Dotcom extradition appeal set for August

The Megaupload co-accused were all ruled eligible for extradition in December last year.

The appeal against the decision to extradite Kim Dotcom and his fellow Megaupload co-accused Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato will be heard in August.

In December, Judge Nevin Dawson ruled there was a case to answer in the copyright violation, money laundering and racketeering charges brought by the US government against the Megaupload founders.

After 10 weeks of hearings and many hundreds of pages of submissions the "overwhelming preponderance" of evidence against the men established a prima facie case, Judge Dawson said, with all four eligible for extradition on all counts.

The four were charged by the US government in 2012 of conspiracy to operate websites used to distribute copyrighted material illegally.

All maintain they are innocent but the FBI says they generated $US175 million in criminal proceeds.

They have appealed the decision, with a case management conference regarding the matter heard before Justice Raynor Asher in the High Court at Auckland.

He allocated an eight-week fixture for the appeal, beginning August 29.

Counsel for the US Christine Gordon, QC, had sought an earlier date but Justice Asher says given all the circumstances, including the complexity of the case, the date is appropriate.

He believes eight weeks is "very generous," however, and says the hearing will probably take half that time.

The US alleges Megaupload was a simple fraud scheme deliberately designed to attract, protect and profit from copyright infringing material.

In their defence, Mr Dotcom’s lawyer Ron Mansfield said the case amounts to whether an internet service provider (ISP), which he says Megaupload is, can be responsible, or should be responsible, for breaches of copyright by its users.

A provision in the country’s Copyright Act also provides a “bar against prosecution” for dual technologies, Mr Mansfield said, claiming it is no crime to make money from a brilliant idea.

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