Kim Dotcom to be Extradited

US wins battle appeal

Kim Dotcom to be ExtraditeThe FBI accuses founder Kim Dotcom and three colleagues accused of facilitating massive copyright fraud through the now-defunct online file-sharing site. Megaupload file-sharing site, which housed everything from family photos to blockbuster films, of leading a group that netted $175 million since 2005 by copying and distributing copyrighted content without authorization. He faces a jail sentence of up to 20 years if convicted in the US.

U.S. prosecutors won a New Zealand court victory Friday in their battle. The country’s Court of Appeal rejected two lower court rulings from last year ordering U.S. prosecutors to share more information to support their allegation that the file-sharing service profited by encouraging large-scale copyright infringement by its users.

The Court of Appeal said the U.S. government had a duty of “candor and good faith” in making an extradition bid, but a summary of the evidence held would suffice.
“It is for the requesting state to decide what information it wishes to put before the requested state in support of its request,” the court said.
A lower court had previously ruled that the defense team needed access to the evidence before the extradition hearing, which is due in March.

Mr. Dotcom has denied the charges. Dotcom says he’s innocent and can’t be held responsible for those who chose to use the site to illegally download songs or movies.

Dotcom maintains that Megaupload, one of the world’s most popular websites before it was shut down in January last year, simply provided online storage services and should not be held responsible for stored content.

William Akel, one of Dotcom’s lawyers, said an appeal to New Zealand’s Supreme Court was being considered.
“How can you determine whether or not there has been compliance with candor and good faith if you don’t know what documents are being relied on to support the case?” he said on Radio New Zealand.

In its judgement, the Court of Appeal said that full disclosure of evidence was not necessary at the extradition hearing. It ruled that the hearing was not being held to determine whether Mr Dotcom was guilty of the charges, but only to decide whether the US authorities had a valid case for extradition.
“It is for the requesting state to decide what information it wishes to put before the requested state in support of its request,” the court said.
Since the initial raid, the courts have ruled that search warrants used in the raid were illegal, unfrozen some of Dotcom’s assets for living and legal expenses, relaxed restrictions of travel, and ordered extensive evidence disclosure.

U.S. prosecutors are also seeking the extraditions of Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk, each of who held senior positions at Megaupload before the U.S. shuttered it last year.

The U.S. is required to present a prima facie case to justify extradition with a summary of evidence that is called “the record of the case,” according to information published by the court. But extradition proceedings do not have the same protections and procedures as criminal trials. If more documents are needed, the protocol is for the court to ask New Zealand’s Minister of Justice to work with the U.S. in accordance with the two countries’ extradition treaty.
Despite pending criminal charges, Dotcom forged ahead and launched a new file-sharing service called Mega in January, emphasizing the service’s privacy protections for users while discouraging its use as a platform for trading copyrighted material.

Dotcom remains free on bail pending the hearing. In January, on the anniversary of his arrest, he launched a new file-sharing site called Mega. Dotcom, who also goes by the name of Kim Schmidt, is a German national but with residency in New Zealand, which made it illegal to spy on him.

The US Department of Justice alleges the firm made about $175m from advertising and membership fees as a result of its activities. Mr Dotcom was arrested in Auckland in January last year in a raid requested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The extradition hearing for Dotcom and the other three defendants is scheduled to be held in August.