Kim Dotcom, the founder of controversial file-storage website Megaupload, has won the right to live-stream his extradition appeal from a court in New Zealand.
The German-born internet entrepreneur, real name Kim Schmitz, faces U.S. charges of copyright infringement, money laundering, and racketeering in connection with Megaupload, which the American authorities shuttered in 2012.
Monday’s decision by an Auckland judge to allow the live-stream comes more than four years after the long-running episode began when cops in the country raided Dotcom’s mansion in a dramatic operation backed by the FBI.
The U.S. opposed the live-stream request on the grounds that it could influence a future jury for the case, but Judge Murray Gilbert said in the Auckland high court on Tuesday that he had no objections to it going ahead.
Live streaming of my hearing is a milestone. We’re breaking new ground. Please treat the court with respect. Let’s make this the new normal.
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) August 30, 2016
Dotcom’s appeal, which begins on Wednesday, is expected to last six weeks and comes in response to a ruling eight months ago that said the Megaupload founder could be sent to the U.S. to face multiple charges in connection with the file-storage site.
Adamant that he has a strong case against extradition, Dotcom hopes that bringing the hearing before a global audience via YouTube will help him to publicize what he sees as a feeble argument for continuing with the case.
Dotcom told the BBC on Tuesday that the live-stream, which’ll be shown with a 20-minute delay, will be “very important in a public interest case like this, where millions of users around the world have lost their legitimate files on Megaupload when it was shut down without any due process … people are interested.”
“There’s not a single instance of me breaching copyright.”
He added, “The accusation here in this case is not that I have breached copyright – there’s not a single instance of me breaching copyright. They are saying I am responsible for the actions of others … if that is true then a knife manufacturer should be responsible for the murders that are committed with their knives, or car manufacturers should be responsible for people speeding. This can’t be right and this is why this case is so important.”
Megaupload, which had around 150 million users when it was taken offline, claimed to operate as a content storage platform where users could store, backup, and view their files. But it was also often used as a file-sharing service, giving users access to music, movies, and other copyrighted material, a situation that eventually brought it to the attention of the U.S. authorities.
The business reportedly netted its operators around $175 million dollars, while the entertainment industry said the site’s pirated content led to revenue losses amounting to around $500 million. If Dotcom loses his appeal and is ultimately found guilty of the charges in a U.S. court, he could face decades of jail time.