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Should pressured NZ bow to Dotcom demands?

17 Jul 2013

Believing New Zealand to be under pressure from US authorities to hand over Kim Dotcom, a Kiwi crime expert has questioned bowing to such demands.

Wanted for alleged copyright crimes across the Pacific, the Megaupload founder is currently fighting extradition to the US, with the case drawing media attention from all ends of the globe.

But despite strong calls from the US for New Zealand to give Dotcom up, Waikato University law professor Neil Boister disputes whether the country should succumb to the pressure.

"Are we comfortable of extraditing for a case like copyright?" Boister asked the Stuff.co.nz during an interview.

"In other words, they are asking us to do things to people within our jurisdiction because they want to take them back to the United States and prosecute them.

"In South America they are very used to this - they're constantly being bombarded with these types of requests. And Canada too."

Dotcom, along with six others, has been accused of committing copyright infringement under US law, with the internet mogul set to attend an extradition hearing in August.

While admitting there was "a chance" Dotcom could be sent packing, Boister told Stuff.co.nz issues of proving "double criminality" complicates the case further.

According to US law, as long as Megaupload only provided the facilities for uploading and downloading material, and is effectively not conscious of the illegal activity, they have immunity.

But Kiwi law does not match, with Boister claiming New Zealand law still applied if the person was "conscious' of copyrighting.

"That is going to be a problem," he told Stuff.co.nz.

"Because the law of extradition requires normally that the crime for which he is being extradited, is at least criminal under similar hypothetical circumstances in New Zealand."

In an act of typical defiance, last week Dotcom beamed “United Stasi of America" on to US embassy in Berlin to condemn US surveillance practices.

Bragging “I defaced the US embassy in Berlin with a truth-projection last night. 0wned!” on Twitter, Dotcom beamed the sign on Sunday evening, following through into Monday.

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