INTERNET FOLK HERO Kim Dotcom is back in court this week in a final attempt to block plans to extradite him from New Zealand to the US to face copyright infringement charges.
The former hacker-turned-cloud sharing pioneer is accused of allowing mass copyright evasion through his Megaupload site and will appear alongside his co-accused, Mathias Ortmann, Bran van der Kolk and Finn Botato who have all been fighting the action since their arrest in 2012.
The group's legal team will tell the NZ Supreme Court that the charges, which also include money laundering, wire fraud and racketeering do not constitute extraditable offences.
If they fail, the group will be sent to the US where Megaupload is viewed as a criminal conspiracy. US lawmakers claim that the men have personally benefitted to the tune of $175m (£138m). If found guilty, they could go away for the majority of their remaining time on the planet.
The final decision is in the hands of the New Zealand government. The Sydney Morning Herald says that the crux of the argument remains if the extradition would be legal under local law. Evidence will take around a week to be heard and the decision may not be reached for months.
The case hinges on a simple question - are the site's owners responsible for the actions of its users, or does the blame lie solely with those that used the site for copyright infringing files? If it is found that the latter is true, it would negate extradition under both New Zealand and US law.
Kim Dotcom, 45 and German by birth, moved to New Zealand back in 2010 during the heyday of Megaupload. After his arrest in 2012, assets to the tune of $42m (£33m) were seized in Hong Kong, where the operation was based. Dotcom claims much of the equipment involved was irreparably damaged.
Since then, he has launched a new service, simply called Mega, whilst at the same time, many other companies have launched their own cloud storage services, with no hint of the same accusations being levelled. μ
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