New Zealand Court Grants Kim Dotcom's Request To Have Extradition Hearing Livestreamed On YouTube, Despite DOJ Protests

from the sorry-doj dept

The Kim Dotcom extradition appeal is now under way, with the first question being whether or not the courtroom drama could be livestreamed on the internet for a global public to watch. The request was originally made by Kim Dotcom and his lawyers, but the lawyers for the US government opposed… because… well, just because.

“US defends mass surveillance programs with ‘If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’ but opposes live streaming of my hearing,” Dotcom, who attended some of the hearing, said on Twitter.

Honestly, it’s not at all clear why the government lawyers are opposing this other than to just oppose stuff and be generally obstructionist. However, it doesn’t appear to have worked. A little while ago, Dotcom’s lawyer Ira Rothken announced that the court had agreed to allow live streaming:

And Kim Dotcom himself tweeted that it would begin tomorrow, once a cameraman was set up:

This should be an interesting hearing to watch no matter what. If you want a preview of some of the points, check out our podcast interview with Dotcom’s lawyer, Ira Rothken from last week.

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Comments on “New Zealand Court Grants Kim Dotcom's Request To Have Extradition Hearing Livestreamed On YouTube, Despite DOJ Protests”

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

One wonders if the fear of the USG lawyers that they will become memes drives it.

They have twisted the law into a pretzel to try and make this move forward, and its approaching a point where it might finally break. If they don’t keep trying they might have to deal with giving up all of the cash they took, and we all know how loathe they are to return money.

That and they have to keep trying otherwise people might start to think that it was never about protecting copyright, it was about shutting down a service the cartels didn’t like using all of the influence they bought.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'we all know how loathe they are to return money.'

Yeah, no matter how the extradition goes the odds of him getting all of his money back are non-existent, most very low, some moderate at best.

Whether he ends up with a guilty verdict or not is beside the point at this stage, a US judge has already ruled not only that his money is guilty but that he has no grounds to assert otherwise as far as the US legal system is concerned, meaning his only chance to regain even some of it is through non-US courts and convincing them that he shouldn’t be punished for exercising his legal right to fight extradition, or punished before a finding of guilt.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'we all know how loathe they are to return money.'

The seized money and property is still in New Zealand, the US government isn’t holding it.

The US court ruling forfeiting his property on the grounds of him being a fugitive sets a very unfortunate precedent in international law — one that could be used to great effect against US interests — but has no legal weight in NZ, which is where Dotcom’s money is.

I’m not all that familiar with NZ laws, but if Dotcom wins his case in the NZ courts, he’ll probably get it all returned. After all, if he’s not guilty then the seizure of his property during his arrest isn’t any different than the storage of a wallet incidental to an arrest.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 'we all know how loathe they are to return money.'

NZ and Hong Kong I believe, and while yes he should gain access to it all should the case be dropped thanks to no extradition I’m guessing the DOJ will continue to do everything it can to keep him from getting it back, attempting to tie it up as ‘involved with a pending legal case’ or some such rot.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 'we all know how loathe they are to return money.'

If the extradition request is declined and as such the criminal case and charges against Dotcom expire due to the 5 year statute of limitations on the charges then the US will heavily push the civil case to be held in Dotcoms absence if needs be.

With the civil case pending against Dotcom which will still continue even if the criminal case against him is dropped the US will still push for Dotcoms assets and money to be seized and frozen and will still label Dotcom a “fugitive” no doubt on the grounds that he (deliberately) evaded the criminal prosecution even if extradition is declined and also on the grounds that he refuses voluntary to come to the US to answer the civil case against him.

The civil case will no doubt continue in the US with or without Dotcoms presence and Judge O’Grady will no doubt rule Dotcom to found guilty in the civil case and this civil case will no doubt end up going before the US Supreme court who will either rule for Dotcom to be found guilty or innocent in the civil case.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

If they don’t keep trying they might have to deal with giving up all of the cash they took, and we all know how loathe they are to return money.

Whether or not he’s found guilty has no bearing on whether they get to keep his money. Unfortunately, the asset forfeiture is a completely separate case. In fact, they don’t even have to charge people with a crime in order to steal their money, let alone find them guilty of anything.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Oh I can take a guess...

Honestly, it’s not at all clear why the government lawyers are opposing this other than to just oppose stuff and be generally obstructionist.

With a huge number of people watching there’s also a huge number of people able to spot any shady claims or actions on the DOJ’s part, and while that sort of instant fact-checking might not be immediately useful to Dotcom’s defense team it also makes it a lot riskier for the DOJ to make claims if they know there’s a bunch of people watching that can call them out on bogus ones.

