NZ Supreme Court Gives A Mixed Bag Extradition Ruling To Kim Dotcom; Extradition Still Alive, But He Can Raise Procedural Issues
from the this-case-will-never-end dept
It’s been almost a decade since US and New Zealand forces did a silly made-for-Hollywood (and possibly by Hollywood) raid of Kim Dotcom’s home in New Zealand for the crime of running a cloud storage service that some people used for infringing works. Since that time, Dotcom has been fighting extradition charges to the US. The case has taken many crazy twists and turns, including the US government seizing his assets by claiming he’s a fugitive, even as he’s been going through the standard legal process to determine if extradition is proper (and there’s a very strong legal argument it is not even remotely proper).
The latest ruling, from New Zealand’s Supreme Court is unfortunately more of the same. The court has found that he can be extradited on 12 of the 13 charges against him, but also noted the procedural problems that have plagued the case mean that he still cannot be extradited. Specifically, the Supreme Court found that Dotcom (and his colleagues who were also arrested) were denied judicial review of the original ruling in the district court in 2015.
Dotcom and his lawyers have (accurately) stated that the ruling “is a mixed bag.” But it’s mostly mixed with bad news for Dotcom. The good part is just that he doesn’t have to get shipped off to the US right away.
But on the whole this is a bad ruling for Dotcom. The key issue at play gets deep into the copyright weeds, about theories regarding criminal inducement of infringement, and whether or not New Zealand and the US have matching crimes. Unfortunately, so far it looks like the New Zealand courts (like too many of the US courts) don’t really care to look at the actual specifics of what’s in the law and just lump together a bunch of different concepts around “copyright infringement bad,” without being willing to understand that building a platform that is used for infringement is not the same thing as infringing yourself. The court didn’t seem to understand the difference here — which is unfortunately not that surprising, but it is disappointing. These kinds of rulings damage the open internet, limit the kinds of services that can be built, and bring us closer to a locked down broadcast-only internet, the kind which Hollywood wants.