Kim Dotcom's US extradition hearing begins

The US has asked for Kim Dotcom's extradition on a number of charges related to the Megaupload website

A hearing for the extradition to the U.S. of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom began Monday in Auckland, New Zealand, with a number of civil rights activists, including Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, opposing the hand over.

Dotcom and colleagues, and two companies including the file-sharing site Megaupload, were indicted by a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia in January 2012 and charged with engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement and money laundering, and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

On Jan. 20, 2012 the New Zealand police searched the homes of Dotcom and a colleague Bram van der Kolk. The police also obtained warrants for the arrest of Dotcom and his three associates and they were arrested at the same time, but were later granted bail.

Dotcom has held that he was running a cloud storage firm like any other, and had made efforts to remove infringing content. The seizure of his assets by prosecutors has hamstrung his legal defense, according to his backers.

Besides the U.S. government, six major U.S. movie studios also filed a civil suit against Dotcom for alleged copyright infringements.

The suit filed in April last year in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria charges Megaupload and Dotcom, among others, of encouraging its users to upload infringing copies of popular entertainment content.

The website benefited from selling premium subscriptions for unrestricted downloads and online advertising space, according to the complaint. It alleged that the website made about US$150 million in subscriptions and another $25 million from advertisements on Megaupload and associated websites.

Ahead of the extradition hearings, Dotcom tweeted: "I am going to court today. The question is innovator or pirate. The answer will be Internet freedom or censorship."

Lessig believes that there is no basis in U.S. criminal law for extraditing Dotcom.

In an expert opinion filed to the Auckland court, Lessig, who has said he will run for the post of U.S. President, argues that the DOJ has not established that the respondents committed crimes of copyright infringement. "A showing of willful criminal copyright infringement requires compact factual proof identifying a specific copyrighted work, a right of the owner that has been violated, the geographical location of the infringement and other specific facts needed to establish a violation of United States criminal law," wrote Lessig in a filing to the District Court at North Shore.

General allegations that the founders willfully agreed with users to promote piracy are also not supported by facts, he added. Under a willfulness standard, proof of indifference, recklessness, or negligence is insufficient to constitute criminal copyright infringement, Lessig wrote.

“It is my opinion that the Superseding Indictment and Record of the Case filed by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) do not meet the requirements necessary to support a prima facie case that would be recognized by United States federal law and subject to the US – NZ Extradition Treaty,” he added.

The hearings are expected to continue for a number of weeks.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?