Kim Dotcom will be allowed to stream his appeal against extradition live online, a judge in New Zealand ruled.
The Megaupload founder is wanted in the United States on charges of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering.
The US had opposed Kim Dotcom’s proposal to broadcast the hearing on YouTube.
He said on Twitter that the decision was “breaking new ground” and streaming would start on August 31.
Kim Dotcom’s lawyer said the move was “democracy at its finest”.
“It provides everybody in the world with a seat in the gallery of the New Zealand courtroom,” Ira Rothken told the AP, saying there would be a 20 minute delay on the live feed.
The German-born entrepreneur ran file-sharing site Megaupload.com, which once had million of users storing files and downloading movies and songs.
The FBI took control of the website and other domain names belonging to the business in January 2012. Federal prosecutors said it had cost movie studios, music labels and other copyright-holders more than $500 million in lost revenue.
In December 2015, a New Zealand court ruled that Kim Dotcom could be extradited to face charges of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering.
Kim Dotcom’s lawyers launched an appeal, arguing that he should not be held responsible for the actions of the site’s users, and did not get a fair hearing.
The request for livestreaming came on the first day of the appeal hearing in Auckland, which is expected to last up to eight weeks.
Another defense lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said there were “unprecedented issues of public and international interest” raised by the case and added that coverage should not be limited to traditional media.
Lawyers for the United States had said streaming could influence a potential future jury.
The High Court judge, Justice Murray Gilbert, criticized the fact the request had not been made in advance but said he wanted to hear the views of local media outlets before making a decision.
Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom is eligible to be extradited to the US to face multiple charges, a New Zealand court has ruled.
Kim Dotcom, who is accused of copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering, said he will appeal.
The 39-year-old, born Kim Schmitz, founded the now-defunct file-sharing site MegaUpload where millions of people downloaded movies and songs.
US authorities say Kim Dotcom and others cost film studios and record companies more than $500 million.
Kim Dotcom, a German national who has been living in Auckland and describes himself as an “internet freedom fighter” on his Twitter page, has fought the case arguing that he was not responsible for the copyright infringement.
He told reporters outside the courtroom he would fight the ruling, adding: “I’m disappointed.”
Three other men, who co-founded the site with Kim Dotcom and face similar charges, have also been ruled as eligible for extradition.
The hearing which began in September was not to determine Kim Dotcom’s guilt, but whether he should be sent to the US to be tried.
Judge Nevin Dawson told the court in Auckland that the US has a “large body of evidence” supporting the case and that the defendants “fall well short of undermining the case”, reported news outlet Stuff.
After the ruling, Kim Dotcom tweeted: “Thank you for your support. The fight goes on. Enjoy the holidays. I’m happy to be with my kids. There are bigger things than copyright.”
A member of Kim Dotcom’s legal team, Ira Rothken, also tweeted: “The @KimDotcom team looks forward to having the US request for extradition reviewed in the High Court.”
“We believe the (district court) was wrong… Justice was not served today.”
In an interview with New Zealand Herald earlier this week, Kim Dotcom said he plans to take separate legal action in Hong Kong, where he founded MegaUpload.
He said he plans to sue the Hong Kong justice department and seek more than $2 billion in damages for taking down his site. Earlier this month a Hong Kong court allowed him to access some of his frozen assets held there.
“I now have the opportunity to fight back in Hong Kong and take legal action against those who have destroyed what I have built there and that means I can sue, indirectly the US government by suing the Hong Kong Department of Justice,” Kim Dotcom was quoted as saying.
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom has declared himself “broke”.
Kim Dotcom said he had spent $10 million on legal costs since being arrested in New Zealand in 2012 and accused of internet piracy.
He had employed a local law firm to fight the US’s attempt to extradite him, but his defense team stepped down two weeks ago without explaining why.
Kim Dotcom said he would now represent himself at a bail hearing on November 27.
He denies charges of racketeering, conspiring to commit copyright infringement and money laundering.
Kim Dotcom told a conference in London, via a video link, that his lawyers had resigned because he had run out of money.
“The [US authorities] have certainly managed to drain my resources and dehydrate me, and without lawyers I am defenseless,” he said.
“They used that opportunity to try and get my bail revoked and that’s what I’m facing.”
Kim Dotcom’s declaration comes seven months after he won back access to about $750,000 worth of property – including several of his cars – that had been taken at the time of his arrest. However, other assets, including dozens of bank accounts, remained frozen.
The German national’s finances have also been put under strain after he helped bankroll a political party that failed to win a seat in September’s general election in New Zealand.
