In what is now its sixth year of legal battles, the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States continues to push for the extradition of German-born Kim Dotcom’s extradition to the US to face criminal charges for wilful copyright infringement, to the tune of more than 500 million dollars. Other departments of the government that are involved on the side of the prosecution are the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (NIPRCC).
The case first came to light after the DOJ forcibly shutdown the Megaupload website in January 2012, a website which it claimed had illegally shared copyrighted material and profited from the act of doing so. Evidence of this was the flamboyant lifestyle that Dotcom lived, as shown in several photographs of him in fancy cars and travelling a private jet that he owned. The case against Dotcom and the other owners of Megaupload said that up to 175 million dollars had been earned by them through the illegal sharing of copyrighted content, and millions of dollars in cash were seized during the raid on Dotcom’s residence.
As it now stands, the Court of Appeals in New Zealand, where Dotcom is a resident, has upheld the ruling of a lower court that found that extradition to US was possible, with some lawyers being quick to point out that there is a difference between a hearing and a trial. Dotcom’s legal team have argued that infringement of copyright is not a crime in New Zealand, and that there is a lack of evidence that the founders of Megaupload did commit a crime. The final option for Dotcom seems to be to approach the Supreme Court in New Zealand, to challenge the court ruling. The final outcome of this case is being watched intently as how it ends will set a precedent for intellectual property rights around the world, with a particular focus on how far the US is able to protect its intellectual property on a global scale.