The United States' chief prosecutor has denied that its investigation
into the Megaupload file-sharing site on charges of online piracy is an
example of Washington bowing to Hollywood pressure.
During a visit to
New Zealand, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder also said that he saw no
reason why Kim Dotcom, the founder of the defunct site who lives in New
Zealand, should not be extradited to the United States to face charges
of facilitating massive piracy of copyrighted music and movies.
not true," Holder told Radio New Zealand, when asked to respond to
Dotcom's claims that Hollywood moguls are pressuring Washington to
target file-sharing sites, which can house pirated content uploaded and
downloaded by individual users.
"(The case) was brought on the
basis of facts, on the basis of law, and it is consistent with the
enforcement priorities that this administration has had," he said.
United States began a criminal copyright case against Dotcom in January
2012. At Washington's request, New Zealand law enforcement officers
conducted a dramatic raid on his mansion outside Auckland.
to have him sent to the United States for trial were delayed after a
New Zealand court last year found that New Zealand used unlawful
warrants in his arrest and illegally spied on him in the lead-up to the
An extradition hearing is scheduled for August, although it
could be delayed by further appeals. Holder said he expected Dotcom to
be extradited to the United States, adding that he was happy with the
level of cooperation with New Zealand authorities on the case.
are things which are working their way through the New Zealand court
system, but we've had good communications, and I think at the end of the
day, there will be an appropriate result," he said.
six associates face U.S. charges that they conspired to infringe
copyrights, launder money and commit racketeering and fraud.
copyright case could set a precedent for internet liability laws and,
depending on its outcome, may force entertainment companies to rethink
their distribution methods.
Dotcom maintains that Megaupload,
which housed everything from family photos to Hollywood blockbusters,
was merely a storage facility for online files, and should not be held
accountable if content stored on the site was obtained illegally.
U.S. Justice Department counters that Megaupload encouraged piracy by
paying money to users who uploaded popular content and by deleting
content that was not regularly downloaded.
Holder is visiting New
Zealand this week for a meeting of attorneys general from the United
States, New Zealand, Australia, Britain, and Canada.
© Thomson Reuters 2013