New Zealand says U.S. can extradite alleged piracy mastermind Kim Dotcom

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Kim Dotcom, the once-jolly Internet “Bond villain” who lived the good life on profits from what U.S. authorities called the “Mega conspiracy,” is eligible for extradition to and trial in the United States, a New Zealand judge has ruled.

Dotcom’s lawyer, Ira Rothken, announced shortly after the verdict that he would try a last-ditch appeal to New Zealand’s High Court.

Dotcom and three colleagues are charged with criminal activity surrounding Mega, his since-shuttered free file-hosting site. While many hosting sites become hotbeds of copyright infringement, American authorities have homed in on Mega in particular, accusing Dotcom of masterminding a scheme that paid users to pirate big-name files like new movie releases—which in turn brought him hordes of new users—and laundering money as part of the operation.

The case is particularly striking as an example of the U.S.’s legal reach, especially when it comes to enforcing online intellectual-property law. Dotcom, a German-born resident of New Zealand, has protested extradition by claiming that he never even traveled to the U.S. and did not base companies there.

Nevertheless, New Zealand police, responding to FBI claims, raided his home in tandem with the U.S. government’s seizure of Mega in January 2012. If Dotcom and his colleagues stand trial in the U.S., they could face decades in prison.

Dotcom, who has been outspoken about his own case and has compared it to the persecution of people like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, seemed to strain for optimism in the wake of the ruling, tweeting a photo of his children in front of their Christmas tree, as well as what seems to be him goofing around.

H/T Time | Illustration by Jason Reed

Kevin Collier

Kevin Collier

A former senior politics reporter for the Daily Dot, Kevin Collier focuses on privacy, cybersecurity, and issues of importance to the open internet. Since leaving the Daily Dot in March 2016, he has served as a reporter for Vocativ and a cybersecurity correspondent for BuzzFeed.