U.S. wants Kim DotCom back in jail

News reports from New Zealand say authorities will appeal the decision last week to release the MegaUpload founder on bail.

Kim DotCom, MegaUpload's founder, just prior to being released on bail last week. Click on the photo to see a video report. TVNZ

MegaUpload founder Kim DotCom could be headed back to jail.

Authorities in New Zealand are expected to appeal last week's decision to release DotCom on bail, according to TVNZ. The U.S. government alleges that DotCom was operating MegaUpload as one of the Web's biggest criminal copyright operations and indicted him last month. He was arrested on January 19 and since then has remained in police custody.

We're certainly getting a lesson in the Kiwi legal system and this much is clear: their wheels of justice grind just as slowly or slower than ours. The MegaUpload piracy case will see at least its fourth hearing in a month and we haven't even finalized the issue of bail. Not only that, but some of the papers down there are reporting the extradition hearing to see if DotCom will be handed over to U.S. officials for trial won't get under way until August.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, which issued the indictment against DotCom (born Kim Schmitz) and six others connected to MegaUpload, could not be reached for comment.

DotCom's request for bail was rejected twice before last week's proceedings when a judge ruled that the state hadn't sufficiently proven DotCom was a flight risk. Now, after releasing DotCom, the New Zealand government will have another go.

DotCom's lawyers have argued that all of the 38-year-old's assets have been seized and he no longer has the kind of money it would take to flee New Zealand. The U.S. government alleges that it's possible he has money hidden and has tried to evade prosecution before.

MegaUpload was used by millions across the globe to store and share pirated media. DotCom said the service was used mainly to store legitimate content. The U.S. government, however, alleged recently that a search of the company's servers showed more than 90 percent of those signed up at MegaUpload never stored files there.

That suggests most people were using the service to access someone else's locker, presumably to obtain unauthorized moves, TV shows, and music. DotCom's lawyers have said that even if he committed the acts he is accused of, contributory copyright infringement is not a crime. It is a civil matter.

 

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