Kim Dotcom, the flamboyant entrepreneur and self-styled “Internet freedom fighter,” will have to take his fight to the U.S. legal system. After a years-long legal stoush that has been heard in three separate New Zealand courts, Dotcom lost his latest round and now faces extradition to the U.S.
New Zealand’s Court of Appeal on Wednesday upheld the decision that Dotcom and three others can be extradited to stand trial for copyright infringement and fraud, charges they strenuously deny.
Dotcom’s attorney Ira Rothken tweeted his disappointment and vowed to seek review with the NZ Supreme Court. In an email to told Reuters, Rothken also confirmed his client would appeal the decision. “We think that ultimately Kim Dotcom will prevail,” he said.
We are disappointed with today’s Judgment by the NZ Court of Appeal in the @KimDotcom case. We have now been to three courts each with a different legal analysis – one of which thought that there was no copyright infringement at all. We will seek review with the NZ Supreme Court.
— Ira Rothken (@rothken) July 4, 2018
On Wednesday, the court issued a written decision rejecting Dotcom’s appeal and upheld a lower court ruling in 2017 that the accused men can be sent to the U.S. to stand trial. Pressure is now on New Zealand’s Justice Minister Andrew Little to decide whether extradition proceedings should commence.
The charges stem from the German-Finnish giant’s now defunct fire-sharing website Megaupload, which U.S. authorities shut down six years ago and subsequently filed charges of conspiracy, racketeering and money laundering against its operators. The U.S. claims that Dotcom, Mattias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato were involved in a criminal network that lost copyright holders more than an estimated $500 million.
Depending on which side you sit, Dotcom is either an enemy of the state and creators who needs to be punished for his actions, or a larger-than- life champion for a free Internet.
Dotcom has claimed he’s the target of a conspiracy and he’s not without supporters (and a 20-strong legal team). The 6’ 7” entrepreneur was living in New Zealand when, in January 2012, he was arrested by local police on behalf of the FBI, and his mansion was raided.
Dotcom has always denied wrongdoing and that he should ever face trial in the United States. “I never lived there, I never traveled there I had no company there, But all I worked for now belongs to the U.S.,” he wrote in a pinned tweet back in March 2015. That year, the NZ district court ruled that Dotcom and his colleagues were eligible for extradition on the charges.
I never lived there
I never traveled there
I had no company there
But all I worked for now belongs to the U.S.https://t.co/l3B0Cuj0tr
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) March 29, 2015
The six-year legal row has, at times, moved at a snail’s pace, but seen as a test for how far the United States can reach to protect U.S. businesses’ copyright-protected goods.
Dotcom believes the U.S. and NZ have overstepped the mark. Just ahead of Wednesday’s court ruling, Dotcom, who was born Kim Schmidt and legally changed his surname in 2005, tweeted: “2375 days since the raid. 2345 days on bail. 670 times bail reporting. 165 total days in Court. 40 million in legal fees. Was all of the above done to me and my family against the law?”
2375 days since the raid
2345 days on bail
670 times bail reporting
165 total days in Court
40 million in legal fees
Was all of the above done to me and my family against the law?
We’ll find out in 12 hours.
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) July 4, 2018
In an earlier challenge, the NZ High Court accepted Dotcom’s argument that the online communication of copyright protected works to the public is not a criminal offense in New Zealand, but the judge found the evidence sufficient to establish a prima facie case.
Kim Dotcom released a statement this afternoon, saying he is “prepared to fight to get justice.” Read the entire statement here.
My statement about the disappointing judgement by the NZ Court of Appealhttps://t.co/7NFqGoSWIl
A judgement in complete denial of the legislative history and intention of the Copyright Act. Therefore it has the value of toilet paper. We will now appeal to the Supreme Court.
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) July 5, 2018