Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is set to be extradited to the United States to face charges including copyright infringement, money laundering, and racketeering, a court in New Zealand has decided. District court judge Nevin Dawson gave the verdict today at 2PM local time (8PM ET), decreeing that the US had fulfilled requirements to get Dotcom, plus associates Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato, and Bram van der Kolk extradited to face further time in court, fines, and possible jail time.
Dotcom was originally indicted in the United States back in 2012, with the Department of Justice claiming that Megaupload — the web storage service he created and operated — cost music and film studios in excess of $500 million dollars as people used it to download pirated songs and movies. He was arrested in a high-profile armed raid on his Auckland home soon after the charges were leveled against him, but it's taken almost four years for the New Zealand courts to reach a decision on whether to send Dotcom to America.
Dotcom was arrested in 2012 in an armed raid
Prior to the decision, Dotcom tweeted to his supporters, saying that he would be "fine" regardless of the outcome and exhorting them to enjoy their Christmases. As with his previous appearances in court, he was met by a number of reporters on his way into the hearing, his lavish lifestyle and outspoken personality driving interest in the case in his adopted homeland.
The decision to allow extradition has now been made, but that doesn't mean Dotcom will soon be on his way to the United States — Ira Rothken, one of the defense attorneys involved in the case, indicated that Dotcom and his associates plan to appeal the case in New Zealand's high court.
For the studios who were seemingly affected by Dotcom's service, the real work was already done when Megaupload was shuttered in 2013. Dotcom created a similar service, simply called Mega, soon after, but it failed to make the same impact on the music and movie piracy scene that its forebear did. But they'll hope that the decision to extradite a man born in Germany and living in New Zealand to the US to face charges will likely help them cut down on piracy in future, deterring other would-be Dotcoms from trying a similar tactic with the threat of the very long arm of the law finding them on the other side of the world.