Kim Dotcom and Friends Must Go
Wednesday 15 March 2017 | Kate Duckworth
On 20 February 2017 the New Zealand High Court confirmed the District Court’s decision to extradite Kim Dotcom and his friends Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato to the United States in relation to the Megaupload file sharing website.
The United States government applied to the New Zealand courts to extradite Dotcom and his friends on the basis of 13 charges in the United States including conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud.
In December 2015 the District Court found that all should be extradited and an inevitable appeal to the High Court followed.
Both the District and High Court were required to consider whether the offences were sufficient to justify a trial if the offences were committed in New Zealand.
The main question was whether Dotcom and his friends were party to a conspiracy to profit from copyright infringement via their Megaupload website.
The two legal questions were was it a criminal act under the Copyright Act and/or Crimes Act to communicate infringing digital works online?
The High Court found that communicating infringing digital works online was not a criminal act under the Copyright Act, but it was a conspiracy to commit copyright infringement which amounts to a conspiracy to defraud under the Crimes Act.
Dotcom and friends will no doubt appeal to the Court of Appeal. It’s very flattering that they want to stay on in New Zealand.