Dotcom demands live-stream of extradition appeal
Auckland (AFP) – Internet mogul Kim Dotcom launched his appeal against extradition from New Zealand to the United States on Monday arguing for his case to be live-streamed to ensure a fair hearing.
The German national, who has permanent residency in New Zealand, faces up to 20 years in jail if convicted in the United States of video piracy, which US authorities say cost copyright owners hundreds of millions of dollars.
“My lawyers are currently in court making argument for live-streaming of my entire hearing,” the Megaupload founder tweeted shortly after the hearing began in the Auckland High Court.
He had tweeted last week that Washington “has asked the New Zealand High Court not to allow live-streaming of my global interest copyright hearing. Worried?”
Lawyer Ron Mansfield told the court the case raised “unprecedented issues of public and international interest” and it would not be a fair hearing without live-streaming.
Dotcom, who was not at the court, was arrested in a dramatic police raid on his mansion near Auckland in January 2012.
In December last year, after a nine-week hearing, Judge Nevin Dawson found there was “overwhelming” evidence to support extradition of the 41-year-old and three other Megaupload founders.
Dotcom argued Megaupload was a genuine file-sharing site that did its best to police copyright infringement but had 50 million daily users and could not control every aspect of their activity.
At its peak, Megaupload was said to be the 13th most visited site on the internet, accounting for four percent of global web traffic.
Dotcom, who has accused US authorities of pursuing a vendetta against him on behalf of politically influential Hollywood studios, has announced plans to relaunch his Megaupload empire in 2017, exactly five years after it was shut down.
The FBI alleges Megaupload netted more than US$175 million in criminal proceeds and cost copyright owners more than US$500 million by offering pirated content.