“Before I started my political movement – the Internet Party – I was quite popular in New Zealand,” Kim Dotcom told the digital business conference.
“After I got involved in politics and the prime minister of New Zealand and his party attacked me viciously, labeling me a Nazi… and [saying] I’m only starting my political party to fight my extradition… New Zealanders unfortunately have bought into that narrative and today I’m a pariah.
“The witch-hunt worked, and everyone wants to see me burn, and next Thursday I might go to jail because of that.”
Kim Dotcom does, however, continue to retain a lawyer in the US, who gave an interview to Radio New Zealand after Kim Dotcom’s comments.
“There are assets frozen across the globe, there are mechanisms in place for getting relief from those frozen assets – we’re hopeful that courts across the globe, including in Hong Kong and New Zealand, will do the right thing and release funds to counsel,” said Ira Rothken.
“This is the largest copyright case in the history of the United States and New Zealand. It’s a very expensive case. And the governments are making this a war of attrition.
“They’re trying to outspend Kim Dotcom. They are trying to win on procedure rather than merit. And we’re going to do the best that we can so Kim Dotcom has a fair playing field.”
Ira Rothken added there were still about 20 lawyers working on the case.
Kim Dotcom launched a follow-up online storage company, Mega, in 2013, and in March said it was valued at 210 million New Zealand dollars ($164 million).
The business is set to be floated on New Zealand’s stock exchange later this year.
However, Kim Dotcom does not directly own a stake in the business himself and is no longer one of its directors.
Kim Dotcom’s wife, Mona, does own 16.2% of its shares, but the two are separated.
Mona Dotcom revealed in June that she had moved into a guest house about 165ft away from Kim Dotcom’s mansion so their five children could still be close to their father.
Kim Dotcom has revealed that his rent is pre-paid until mid-2015 and he plans to return to court “soon” to try to unfreeze more of his assets.
The next extradition hearing into his case is not scheduled until February 2015, providing him an opportunity to hire more local lawyers if he can obtain the funds.
The US Justice Department claims Megaupload made more than $175 million before it was closed and cost film, TV and other rights-holders more than $500 million.
Kim Dotcom, Megaupload founder, has set up a new cloud storage and file-sharing site.
Mega, a web-based service that lets people upload and store files of any kind, is a sequel to the Megaupload system that was shut down last January.
Police raids on the offices and home of Kim Dotcom led to the closure of Megaupload.
The Mega site went online at dawn on Sunday, with Kim Dotcom due to hold a gala at his New Zealand mansion later.
Kim Dotcom has said the new site complies with the law and warned that attempts to take it down would be futile.
“This is not some kind of finger to the US government or to Hollywood,” Kim Dotcom told Reuters on Saturday.
“Legally, there’s just nothing there that could be used to shut us down. This site is just as legitimate and has the right to exist as Dropbox, Boxnet and other competitors.”
Mega, a web-based service that lets people upload and store files of any kind, is a sequel to the Megaupload system that was shut down last January
Hours after the site was launched, Kim Dotcom tweeted that it had received 250,000 user registrations, although limited server capacity meant Mega was unreachable to many.
In a series of earlier tweets Kim Dotcom said every customer would have 50 gigabytes of free storage – far more than is offered by rival services such as Dropbox or Microsoft’s SkyDrive.
Mega will be encrypted so only those who upload data have access to it.
Data is also being held in the cloud to make it easy for users to get and share files.
The 2012 raids on Megaupload were carried out because, said US law enforcement, many users of Megaupload were engaged in pirating content and illegally sharing it.
They accused Kim Dotcom and other managers at Megaupload of profiting from piracy.
KIm Dotcom has rebuffed the accusations and is fighting a legal battle to stay in New Zealand from where he ran Megaupload.
A hearing on whether he is can be extradited to the US is due to be held in March.
The case has generated controversy in New Zealand over the way the police and intelligence services gathered evidence before the raid and won an apology to Kim Dotcom from the country’s prime minister.
KIm Dotcom has also won support from prominent computer pioneers such as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
The raid on Megaupload put 25 petabytes of data uploaded to it by its 50 million members into a legal limbo.
In one message, Kim Dotcom said he was working with lawyers and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which campaigns on digital rights issues, to get access to that seized data and return it to users.
Game of Thrones has become the most-pirated TV show over the internet in 2012, according to news site Torrentfreak‘s latest annual survey.
It said one episode of the series had racked up 4,280,000 illegal global downloads – slightly more than its estimated US television audience.
