Kim Dotcom’s legal team has said it will appeal against the High Court’s decision that he and two colleagues can be extradited and face trial in the US or a range of charges stemming from Kim Dotcom making copyright material available via his Megaupload service.
The United States Government has been seeking the trio’s extradition to face trial on 13 counts including allegations of conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud since 2012.
According to a statement issued by the High Court, one of the central issues in the case is whether copyright infringement by digital online communication of copyright protected works to members of the public is a criminal offence in New Zealand under the Copyright Act. The High Court has held that it is not, overturning an earlier decision by the District Court.
The High Court, however found that a conspiracy to commit copyright infringement amounts to a conspiracy to defraud, which is an extradition offence listed in the US-NZ Treaty. Also, according to the statement form the court “other extradition pathways are available for all counts because of their correlation to a number of serious crimes in the Crimes Act.”
Dotcom’s legal team has hit back saying: “It is hard to accept the logic that, if the conduct that all accept at its heart relates to assertions of breach of copyright is not an offence [In New Zealand], how it can nonetheless be massaged into a general fraud offence.” It adds: “That thinking has been rejected outright in the Supreme Court in the United States.”
Further, it claims the High Court’s decision flies in the face of Parliament’s move to protect internet service providers from being liable for copyright infringement by their customers. “The High Court decision means that Parliament’s intended protection for internet service providers is now illusory. That will be a concern for internet service providers and impact on everyone’s access to the internet,” it said.
The team has expressed confidence that the Court of Appeal will rule against extradition saying such a decision would be “consistent with Parliament’s intent, international law and, importantly one might think, the United States' own law.”