Much easier to lie when you’re only doing so to a small group, whereas lying to thousands is just asking for some of them to spot the lie.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Oh I can take a guess...

Makes sense, I mean obviously the DOJ’s statements and actions regarding the case would count as good influence of the potential jury, whereas anything Dotcom or his lawyers might say would be bad influence. Can’t have potential jurors being exposed by the wrong viewpoint now can we, that might get people to start questioning the actions and statements of the DOJ instead of taking them at face value, and that just won’t do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Oh I can take a guess...

In the alternative, the DOJ can simply have him renditioned to a black site in (some random third world dictatorship we’re friends with this week – I don’t want to take any guesses, I might be right accidentally, and wouldn’t that be embarrassing?) where they can “strenuously question” him until he “volunteers” a confession.

I read on a conspiracy site that rendees are having their front teeth removed to prevent another suicide by chewing through their own wrists. Sounds a little over the top to me, but then again, this whole case is way over the top.

The seventh circuit should clue someone in the DOJ about the first rule of holes.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Oh I can take a guess...

By ‘pollute’ I suppose they mean educate.

and why shouldn’t the jury be derived from an educated pool that is familiar with the issue instead of being forced to only be exposed to what the DOJ and court arbitrarily regard as admissible for the purpose of trying to weaken and limit his defense.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oh I can take a guess...

It’s not as if the DOJ hasn’t already gotten away with shady claims or actions. If push comes to shove, they’ve proven they can just brush it off with some piss-poor excuse. “Oh, that SWAT team was completely warranted because he was probably armed to the teeth.” “Oh, that warrant or lack thereof doesn’t actually matter because procedures are for sissies.”

Honestly, they could put on a fake evil mustache, twiddle their whiskers a little and say, “Go ahead”, then after loading the dice in their favor, twiddle the other side of their mustache hairs and say, “Aha. We gave you what you wanted, and you were still found guilty. You clearly have no grounds for counterargument now!”

Grabbing the home advantage by any means necessary has been their goal from day one.

Whatever (profile) says:

Kim has pretty much lost the legal battle. Extradition is pretty much a foregone conclusion here, and now Kim is down to trying to score some small win in the court of public opinion.

What he is hoping is that some statement made by the US during this hearing will go viral, and somehow magically make him innocent of running one of the largest repositories of pirated material at the time it was shut down.

My guess is his next stop will be 71 Symonds St in Auckland…

Whatever says:

Re: Re: Re:

Hi. I would figure a Techdirt staff member would log in to post, but I guess not, right?

Two out of three posts appeared pretty quickly, someone must have been around to review held comments. The third one, well, it’s more critical of Techdirt’s stand on “theft” and thus is likely held until Mike can whip up a windy response.

“And let’s say the US does make some viral statement, it’ll add to the list they’ve already chalked up since this whole debacle started.”

All the sound bites you want add up to nothing really. The NZ courts are ruling on extradition, not guilt. Once you get over that, you can understand that it’s all just Kim’s way of trying to slow down the process – because he knows if he makes it to the US, he will be found guilty because there is just too much against him and very little to excuse his behavior.

Oh, did you read the story on Torrentfreak? It read like Kim’s dream press release, calling him a “serial entrepreneur” rather than a “serial criminal” (Germany, hong Kong, and now NZ and the US).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

He can’t stand the idea that people dislike him because he’s a douchebag, and imagining himself as a self-styled martyr is his way of making himself feel better – which is why his tactic is to assume everyone’s a Techdirt Insider. Which I’m not, but what else did you expect from a cunt that logs out to post rubbish?

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Kim has pretty much lost the legal battle. Extradition is pretty much a foregone conclusion here…

Is it? The only offense I see listed in US/NZ extradition treaty that would come close to being applicable is number 16:

Obtaining property, money or valuable securities by false pretenses or by conspiracy to defraud the public or any person by deceit or falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether such deceit or falsehood or any fraudulent means would or would not amount to a false pretense.

I would be interested in hearing your argument as to why this would the slam dunk you think it’s going to be.

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s actually pretty easy. Kim set up a number of companies around the world (outside of the jurisdiction where MEga was located) in order to “sell” memberships and for money to flow to those companies as commission away from Mega itself. The idea was to make it so that Mega itself turned lots of money but was not profitable, so that if it ever got shut down, Kim could keep the ill gotten gains. He never expected or even considered that the US would go after the whole ball of wax.

