Kim Dotcom’s latest legal battle started streaming live on YouTube on Wednesday as the Megaupload founder, along with three co-defendants associated with the now-defunct file-storage site, fight extradition to the U.S. from New Zealand.
Dotcom, Bram Van der Kolk, Fin Batato, and Mathias Ortmann face U.S. charges of copyright infringement, money laundering, and racketeering in connection with online site Megaupload, which the American authorities closed down in 2012, seven years after it was founded.
While the U.S. opposed Dotcom’s live-stream request on the grounds that it could influence a future jury for the case, Judge Murray Gilbert said on Tuesday he had no problem with such a broadcast, though insisted it had to run with a 20-minute delay.
The appeal, which follows a ruling last December that said the Megaupload founder could transferred to the U.S., is expected to last up to six weeks. Dotcom wasn’t in court on Wednesday, though he tweeted a photo of himself watching the case from his home near Auckland.
The 42-year-old German national – real name Kim Schmitz – has always maintained his innocence on all charges. He hopes that bringing the hearing to a global audience will help expose what he believes to be the U.S. authorities’ weak argument for proceeding with the case.
Dotcom said on Tuesday the live-stream 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.”
Megaupload had around 150 million users when it was knocked offline four years ago. Those behind the site insisted it operated as a content storage platform where users could store, backup, and view their files.
However, some users treated it as a file-sharing service, giving members access to copyrighted content such as music and movies. The entertainment industry said that Megaupload’s pirated content led to revenue losses amounting to some $500 million.
The business reportedly generated profits of around $175 million dollars for those running the site. If Dotcom and his co-defendants lose their extradition appeal and are ultimately found guilty of the charges in a U.S. court, they could face decades in jail.
You can drop by the live-stream here. Proceedings begin weekdays at around 10 a.m. local time (6 p.m ET, 3 p.m. PT).
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