors.
For starters, this Court’s precedent makes control over the defendant property a prerequisite to exercising in rem jurisdiction, and the district court lacked control over this foreign property. Further, the Claimants are foreign citizens and residents who would not be in the United States regardless of the criminal case. Yet, relying on both a misreading of §2466’s intent requirement and an improper assessment of an undeveloped evidentiary record, the court held that Claimants’ intent necessarily was “to avoid prosecution.” Finally, even if these hurdles could be overcome, allowing the government to seize Claimants’ property without an adversarial hearing would be unconstitutional. Claimants have been convicted of no crime; they are asserting established procedural and substantive rights abroad; and the government has never proved that their property should be forfeited.
In sum, the decision below upsets fundamental jurisdictional principles, misapplies the fugitive disentitlement statute, and violates both due process and the Supremacy Clause. If affirmed, that decision would hand the government unprecedented power. By stacking allegations of fugitive status on top of allegations of forfeitability, the government would obtain a roving worldwide license to indict residents of foreign countries who have never lived or worked in the United States and to take their foreign property—all without proving any wrongdoing. That is not how our justice system works. The judgments below should be vacated and the case either dismissed or remanded for trial on the merits...
Meet Ira P. Rothken
Ira P. Rothken, founder of the Rothken Law Firm, has written for the Home Office Computing/Small Business Computing Magazine "Legal Matters" Column. Mr. Rothken has written numerous articles on protecting small businesses and the laws of "e-commerce." Mr. Rothken has appeared as a guest legal expert on television and radio including CNNfn (fax/e-mail marketing issues), CNN (internet privacy), KQED radio (computer keyboard injuries), FOX (internet gambling), NBC (internet copyright), CBS (internet privacy), CNET radio (internet copyright), KTVU Silicon Valley Business Report (software license agreements), TechTV (internet law), and Court TV (internet gambling issues and copyright litigation), and has been quoted in numerous publications including legal newsletters, newspapers (Wall Street Journal, NY Times, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, Newsday), magazines, and law review articles. In addition, Mr. Rothken has spoken at numerous conferences and seminars on internet & e-commerce law including the IAEM Convention, the Computer Game Developers Conference (CGDC), the Annual Meeting of the Free Speech Coalition, the Recorder Legal Newspaper Roundtable, the Practicing Law Institute in San Francisco, California, the Sedona Conference, and the Privacy and American Business Conference in Washington, DC.