Anyway, you need to read number 19:

19. Receiving and transporting any money, valuable securities or other property knowing the same to have been unlawfully obtained.

Since it’s easy to show that Mega as a company and Kim as an individual were aware of the pirate material on their sites (see emails, top lists, and the like) and that selling access to it was an illegal act, then the rest follows.

If Kim honestly believed Mega was entirely legal and above board, he wouldn’t have gone to these lengths to try defeat the legal system by operating companies in various countries and living in another one altogether. The only reason such a system would be set up would be to create a legal buffer between the illegal acts (pirated file hosting and distribution) and the money it makes.

Whatever (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 operating companies in various countries and living in another one altogether...

Not really. All that is needed is (a) proof of knowledge of infringing materials, (b) proof that they did nothing to mitigate the problems, and even (c) proof that they facilitated piracy with their “fast upload” feature that basically allowed people to re-upload something in seconds, even after that file had been hit with a DMCA.

Kim Dotcom realizes now the errors made, which is why his second file storage site went to extreme lengths to avoid all of these situations. No top lists, no indexed internal links, and so on.

I also believe that his external sites (owned by his other companies) were encouraging people to the site with promises of pirated material.

Knowing that your site is filled with pirated material and profiting from it is a crime – and moving the money from the illegal enterprise to other held companies to get the money away from the corrupt enterprise is money laundering. The DOJ has already shown the NZ courts enough for them to tell Kim he needs to go to the US. Now it’s just the endless delay tactics of appeal, appeal, appeal…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 operating companies in various countries and living in another one altogether...

“proof that they facilitated piracy with their “fast upload” feature that basically allowed people to re-upload something in seconds, even after that file had been hit with a DMCA”

So what you’re saying is you want services to pre-emptively scan if something is infringing.

Yeah, based on the track record of rightsholders’ capability to tell whether something is infringing or not, what you’re demanding is a pipe dream.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Since it’s easy to show that Mega as a company and Kim as an individual were aware of the pirate material on their sites”

But that doesn’t amount to them being in violation of U.S. law. General awareness doesn’t get you in trouble, only not responding to specific awareness. and Kim did respond to specific awareness and he removed infringing content upon request. He complied with the DMCA. He consulted with lawyers to make sure he followed the laws in that regard.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Awesome how you refer to Article 19 and don’t then also acknowledge that Article IV needs to be shown as well. ie: Were the monies etc actually illegally obtained under New Zealand law.

Candour isn’t part of your thing is it?

Extradition shall be granted only if the evidence be found sufficient, according to the laws of the place where the person sought shall be found, either to justify his committal for trial if the offense of which he is accused had been committed in that place or to prove that he is the person convicted by the courts of the requesting Party.

David says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That would suppose that the person buying the membership didn’t get it, but they appear to have gotten their membership. So there is no fraud in that respect.

Now if you want to claim that the structure was set up so that Mega made no profit, but affiliated organizations did in order to hide/protect profits, then I would like to introduce you to “Hollywood Accounting” where this practice is the standard for doing business.

OldGeezer (profile) says:

With the delay the US will probably attempt to cut the feed whenever Kim’s lawyers bring up the point out the their illegal activities leading up to the raid and the bogus claims in the warrant. They colluded with their NZ counterparts to violate laws to spy on him. In the warrant they listed copyrighted files that THEY REQUESTED not to be removed claiming they were needed for some other investigation. The feds could have handled things better but their actions will work against. The black ops style raid on his home like he was Osama Bin Laden endangering his family made for some pretty bad PR. The claim that he might have some magic button that could have wiped out servers scattered all over the world is laughable. If Kim is extradited he is totally screwed. The US judge that will hear his case has already shown how biased he is. The best Kim can hope for is to stay in NZ and fight civil lawsuits the rest of his life.

DB (profile) says:

Movie industry business model

The movie industry is well known for “Hollywood Accounting”, where the main corporation makes no money no matter how successful the movie is. Most of the added expenses are clearly fraudulent — they aren’t supported by any accounting standard or practice outside the movie industry.

This accounting scheme is often used to defraud naive suppliers that don’t understand a movie production company is a throw-away shell that is intended to end up in debt.

Megaupload wasn’t running that kind of criminal enterprise.

DannyB (profile) says:

I am surprised that the DOJ still has enough shame to not want to do this dirty deed in the light of day. I thought that all parts of the government had gotten past that point and were unafraid to do anything, no matter how despicable, in full public view.

While the DOJ wants to turn the New Zealand court into a circus, it seems they don’t want it to be a circus open to public view.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: "All copies of the footage will need to be removed from the internet"

If the court really did say that, they essentially doubled the longevity of the footage on the internet by making it verboten.

