MegaUpload Piracy Case Hearing to Be Shown Online

John Lister's picture

A high profile extradition case involving an alleged piracy site will be streamed online. The judge in the Kim Dotcom hearing imposed some restrictions on the streaming, though they are unlikely to make much difference.

Dotcom, who changed his legal name from Kim Schmitz, was the man behind the controversial file hosting site Megaupload. Prosecutors in the US say he broke the law because the site was widely used for sharing files that breached copyright such as unauthorized movie video files.

The heart of the case is what level of responsibility Dotcom bears for the actions of users. He maintains that what users did with the file sharing facility was entirely their affair. Prosecutors point to the site offering cash bonuses for people who shared the most downloaded files. They say Dotcom knew illegal files would always be the most popular and was thus directly encouraging piracy.

Hearing Latest Chapter in Five Year Battle

Dotcom currently lives in New Zealand and has been fighting extradition proceedings since his home was raided in January 2012. The case has got increasingly complicated with US officials adding a host of allegations including money laundering and wire fraud, while Dotcom has challenged the legal authority behind his arrest and the seizure of his assets.

A New Zealand court approved his extradition last December but the case is now going through an appeal. Dotcom had asked the judge to allow the appeal hearing to be heard online, something US officials objected to on the grounds it could prejudice jurors if and when he comes to trial.

Broadcast Delayed by 20 Minutes

The judge has now granted the request, though it will be up to Dotcom to hire a camera operator. The broadcast will be delayed for 20 minutes so that any sensitive information can be removed. (Source:

Rather strangely the judge also says that while the case can be streamed, the video cannot be kept online permanently. Tech analysts have pointed out that although Dotcom's team may respect that decision, it's virtually impossible to stop third-parties recording, rebroadcasting and archiving the footage. (Source:

Megaupload Attempts to Resurface in January 2017

According to wikipedia, Kim Dotcom's company "Megaupload Ltd" was established in 2005 and operated until 2011, was based in Hong Kong, and provided file storage and viewing services. In June 2016, it was announced that Megaupload would relaunch in January 2017. Kim Dotcom claims the new Megaupload service will include a Bitcoin transactions linked to file transfer, and will include over 100 million users of the previous service.

What's Your Opinion?

Should defendants have the right to broadcast court hearings online even when TV cameras aren't allowed? Should courts have one rule for all cases, either streaming hearings themselves or banning all streaming? Is it realistic to order the footage not be shown after the hearing ends?

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Dennis Faas's picture

This guy is guiltier than guilty can be, making money off of other people's works. To say that he had no control or recollection that the files which were hosted on his website were illegal is nothing more than a big fat lie - yes, pun intended.

Dotcom was literally rolling in the bucks, while users herded onto his site to grab illegal content - and when they did, he slammed their browsers full of ads and made a killing. The tactic is nothing new in the piracy world (it's called 'arbitrage') - he just happened to be really good at doing it. I'm glad he finally got caught and am looking forward to the final outcome.

Rusty's picture

Am I being too hard on myself for feeling guilty about loving your pun?

ecash's picture

HIS site was to be considered Private...In that No one CHECKED what was being stored On the site..
No one had access to the Data stored on the site, except the person who stored it..and if you passed around your Pass codes it was YOUR problem..

WELL the USA gov, went and Stored Copy written data on his SITE..Supposedly, WITH HIS KNOWLEDGE and OK..
They THEN sued him..RUSHED HIS HOUSE, which is in the middle of Nowhere..HE Escaped..Cant get to the middle of Nowhere, with out being seen, as THEN you are somewhere..

Thats MOST of it..except..WHY..

The movie industry, kept complaining..that there was Illegal data there.
HOW would they KNOW?
Fun part, is that THEY COULD OF PUT IT THERE..
These were PRIVATE accounts for individuals, and you paid GOOD money if you had LARGE storage, like corporations.
DotCOM didnt check things, the Industry SAID IT WAS THERE..and the Gov had to have a REASON, to invade and verify if ANYTHING was there..

Its a case of FULL entrapment..

swreynolds's picture

I thought he was broke?

matt_2058's picture

Storage is not the problem. If I remember right, courts already ruled that a person is allowed to make a backup. Whether I store my backup on Google Drive, Amazon Cloud, One Drive, or my NAS is irrelevant.

As for the US agency storing data on the system to have a cause, who knows the real story. They may have asked/informed the company of the data so they could catch the downloaders. Then decided it was more fruitful to go after the company than the individuals. Or maybe that was the plan all along.

Go after the people that are 'selling' (offering) the goods. That is where the problem is. Movie screeners, post-production houses, etc. How many titles are available BEFORE hitting the theaters?