Kim Dotcom court stream goes live

12:24 pm on 31 August 2016

A video stream of Kim Dotcom's appeal against extradition is now online - it is the first time a New Zealand court case has been livestreamed.

Watch the live stream here

Kim Dotcom awaits the outcome of his extradition hearing.

Kim Dotcom plans to livestream the entire six-week hearing against his and three other men's extradition. Photo: RNZ/Diego Opatowski

The US wants to extradite Mr Dotcom and three other men - Bram Van der Kolk, Matthias Ortmann and Finn Batato - to face criminal charges of money laundering and copyright breaches related to the defunct file-sharing website Megaupload.

A district court ruled last December that the men were eligible for extradition and the men's appeal against that ruling began on Monday.

Yesterday, Justice Murray Gilbert granted Mr Dotcom's request to livestream the entire six-week hearing on YouTube.

The stream - which has a 20-minute broadcast delay - went online just after 10am, when the court hearing resumed.

The hearing is being filmed by a cameraman hired by Mr Dotcom.

Justice Gilbert ruled that the case could only be livestreamed and any footage would be removed as soon as the hearing was over.

The ruling was an interim one and could be challenged at any time if unforeseen problems came up, he said.

Mr Dotcom's lawyer Ron Mansfield told the court earlier this week that the issues being discussed could set both national and international legal precedents.

"This is a case of the internet age and as such has attracted significant academic and media interest," Mr Mansfield said.

"However ... the chances of such interest being satisfied by the necessarily brief footage aired by television or radio is negligible."

The Crown, on behalf of the US, opposed the application.

A livestream could pollute a potential jury pool in the United States if the men ended up standing trial there, Crown lawyer Christine Gordon said.

"There will be extensive submissions made in this court about matters that may well be inadmissible and irrelevant in any future trial," she said.

"If those are reported or livestreamed in the way proposed, there's a very real potential for a prejudicial effect."

Crown lawyers have argued on behalf of the US that Megaupload was a "simple scheme of fraud" that wilfully breached copyright on a huge scale by hosting illegally-created movie, music and software files. The site aided and abetted users who uploaded popular illegal files by paying them financial rewards, the US said.

Mr Dotcom's lawyers argued Megaupload was set up as a legitimate file-storing site, and there were a large number of people who were using it for that purpose. They said their client could not be held responsible for the illegal actions of some users.

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