I’d like to think that was the New Zealand Court’s intention.

It certainly cannot be enforced, though they can at least force Google to take it down.

GEMont (profile) says:

Fascism: When criminals use the law to stea cash and remove competitors..

Hmm… live broadcast huh…
With a twenty minute delay to remove embarrassing bits…
So, almost live, like the 9/11 TV broadcasts. Got it.

Well, the onliest reason I can see for the DOJ and USG to be concerned about a live broadcast is that, once they remove all the embarrassing bits – you know, like where they broke the law, or trampled on Dotcom’s human rights – all that is going to be left is just dead air.

I really can’t think of a better example of a fledgling fascist government than this particular farce of a court case, where a gang of billionaire crooks known as the USG, are trying to use the law to steal a fortune from someone who has upset their primary client; Hollywood.

Let’s face it. Nobody wants their Kangaroo Kourt proceedings to be exposed to the world for scrutiny and 2 hours of dead air just might convince some people; who believed the USG bullshit story, to take a second, less “patriotic” look at the merits of the case and the supposed integrity of their government.

Personally, I think that one of the primary reasons they do not want such public exposure is that, to win this case, the USG will have to utilize many of their private, post 9/11 secret interpretations of the law and they really, really do not want the public to know what those interpretations are.

Whereas, behind closed doors, the USG will have no problem getting any judge to allow whatever tricks the USG pulls out of its ass and once the gag order is in place, nobody will ever be the wiser.

A Perfect Robbery.

And the USG also gets its pay off from Hollywood once Kim D. has been thoroughly trashed.

Cushy retirement jobs for all!
Yay! Justice. The American Way!

duffmeister says:


The simple question I have is how can a man who has never been to the US, or a company that isn’t incorporated in the US be held accountable to the laws of the US?

Should we all be held accountable to the laws of China, or why not something crazier like ancient Sumeria? It is just as ridiculous to think those laws would apply to him. I see no problem with them going after him in the correct jurisdiction and allow proper due process to follow.

If NZ has laws on due process I think, guilty or not, Dotcom has a way out due to shoddy work on the part of the US. This is a matter of national sovereignty in that the laws of the US don’t apply to non-citizens outside of the the US.

I have said nothing about the man Dotcom, I find him to be an obnoxious person that borders on being a buffoon, who may even be guilty. I just want the laws to be applied fairly and justly respecting the laws of the nations involved. This is the only way guilt can be determined.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: What?

Proving Guilt?

That’s an outmoded concept for today’s modern Justice Agents.

The USG is not at all interested in proving the guilt of criminals. Guilty crooks don’t buy you a yacht, or get one that necessary dose of Bimbos and Cocaine, loved so much by the 1% and their government minions.

They want the proceeds money and the illicit product, and a pat on the head from their masters in Hollywood.

That “pat” being normally a cushy job in Hollywood after retiring from the political circus.

No need to prove the perpetrator’s guilt – or even consider it as a necessary part of the Justice System – when your just out steal whatever you can from folks who are not in the inner circle, or who are competing with the Fed’s own illicit operations.

In fact, the US has made laws that allow all money to be predetermined as guilty, so no perps are needed anymore, except as delivery systems.

The Feds and the cops can just arrest your money and keep it till you prove it is innocent of all criminal activity – a nearly impossible task, since all money – not currently held by members of government and select friends – is now legally considered to be guilty by its very nature.

And consider the simple logic:

1. arrest the perp and potentially remove a criminal from the street.

Results, crime stats drop, dropping cop budgets, because of less crime on the streets.

Crime Fighting.


2. arrest the money, let the perp go and hope he starts up his criminal operation again so you can bust him again and again, taking his money and product and releasing him back into the stream each time.

Results, crime stats skyrocket because nobody gets incarcerated, providing necessary talking points for increased police budgets and personell, as well as creating a wonderful source for pure un-accounted-for profit, profit, profit for the employees of all federal justice agencies and police forces in America.

Crime Cropping.

Which do you think would be the most desirable direction to take for an agency whose sole purpose is to steal citizens’ money, legally?

Hint. Look around.

danwat1234 says:

Live Stream alternative source for Kim Dotcom's trial.

The videos of the Court Extradition videos were deleted by the original Youtube channel, named ‘Stream TV’. But I found a user that downloaded the majority of the videos before they were deleted.
They are hosted here under username chughes374 , and here is the link to the playlist.
If that link every goes down, message me. As I would be actively looking for another source.

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