Megaupload and Bitcache creator Kim Dotcom is likely to be extradited to the US, despite a New Zealand judge clearing him of local copyright infringement.
Dotcom’s ongoing legal case over the first incarnation of his MegaUpload file sharing site was previously dubbed the “largest criminal copyright case.”
Now, it appears he and three associates may yet find themselves in the US facing trial on 13 counts “including allegations of conspiracy to commit racketeering, copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud since 2012,” local news resource New Zealand Herald reports.
The result is a serious mixed blessing for Dotcom, whose legal team had been attempting to clear his name of copyright infringement for several years. Under New Zealand law, distributing copyrighted material to users online is not a criminal offense.
“As we have said all along, there is no such offense under our Copyright Act. We were right,” Dotcom’s lawyer Ron Mansfield said.
"To win the major plank of the case but to get that outcome is extremely disappointing. It is hard to accept the logic that, if the conduct that all accept at its heart relates to assertions of breach of copyright... how it can nonetheless be massaged into a general fraud offense."
Dotcom himself also tweeted his frustration at the ruling accusing him of the other counts:
New Zealand Copyright Law (92b) makes it clear that an ISP can't be criminally liable for actions of their users. Unless you're Kim Dotcom?— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) February 20, 2017
The entrepreneur was due to release a second version of Megaupload, along with a Bitcoin-based project Bitcache, in January. However, the launch was delayed due to what she described as “expected hiccups.”