A judge has today ruled Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants are eligible for extradition. Here's what you need to know:
1. Kim Dotcom set up Megaupload in 2004 and launched it in 2005 based on an idea that sending links to files was less bandwidth intensive than sending the actual files. By the end of 2011, the Hong Kong-based business claimed it accounted for 4 per cent of total internet traffic, had 50m visitors a day and was the 13th most popular site on the internet.
2. Megaupload grew to offer video and music content - and offered reward payments to those who uploaded the most popular content. Almost entirely, the most popular content was copyrighted. The defendants say users were told not to upload copyrighted material and that a takedown service was offered to copyright holders who wanted their content removed. The US says the company was based on copyright violation.
3. Dotcom came to New Zealand with a chequered past, which he declared when seeking residency under a new government scheme to attract wealthy foreigners. He had convictions for hacking and insider trading, both of which had been wiped under Germany's clean slate act. His residency was granted by Immigration NZ in December 2010 after consultation with minister Jonathan Coleman. It later emerged Immigration NZ did so despite learning from the Security Intelligence Service that Dotcom was under investigation by the FBI.
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4. Dotcom has been considered for deportation from New Zealand on two occasions. His residency was immediately under review when he disclosed fresh sharetrading charges from Hong Kong. A deportation investigation was carried out, with the final decision to be made by Dr Coleman. It was decided Dotcom would not be deported, although Dr Coleman has never explain why. The Herald revealed he had not disclosed a dangerous driving conviction from NZ in 2009, even though his residency application obliged him to do so. After 15 months of investigation, no decision has been reached.
5. Dotcom and two others staying at his north Auckland mansion were arrested in a dramatic police raid involving New Zealand's elite anti-terrorist police unit and dozens of other officers. Court battles over the raid and the police involvement revealed inadequate search warrants and the illegal actions of the Government Communications Security Bureau - New Zealand's partner to the US National Security Agency. The revelation triggered an overhaul of NZ's intelligence agencies which is still going. Various strands of the case have gone to the Supreme Court, with the original extradition hearing delayed on more than 10 occasions.
6. There are multiple strands to the court case, including a damages case by Dotcom and one other defendant against the GCSB. Hollywood has also fought back, taking action to restrain and seize any of Dotcom's wealth. Megaupload pulled in an enormous amount of money for its owners in 2010, with Dotcom earning $40m that year. The US government has cited $226m damages in relation to copyright infringement.
7. Dotcom and his co-accused launched the Mega cloud storage service a year after the raid, in January 2013. It offered users a cloud storage service which end-to-end encryption. Dotcom raised $30m selling his shares in the business and made another $10m selling shares in the Baboom music site. The money was gone by November 2014.
8. Dotcom has consistently pushed claims of a conspiracy by the Hollywood lobbyist, the Motion Picture Association of America, to have Megaupload destroyed. He claims the chairman of the MPAA, Chris Dodd, used connections with US Vice President Joe Biden to have the Department of Justice and FBI go after his company.
9. The United States stepped up action towards copyright violation in 2010 with the creation of an Intellectual Property plan that rated the issue as one of national security. The moves were in line with MPAA lobbying which described Hollywood and its film industry as an economic cornerstone of the US. The US formed a federal task force go after filesharing websites considered to be flouting copyright law for their own benefit - and a target list of websites considered to be in violation of copyright law.
10. Only one of the seven accused has been convicted. Andrus Nomm - paid $80,000 a year to work for Megaupload - was the most junior of those indicted by the US government. He cut a plea deal this year, has served his prison sentence and has since been released. His testimony has been used in the case against his former workmates. One other is in Germany, from where he cannot be extradited on Megaupload-related charges, and a second is believed to be in Estonia, which has no extradition agreement with the US.