US lays out case against Dotcom

TOM DONOGHUE
Last updated 15:57 21/12/2013

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The United States Justice Department has released a summary of what it's got on Auckland-based Kim Dotcom's Megaupload digital enterprise, according to reports in American newspapers.

Dotcom's legal team earlier opposed release of the information which is similar to material contained in the indictment which resulted in Dotcom being arrested and his finances seized in the 2012 raid on his Auckland mansion.

The Wall Street Journal is today reporting the US Justice Department laid out its case in 191 pages of evidence against MegaUpload, which allows users to upload files considered by the entertainment industry and prosecutors to have been a leading conduit for pirated content.

The paper reported MegaUpload had long been a target of Hollywood's campaign against unauthorised online sharing of movies and entertainment.

Megaupload was placed under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation starting in 2010 and was shut down after the January 2012 arrest of Dotcom. 

Dotcom and six associates are listed as defendants in charges that include racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering, the WSJ reported today.

Dotcom and his associates have denied the charges via their San Francisco based attorney, Ira P. Rothken. Mr. Rothken represents the company as well as the defendants. 

Dotcom and his associates are fighting efforts to bring them to the US for trial.

The documents present an inside look at Megaupload, quoting emails and transcripts of Skype conversations among the site's leadership, the WSJ reported.

Mr. Rothken said the charges are impinging on the rights of Internet users.

"The Justice Department is putting the interests of Hollywood ahead of those of cloud-storage customers," said Mr. Rothken.

Meanwhile the Hollywood Reporter noted the information release came after some fighting at a Virginia federal court.

Earlier this month, Megaupload's attorneys protested that the government had secretly shared evidence in its possession with some in the entertainment industry.

A judge has now unsealed an order on the dissemination of evidence, and so the Justice Department has put out nearly 200 pages of what a trial against Dotcom would look like.

That is, if New Zealand judicial authorities agree at a hearing next year that extradition is appropriate.

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