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).

That said, while Dotcom has won rulings showing illegal activity in how he was surveilled and arrested, he's also lost his attempts to block the extradition.

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.

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Filed Under: cloud storage, copyright, extradition, intermediary liability, kim dotcom, new zealand, procedural issues, us
Companies: megaupload


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 3 Nov 2020 @ 4:20pm

    Oh the hypocritical irony

    Probably the biggest joke of the whole sham has been that the same people who are adamant that violating copyright law is a heinous crime without peer and that (being accused of) breaking the law deserves nothing less than the full might of the legal system to be brought down on the perpetrator have shown nothing but open and blatant contempt for basically every other law on the books.

    Warrantless surveillance? Not a problem.

    Destruction of evidence? Who doesn't engage in that?

    Claiming that certain actions are legal according to current law, only to scramble to get the law changed to make those actions legal after the fact? Must be another day ending in a 'y'.

    Kinda hard to take serious the outrage over copyright infringement when those making the accusation are gleefully engaging in far worse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ryuugami, 4 Nov 2020 @ 4:40am

      Re: Oh the hypocritical irony

      Hm, I vaguely recall reading an article years ago (probably on TD) that showed how copyright infringement is very widely spread in Hollywood, and that much of the business there is done through piracy.

      Basically, it's not "violating copyright infringement is terrible but other laws don't matter", it's "laws don't apply to us, but if you break them you're toast".

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2020 @ 4:29pm

    building a platform that is used for infringement is not the same thing as infringing yourself

    Those things are definitely not the same but didn't Dotcom also offer rewards to those who uploaded content of any origin? Doesn't that make him complicit in the sharing of copyrighted content without license?

    Ignoring whether he did or did not actually break any laws, how the hell is the US able to pursue someone who has never resided in the US, is not a US citizen, and committed no crimes on US soil? The US doesn't have global authority over the entirety of the internet. If anyone should be going after him it's NZ. The US government has seriously overstepped its bounds here but somehow they're allowed to continue doing so. It makes no sense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 3 Nov 2020 @ 10:41pm

      Re:

      "Those things are definitely not the same but didn't Dotcom also offer rewards to those who uploaded content of any origin? Doesn't that make him complicit in the sharing of copyrighted content without license?"

      Well, there's many questions with that, which include whether the money that was shared as a result of infringing activity should override the many people who used it to earn revenue through content they did own themselves.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2020 @ 4:56pm

    There isn't a country on the Planet that isn't afraid of the USA government, security forces and entertainment industries. There slso isn't a country on the Planet that has introduced copyright laws that don't benefit the USA industries while foing next to fuck all for artists and works in their own respective countries. Every one of them is designed to benefit the USA and have been put together by the USA. The part that's so sad is the USA doesn't give a toss about those countries, let alone whether the local artists are cared for or the impact on the local people. Anything that isn't liked and out come the threats then the law suits then the big guns in the shape of one or more of the 3 letter agencies. The whole aim, as said in the piece, is to make the internet how the USA entertainment industries want it, as a 'locked down broadcast-only internet', one that they can monetise but no one else can without their permission ande that no one else can use without their permission. I've said it for years that the net is being forced into this position but am always shouted down. Funny how it gets nearer to that scenario on an almost daily basis! Funny as well how tge USA thinks that it can do whatever it wants but no one else can and has to intimidate and threaten, trump up circumstances it wants to get it's own way and has become so despised it's beyond belief!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), 3 Nov 2020 @ 5:24pm

    Honestly, if you ever have wondered who was pushing for this prosecution it has been Hollywood all the way, they couldn't do it thru the courts so they came up with the novel idea of using the US DOJ to do their bidding and this wondaful charge of criminal copyright infringement which is just a tad bit of a stretch in copyright law and criminal law.

    Honestly I am not the biggest Dotcom fan, with that said the man does have right and due process and there is more than enough shady shit with this whole thing from the beginning of it it till this day that stinks to high heaven and seem to more a personal vendetta on Hollywood's part to stamp out anyone or any platform they see as a threat to their business model.

    Lets see the charges: criminal copyright infringement, racketeering, money laundering, and wire fraud all at Hollywoods desire to make sure that Dotcom is driven into the ground and ends up in jail and as a lesson to others, go against us and your next. What I find inexplainable is how the US Govt and the USDOJ decided to come the defacto prosecutorial arm for Hollywood. How many cases have we seen this now since mgaupload where other sites and the people behind them have ended up being prosecuted by the DOJ and at the behest of Hollywood, lets see Kickass torrents, Jetflicks, iStreamItAll, the piratebay and that is just a few.

    Hollywood was having no success thru the courts so they enlisted the DOJ and came up with the following charges criminal copyright infringement, racketeering, money laundering, and wire fraud nad they have relied heavily on these to go after site and platforms and individuals. If Hollywood wants to go after sites that is fine use the courts but no damn way should the USDOJ, nation spy agencies, embassy officials and ambassadors be in on the hunt in this fiasco. How many millions of dollars has the U.S. and NZ governments spent on this whole prosecution at the behest of Hollywood and why the fuck is the taxpayer footing the bill for this sideshow? You can bet it is in the tens of millions if not more.

    Hollywood seems to think that the U.S DCMA is global,but last time I checked the DMCA is a U.S. based law. yes copyright infringement is under WIPO, but Hollywood seems to believe that the DMCA is applicable to everyone outside of the US and thus your their enemy and bound to bend to their whim if they dont like what your doing no matter what country you reside in.

    The Dotcom case is more than a handful of how the DOJ is really pushing the boundaries of the law to make a case fit at the behest of Hollywood, the shit that has gone on in dotcoms case is more than troubling it's an abuse of the goverment and their powers. The fact that Dot com is and has never been here but is a fugitive from US justice is more than troubling as is the seizure of his assets for this many years. This is what happens when the scales of goverment are abused and political meddling by lobbyists and industry to further their own agenda are being meted out and everyone ought to be concerned that the goverment is using its political might and spy agencies and legal arms to force a public prosecution for a private interest.

    It amazes me just how over the line goverment has gone these days and how lobbyists and organisations with money are wielding an ungodly amount of influence on citizens here and non citizens abroad

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2020 @ 5:44pm

    building a platform that is used for infringement is not the same thing as infringing yourself

    If Thomas Edison were alive today, he would be sued because someone put a gramophone on a stage and played a recording.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    charliebrown (profile), 3 Nov 2020 @ 10:09pm

    America Vs The World

    It appears to me: If an American company opens a cloud hosting service, it is called "Cloud Storage" but if a non-American company opens one, it is called "A File Locker" and must immediately be closed down for contributing to copyright infringement.

    I know this is not the case. This is just how it appears to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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