Kiwi Pirates

Trial of Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom Now Depends on New Zealand Law

To extradite, or not to extradite?

Fun fact: New Zealand’s Maori name roughly translates to “land of the long white cloud,” and it’s where Kim Dotcom, nee Kim Schmitz, the founder of recently-busted filesharing site Megaupload, was arrested last week with three others. Even though U.S. prosecutors say Megaupload made at least $175 million through illegal copying and distribution of music, movies and other copyrighted content, according to Reuters, Mr. Dotcom must be extradited—forcibly sent back to the U.S.—before he can be tried. And his crime has to be prosecutable under New Zealand law in order to be extradited.

Therein lies the rub. Despite its status as the filming location for Lord of the Rings, the kiwi island doesn’t seem to have quite the same draconian attitude toward illegal downloading, nevermind the fact that the indictment may be “pushing some pretty aggressive theories,” as Anthony Falzone of the Copyright and Fair Use at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society put it.

Copyright violation is usually a civil matter in New Zealand, not a criminal one. There are other differences between New Zealand and U.S. law when it comes to digital piracy, and no precedent for extradition based on copyright violations. What does that mean? It’s going to be a long vacation for Mr. Dotcom on the lush island. “I wouldn’t expect this to be sorted out quickly,” a lawyer in Auckland told Reuters. Perhaps the pale-faced founder can use the time to reclaim his Modern Warfare 3 ranking.

megaupload seized Trial of Megaupload Founder Kim Dotcom Now Depends on New Zealand Law

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com

Comments

  1. Teru says:

    i don’t feel sorry for this guy, everyone mad, but at the end of the day, this guy is stealing and wongly using his business for other than attened. i was a paying memeber to this website and i lost a lot of money. thank you for nothing Kim Dotcom

    1. Spammembership says:

      Correction: OTHER PEOPLE were using his business for other than intended. You don’t sue Toyota when a driver breaks the law in a Prius, or prosecute 7-11 for selling papers to someone who uses it to smoke pot, do you? Ridiculous. You, like Dotcom, are the victim of corruption in the US government as influenced by corporate media, and should be mad as hell at their infringement on your right to property.

  2. BigBrotherIsWatching says:

    Whos looking after the rights of millions… YES MILLIONS of LEGAL users?

    I purchased a lifetime membership to keep my digital media, including wedding photos,family photos & now they are GONE! no warning, nothing!

    I hope the rest of the world see and make a stance that what has happened is ILLEGAL by US courts, since when did the legal system change to GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT?

    I hope that the top people who made this mess happen are ALSO brought to justice & this fiasco and is not brushed under the carpet once the storm dies down.

    ARE YOU ALSO GUILTY?

    Have you ever forwarded a picture or funny email to a friend? ever borrowed a great book that a friend recommended? YOU ARE GUILTY! since you did not own copyright!

    CORPORATE DO NOT OWN THE WORLD WIDE WEB, IF US GOVERMENT WANT TO START SOMEWHERE, START WITH No1 ABUSE OF THE INTERNET… PORN, POPUPS,VIRUSES.

    The No1 culprate for all the above… YES you guessed it good ol USA CORPORATE!

  3. Anonymus says:

    I agree with big brother the lawmakers should be stopping the porn & popups why isnt the goverment shutting these companies down overnight before now?