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U.S. files to extradite MegaUpload's Kim DotCom

As expected, the United States files an official request to extradite Kim DotCom, the MegaUpload founder accused of piracy and racketeering.

Kim DotCom (far right) was arrested in January but must now wait until August before an extradition hearing.
Credit: by Jonathan Skillings, CNET

As expected, the United States government has filed a request in New Zealand to extradite Kim DotCom, the founder of MegaUpload, and three associates who are also accused of criminal copyright violations.

Papers were filed with a New Zealand court today by lawyers representing the United States, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald.

DotCom was locked up in a New Zealand jail more than a month following his January 19 arrest but was released on bail nearly two weeks ago. Police raided his home and seized his assets after the United States government indicted him on criminal copyright, racketeering, and money laundering charges.

U.S. officials had 45 days after New Zealand police arrested DotCom to file an extradition application, the paper reported. This is unlikely to be a speedy process. An extradition hearing won't be held until August and at this point there's no telling how long that will last once it gets underway.

U.S. officials allege that MegaUpload made millions by enabling people from across the globe to access pirated movies, TV shows, and music. The scheme cost copyright owners $500 million in damages and is part of the biggest online piracy case ever, according to the indictment against DotCom.

DotCom says he is innocent and is a victim of U.S. law enforcement officials who are eager to placate Hollywood. In January, U.S. President Barack Obama angered many in the entertainment sector, typically a source of financial support for Democrats, when he was critical of antipiracy legislation.