19:46 GMT +321 July 2017
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    Kim Dotcom

    New Zealand Judge: Kim Dotcom Can Livestream Extradition Trial

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    A New Zealand judge ruled Tuesday that internet tycoon Kim Dotcom will be able to livestream his legal attempt to avoid extradition to the United States. It’s believed to be a first for the country.

    Dotcom and three of his cohorts are trying to appeal a lower court decision in December 2015 that permits them to be extradited to the US for racketeering, money-laundering and conspiracy charges. 

    Ira Rothken, Dotcom’s lawyer, said he was happy with the decision. "It provides everybody in the world with a seat in the gallery of the New Zealand courtroom," he said, "It's democracy at its finest." Livestreaming will begin Wednesday on YouTube, according to Rothken. The appeal is expected to last six weeks, and the stream will be on a 20-minute delay to prevent protected evidence from being made public.

    The judge hearing the appeal, Justice Murray Gilbert, did not receive an objection after asking about Dotcom’s request. Rothken said there was opposition from the US, based on claims that the stream could potentially taint the jury pool and impair the court’s ability to control evidence.

    The December 2015 lower-court decision came four years after the filesharing site Megaupload, run by Dotcom, was shut down by US authorities. Prosecutors are claiming that the site was widely used to illegally download copyright-protected television shows, movies and music. 

    At one time Megaupload was one of the most popular sites on the internet. According to prosecutors the site brought in roughly $175 million and cost copyright holders an estimated $500 million. Dotcom and his colleagues, Bram van der Kolk, Finn Batato and Mathias Ortmann, are claiming that they are not liable for people choosing to use the site to commit illegal actions.

    Rothken argued that the lower court judge ruled incorrectly, and that safe-harbor provisions should protect internet service providers — Dotcom styled himself as one — from these sorts of charges.

    Dotcom was born Kim Schmitz in Germany and is known for living a lavish lifestyle. He was arrested in 2012 after a police raid on his mansion. After being released on bail soon after, he recorded and released a music album, launched a political party and started another file sharing site called Mega. 

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