Kim Dotcom permitted to livestream extradition appeal on YouTube

Kim Dotcom © Nigel Marple
Kim Dotcom, a businessman fighting extradition to the US from New Zealand, has been granted permission to livestream his legal bid to halt the process. He is wanted by the US justice on charges related to the now-seized file-storing website Megaupload.

Dotcom was pleased with the decision to permit him livestreaming from court, according to his lawyer, Ira Rothken.

“It provides everybody in the world with a seat in the gallery of the New Zealand courtroom,” Rothken told AP. “It's democracy at its finest.”

Dotcom and three other men, who are suspected of copyright infringement, were ruled to be eligible for extradition last December by a district court. As an appeal hearings were approaching, Dotcom’s lawyer Ron Mansfield appealed to livestream the entire process.

“This is a case of the internet age and as such has attracted significant academic and media interest,” Mansfield said.

READ MORE: Kim Dotcom eligible for extradition to US, New Zealand court rules

The government of New Zealand opposed the appeal on behalf of the US, arguing that livestreaming the proceedings would taint the future selection of a jury in America.

“There will be extensive submissions made in this court about matters that may well be inadmissible and irrelevant in any future trial,” Crown lawyer Christine Gordon said.

Justice Murray Gilbert granted the application after consulting with the media and receiving no objections. However Dotcom and others would only livestream and that all footage would be removed once the six-week hearing is over. The streaming would also be done with a 20-minute delay to allow the court prevent any protected material from being published.

Megaupload, a website where users could store information, was shut down four years ago. The US alleges that its management paid users to upload copyright-protected content and profited from a growing audience. Prosecutors say Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato raked in at least $175 million and cost copyright holders more than $500 million.

The suspects argue that they cannot be held responsible for the actions of the people who chose to use their site to infringe on copyright.

Born in Germany as Kim Schmitz, Dotcom was arrested in New Zealand in 2012, when his mansion was raided by the police. He was since released on bail and engaged in a number of projects, including launching a political party, starting another file-sharing company and releasing a music album.