The site said that overall there had been a “small increase” in the amount of illegal sharing.
That was despite a “leveling out” of the activity the previous two years.
The rise also followed increased efforts to shut down or block websites providing access to copyright infringing material.
Investigations by the US, Mexican and Ukrainian authorities led to two of the best known file-sharing services disappearing earlier this year – digital locker service Megaupload and Bit Torrent link site Demonoid.
The administrators of Newzbin2 – a site which aggregated links to illegally copied material sourced from Usenet forums – also abandoned the operation after the UK courts forced internet service providers (ISPs) to block access.
In addition, UK-based Surfthechannel went offline after its owner went on trial for “facilitating” copyright infringement – a crime which resulted in him receiving a four year prison sentence.
Several countries ISPs have also been ordered to block The Pirate Bay, although political activists at Europe’s Pirate Parties continue to offer proxy-based workarounds.
Despite all the closures, one episode of Game of Thrones racked up 4,280,000 illegal global downloads, according to Torrentfreak. That was slightly more than its estimated US television audience.
The level of piracy may be linked to the fact that the TV company behind it – HBO – does not allow Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime or other US streaming services access to its programmes. It instead restricts them to its own HBO Go online product, which is only available to its cable subscribers.
Outside the US, Torrentfreak noted that Australia was responsible for a disproportionate amount of illegal copies of Game of Thrones and suggested this may have been because episodes were broadcast locally a week later than in the US.
Game of Thrones has become the most-pirated TV show over the internet in 2012
Torrentfreak‘s editor acknowledged that, despite his findings, HBO might still want to keep its current model.
“Not all of the people who pirate do it because it’s free – availability is also a big factor,” said Ernesto Van Der Sar.
“Most of the titles in the top 10 list are behind paywalls and are not distributed very widely. If TV companies offered them online to a broader audience, piracy would be lower than it is now.
“But I’m not sure that would be best for their revenues as they rely on expensive subscriptions which they still sell a lot of. If they allowed people to download individual episodes from Netflix, for example, they might not make as much money.”
The latest effort to combat piracy is a newly announced action plan by Russia and the US.
It involves the two countries:
Co-ordinating efforts with rights holders and law enforcement agencies to force copyright infringing content off the net and take action against those responsible for putting it online.
Pledging to seize and destroy equipment used to make the pirated files.
Working together on legislation, including plans for a Russian law to make ISPs liable for piracy carried over their networks.
“Intellectual property rights not only protect our creators and innovators, but also promote foreign investment, economic development, and job creation,” said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk.
It follows success at introducing other anti-piracy action over the past year.
A series of website blackouts and protests led to the US’s House of Representatives abandoning its Stop Online Piracy Act (Sopa) and the Senate its Protect Intellectual Property Act (Pipa) in January.
An attempt to bring in an international treaty – the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) – was also derailed after the European Parliament rejected it in July.
However, more recently countries have signaled they intend to press forward with anti-piracy efforts,
In September, Japan changed the law to introduce a maximum two year jail sentence for users found guilty of downloading pirated files.
Major ISPs in the US have announced plans to launch a “six strikes system” early next year, under which suspected pirates would be sent a series of warning letters before facing bandwidth throttling and other punitive measures. And the UK also plans to introduce a letter-writing scheme in 2013.
The FBI is accused of “illegally” copying evidence used in a case against file-sharing site Megaupload.
Megaupload was shut down in January and its operators arrested in New Zealand because, alleged the FBI, it was being used to pirate content.
Lawyers acting for Megaupload said the FBI had illegally removed hard drives containing evidence.
NZ government lawyers said the removal was legal because the relevant law only covered “physical” items.
Megaupload lawyers leveled the accusation at the FBI in an Auckland court saying the FBI had broken written agreements covering what could be done to digital evidence.
The FBI is accused of "illegally" copying evidence used in a case against file-sharing site Megaupload
New Zealand police seized seven hard drives during raids on Megaupload when the site was shut down. The written agreements said the drives should not be handed to US investigators prior to a hearing to decide how they were to be treated.
However, Megaupload lawyers say that FBI agents copied the drives and took the cloned information back to the US before the hearing took place.
If the copying and removal was done without the consent of the New Zealand authorities it would constitute an “illegal act”, said Megaupload lawyers.
The New Zealand authorities were summoned to court to explain how the FBI was allowed to remove the data from the country.
The government’s legal head said the agreement the FBI was accused of breaking did not apply in this case. He said the relevant document only covered “physical” material not information.
The trial of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and the site’s management team is due to start on 6 August.
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