US Files for Extradition of Megaupload Suspects at Last Minute

Just when you thought the Megaupload saga has reached a fever pitch and couldn’t climb any further up drama mountain, US authorities waited until the eleventh-hour to file extradition papers on the suspects in the case. The United Statesas officially requested the extradition of Kim Dotcom and three of his coworkers related to the case against Megaupload.

The US authorities filed the papers last Friday to New Zealand courts requesting the extradition. The hearing has been scheduled for August 20.

According to an article published on TorrentFreak, in order to leverage their extradition and case, the United States is citing a treaty with the UN that allows for the extradition of suspects changed with activity related to organized crime. Aside from copyright infringement, Kim Dotcom and the other suspects are charged with racketeering, money laundering, and wire fraud.

Previously a lawyer working on behalf of theUnited Statesgovernment admitted that no copyright offenses are specifically listed in the extradition treaty. However, he also noted that certain offenses which involve transnational crime are covered by New Zealand’s Extradition Act.

In New Zealand crimes must carry a four year prison sentence to be deemed extraditable. Under the country’s Copyright Act, distributing an infringing work carries a five year maximum sentence.

Experts and observers are predicting that due to its groundbreaking status, the extradition battle for the Megaupload defendants will be both complex and prolonged, and could even go all the way to the Supreme Court.

The legal drama surrounding Megaupload has been a strange process. All of the transnational crime charges—such as money laundering, wire fraud, etc.—have been noted byUSauthorities that they rest entirely on the copyright infringement charges. It has been alleged that Kim Dotcom and the others made money via Megaupload by facilitating massive copyright infringement.

Kim Dotcom is quoted as arguing that the scope of the charges are pure “nonsense.” When he spoke to New Zealand’s Channel 3 News, saying that, “I’m no piracy king, I offered online storage and bandwidth to users and that’s it.”

Other cloud-storage outlets have felt similarly about the sudden chill breeze that blew in from the vacuum created by Megaupload’s fall. While some outfits began to withdraw from the space, others such as BTJunkie shut down entirely, however, the piracy scene is still flourishing and fundamentally ignored the loss of Megupload—while legitimate customers had to scuttle to get their files back before the servers went dark.

The August hearings will probably set another milestone in the long-arm-of-US-copyright-law to see if copyright infringement is really enough to force someone to be transported across the sea.  Legal experts have weighed in on both sides, citing the strategy of theUSandNew Zealandlaw. Currently, it’s hard to tell which way the courts will swing, but the late action of theUSdoes not tell the compelling story of a solid case.

About Kyt Dotson

Kyt Dotson is a Senior Editor at SiliconAngle and works to cover beats surrounding DevOps, security, gaming, and cutting edge technology. Before joining SiliconAngle, Kyt worked as a software engineer starting at Motorola in Q&A to eventually settle at Pets911.com where he helped build a vast database for pet adoption and a lost and found system. Kyt is a published author who writes science fiction and fantasy works that incorporate ideas from modern-day technological innovation and explore the outcome of living with those technologies.