What's going on with Kim Dotcom?


The Kim Dotcom case has highlighted the need for New Zealand to review its extradition laws and improve aspects of its policing.

International law specialist and Waikato University law professor Neil Boister has read the 90-page indictment and considers the case is evenly balanced in legal terms.

Meanwhile, as he fights extradition to the US, , Dotcom has made several generous gestures to win the support of the New Zealand public.

The Dotcom case will be the subject of Professor Boister's Inaugural Professorial Lecture at Waikato University next Tuesday.

"I chose my lecture topic a long time ago, thinking the Dotcom case would be all wrapped up by now," he says. "It's fascinating on many levels - how far the US and other western countries will go to maximise the protection of intellectual property, the complexity of police co-operation across borders, the man's careful play to win over the public's hearts and minds, and speculation on how the courts in New Zealand will deal with him."

In January 2012, the New Zealand Police seized Dotcom's assets and placed him in custody in response to US charges of criminal copyright infringement in relation to his Megaupload website.

Later, the police raid was deemed illegal and the courts ordered return of some of his property.

The courts cannot legally enforce a demand for the return of copies of his computer files sent to the US, and he has, after early victories thus far, lost his bid to have all the evidence against him disclosed for the purposes of the extradition hearing (which has been delayed).

Kim Dotcom has subsequently established "Mega", a cloud storage service that uses encryption to protect users from government or third party "spies"from invading users' privacy.

"The case shows how fiercely the US and other Western countries have begun to fight to maximise protection of their citizens' intellectual property from abuse on the internet, that they are calling on their allies for help, but it also shows how difficult it is to carry out successful police co-operation across borders," says Professor Boister.

He says the fallout from the case should hopefully see a change in approach to police procedure in New Zealand when co-operating with other states and the litigation process should produce a complete review by the judiciary of the working of some of the special procedures in the 1999 Extradition Act.

Professor Boister's lecture is free and open to the public. It is at 6pm Tuesday at the University of Waikato's Academy of Performing Arts.

- Hamilton News

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