Kim Dotcom Wants Court Battle Against US Livestreamed on YouTube

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom speaks during an Intelligence and Security select committee hearing at Parliament in Wellington, New Zealand in a July 3, 2013, file photo. Photo: Mark Mitchell / New Zealand Herald / Associated Press

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom wants to livestream his legal battle against the United States on YouTube.

Dotcom’s lawyers have asked if they can film his extradition appeal, which began Monday at New Zealand’s High Court in Auckland. The U.S. opposes the plan.

Justice Murray Gilbert, the New Zealand judge hearing the appeal, criticized Dotcom’s request for coming at the last-minute but said he’d let other media discuss it before making a decision, the National Business Review newspaper reported.

A New Zealand judge last year ruled that Dotcom and three of his colleagues could be extradited to the U.S. to face conspiracy, racketeering and money-laundering charges. If found guilty, they could face decades in jail.


The ruling came nearly four years after the U.S. shut down Dotcom’s file-sharing site Megaupload, which prosecutors say was widely used by people to illegally download songs, television shows and movies.

Megaupload was once one of the internet’s most popular sites. Prosecutors say it raked in at least USD$175 million (6 billion baht) and cost copyright holders more than USD$500 million (17.3 billion baht).

But Dotcom and his colleagues argue they can’t be held responsible for people who chose to use the site for illegal purposes.

In his application to livestream the case, Dotcom’s lawyer Ron Mansfield said the streaming would have a 10-minute delay to ensure sensitive information could be censored, the NBR newspaper reported.

Mansfield also argued livestreaming would ensure balanced and fast reporting, as opposed to the constraints of traditional media.

Dotcom and colleagues Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato are seeking to halt their extradition. They say lower court judge Nevin Dawson didn’t give their arguments a fair hearing.

Grant Illingworth, the lawyer for Ortmann and van der Kolk, told the high court Monday the case “has gone off the rails,” NBR reported.


Born in Germany as Kim Schmitz, Dotcom has long enjoyed a flamboyant lifestyle. He was arrested in New Zealand in 2012 after a dramatic police raid on his mansion.

Out on bail soon after, he released a music album, started another Internet file-sharing company called Mega, and launched a political party which unsuccessfully contested the nation’s 2014 election. More recently, Dotcom has promised to launch a reboot of Megaupload next year.

Story: Nick Perry