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Kim Dotcom Extradition Trial to Begin Today in New Zealand

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Four Megaupload executives—founder Kim Dotcom and his colleagues Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, and Finn Batato—are set to make their final plea to New Zealand’s Supreme Court to avoid extradition to the US. The hearing happens this week, from June 10 to June 14, to determine if the Kim Dotcom extradition will be upheld.

Megaupload’s shutdown and Kit Dotcom extradition

Megaupload was a popular file-sharing website founded by Kim Dotcom in 2005. It was shut down on January 19, 2012, and the site’s four owners were arrested in New Zealand a day after.

This arrest triggered lots of legal processes to expedite, delay, or avoid the four men’s extradition to the US. Here are the significant legal events related to the Kit Dotcom extradition:

  • December 2015: The District Court ruled that Dotcom and his colleagues were eligible for extradition. The four appealed this ruling to the High Court.
  • February 2017: Efforts to reverse the District Court’s decision were unsuccessful. The four men, however, were allowed to submit an appeal to the Court of Appeal. One specific issue that needed to be addressed was whether or not the alleged offenses were indeed an extraditable crime in New Zealand.
  • July 2018: The Court of Appeal upheld the District Court’s ruling, which means Kim Dotcom’s extradition would be permissible. It was found out that the four men allegedly committed several offenses under the Crimes Act 1961.

All these legal proceedings yielded the same result: the courts favored extraditing the four accused men to the US. Dotcom and colleagues are hoping that this week’s hearing will prevent the Kim Dotcom extradition from ever happening.

What happens after this Kim Dotcom extradition trial

The hearing is set to happen until Friday, but it will take months for the Supreme Court to reach a decision. Even if the Kim Dotcom extradition is upheld, it will still need the approval of New Zealand’s Minister of Justice before extradition is carried out.

The four men maintained that for the seven years that Megaupload was in operation, the site only allowed users to store and share large files. Before Megaupload was shut down, the site claimed to be responsible for roughly 4% of the world’s Internet traffic.

The US government, however, said that pirated content constituted the majority of Megaupload’s traffic, costing US companies $500 million loss in profit. The US pushed hard for the Kim Dotcom extradition to happen so that the four men answer the allegations in the US and possibly face jail time.

What Kim Dotcom extradition means to ordinary users

The events surrounding Megaupload’s shutdown and the arrest of its owners have shown that the US is seriously after piracy sites and related offenders. Popular Latin American streaming site Pelispedia.tv was shut down recently, a move that’s also spearheaded by the US. There are also cases where ordinary Internet users were issued DMCA notices for allegedly downloading copyrighted content.

Streaming, torrenting, and P2P sharing are not exactly illegal, but they are not devoid of gray areas. With a VPN, you can avoid being tracked and getting into troubles associated with sharing files online. Make sure you’re using a high-quality torrenting VPN whenever you’re downloading or sharing a movie, TV shows, or music online.