A New Zealand court has ruled that Megaupload.com co-founder Kim Dotcom and three of the site’s other co-founders are eligible for extradition to the U.S. to stand trial on charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering, effectively bringing Dotcom’s nearly four-year battle to evade U.S. authorities to an end.
Dotcom — born Kim Schmitz in Germany but granted permanent residence in New Zealand in 2010 — and his Megaupload colleagues Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Fin Batato face allegations of knowingly allowing copyrighted material to be distributed on the now-defunct service. Megaupload was shut down January 19, 2012.
The MPAA celebrated the court’s ruling in a statement released to media. “The MPAA welcomes the New Zealand District Court’s decision that Kim Dotcom and three colleagues are eligible for surrender to the United States to stand trial for criminal copyright infringement and racketeering,” said Steven Fabrizio, MPAA Senior EVP and Global General Counsel. The statement continued:
“The MPAA believes that, for years, Dotcom and his associates at Megaupload knowingly and willfully broke the law by hosting stolen content – and profited from those stolen creative works by rewarding users for uploading infringing content to their site. At the extradition hearing the Crown presented summaries of evidence to be presented at trial in the United States that 90% of material on the site was copyright-protected, with users being paid to upload popular films and television shows. All told, according to the U.S. Justice Department, Megaupload’s efforts cost copyright owners approximately $500 million and reaped $175 million in revenue. Now, thanks to years of dedicated effort by New Zealand and U.S. law enforcement authorities, Kim Dotcom and three colleagues will stand trial on criminal charges.”