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US appeal dismissed in Dotcom case

New Zealand judge upholds disclosure order

BREAKING The USA has suffered another rebuff in its attempts to extradite Kim Dotcom, with Judge Winkelmann of the High Court of New Zealand upholding a previous disclosure order made by Judge David Harvey.

The previous order had required the FBI to disclose an extensive amount of documentation to support its application for Dotcom’s extradition. As noted by NZ’s LawGeekNZ blog, the disclosure would cover communications between US authorities and the MPAA and RIAA on behalf of copyright owners.

This had been resisted by the US, which requested a judicial review. This has now been completed, and in a 51-page judgment (available at LawGeekNZ), Judge Winkelmann has dismissed the application.

“Without disclosure,” the judge wrote, Dotcom “will be significantly constrained in his or her ability to participate in the hearing, and the requesting state will have a significant advantage in terms of access to information”. It was that advantage that the “G-Men” sought, and failed, to preserve.

The USA had also tried to corner the High Court by putting forward the notion that the orders represented an attempt at extra-territoriality, something which didn’t impress the judge: “Because the applicant is a party to the proceeding, orders for disclosure does not involve the District Court making orders with extraterritorial effect”.

Dotcom was arrested back in January, along with associated Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and Bram Van Der Kolk, with the FBI saying that Megaupload was responsible for copyright infringement on a mega scale. The case has been delayed, with an extradition decision now unlikely before 2013 – if, in fact, the prospect of disclosure doesn’t cause a re-think back in the Land of the Free. ®

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