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Dotcom: Extradition treaty not for copyright infringement

It is not possible to find Dotcom guilty of wire fraud under the legal definitions of both the US and NZ, with the extradition treaty also not covering copyright infringement, according to his lawyers.

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom has argued that he cannot be extradited to the United States on copyright infringement charges, because the treaty between the US and New Zealand was not intended for this purpose, and both the US Supreme Court and NZ legislation state that copyright infringement does not constitute wire fraud.

Ron Mansfield, the lawyer representing Dotcom in the ongoing extradition trial in Auckland District Court, on Tuesday accused the US of wilfully excluding from its case the fact that the US Supreme Court has ruled several times that copyright infringement does not constitute wire fraud, the primary charge on which they hope to extradite Dotcom.

Regardless of whether it does amount to wire fraud, however, Mansfield also pointed out that the time limitation has expired on one of the criminal copyright infringement charges brought against Dotcom, with the other charges not aimed personally at him.

Dotcom had on Monday argued that New Zealand's Copyright Act precludes ISPs from being prosecuted for the alleged copyright breaches of their end users.

"It's an attempt to create criminal liability when none exists," Dotcom's legal team said.

Dotcom has been enmeshed in a legal and political saga since he was arrested and his Auckland home was raided in early 2012 as a result of his activities and involvement with founding website Megaupload, which facilitated the infringement of copyright material online and allegedly earned him around $175 million.

He continues to face extradition to the United States on charges of copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and wire fraud.

The latter charges could see him extradited to the US, though they are dependent on whether Dotcom is found to have facilitated copyright infringement -- which is not a criminal offence in New Zealand.

"Categorically, there is no case to answer under US law," Mansfield argued.

"Unless the United States can show an offence of criminal secondary copyright infringement in the United States as a matter of law, this court must reject this application for surrender."

The lawyer concluded that the extradition treaty between the two nations had also not been intended for the purpose of policing copyright infringement.

"That's the end of the story, really," he said.

On Monday, Dotcom argued that US authorities had deliberately mistranslated statements he made in German in order to create a case against him.

While the US law-enforcement agencies have declined to provide the original text used by the German-born Dotcom, they had claimed that Dotcom stated: "At some point, a judge will be convinced how evil we are, and then we are in trouble."

This "evil" quote was used in dozens of news articles worldwide and by the FBI to build a case against Dotcom.

Dotcom, on the other hand, said the correct translation was conversely: "Because at some stage a judge will be talked into how bad we allegedly are, and then we will be a mess."

Dotcom's lawyers also accused the US authorities of "contorting" legal definitions to twist copyright infringement into meaning fraud.

If extradited to the US and found guilty of the charges in that jurisdiction, Dotcom could face multiple decades in jail.

The New Zealand government apologised to Dotcom in 2012 for illegally spying on him, and, in 2013, he launched Mega, an encrypted cloud storage service that positioned itself as a privacy product.

In July, Dotcom claimed that Mega had fallen victim to a hostile takeover by a Chinese investor who is facing fraud charges in China, with the New Zealand government thereby seizing the investor's shares and gaining control of the company.

"As a result of this and a number of other confidential issues, I don't trust Mega any more," Dotcom said. "I don't think your data is safe on Mega any more."

Mega refuted these claims, however, labelling them "defamatory" and untrue.

"More than 75 percent of shareholders have supported recent equity issues, so there has not been any 'hostile takeover', contrary to Mr Dotcom's assertion," Mega said.

"Those shareholders who have decided not to subscribe to recent issues have been diluted accordingly. That has been their choice."

Last week, Dotcom announced plans to launch an alternative, non-IP based internet called Meganet, which he claimed would be secure from even government surveillance.

"I wanted to create a solution that replaces the current infrastructure that is so flawed and fragile, so I started work two years ago on my alternative internet, Meganet," he said at SydStart 2015.

"The way it works is pretty astonishing, because if you don't have IP addresses, you can't hack the server, you can't perform a denial-of-service attack on websites, or gaming services, and you can't take an entire site and services offline anymore. Most importantly, it is very difficult for governments to invade on our privacy.

"This entire network that I'm working on is fully encrypted, and the way it works is really a network from the people, for the people."

Dotcom's extradition hearing began late last month.

With AAP