24 Jan 2012

Dotcom case could take years, says lawyer

7:34 pm on 24 January 2012

A lawyer specialising in internet law says an attempt to extradite Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom to the US is the first case of its kind in New Zealand and could take years to resolve.

A judge in the North Shore District Court has reserved a decision until Wednesday on whether to grant bail to a German millionaire accused by the US of money laundering, racketeering and copyright piracy.

Kim Dotcom, 38, has New Zealand residency and is the co-founder of Megaupload, a website which allows the downloading of files, including movies and music videos.

Mr Dotcom is among four people arrested after a raid in Auckland on Friday.

The other men in custody are: Megaupload co-founder and chief technical officer Mathias Ortmann, 40, and chief marketing officer Finn Batato, 38, both from Germany, and Dutch national Bram van der Kolk, 29, also a New Zealand resident who oversees programming.

The FBI has been investigating Megaupload which the US accuses of pirating films and other content, costing copyright holders more than $US500 million in lost revenue. Megaupload was indicted in a federal court in Virginia on Thursday.

Auckland lawyer Rick Shera from the firm Lowndes Jordan says it is the first extradition case in New Zealand that involves someone making it possible for others to break the law.

Mr Shera told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme he expects legal appeals from both sides, so that even if Mr Dotcom is eventually extradited the copyright case could take years to resolve.