Redacting names in Dotcom case 'unfair'

  • 28/09/2015
Kim Dotcom (AAP)
Kim Dotcom (AAP)

The redaction of names in evidence for the extradition of Kim Dotcom is unfair and leaves the internet entrepreneur unable to properly defend himself, his lawyers have told a court.

Judge Nevin Dawson is hearing evidence in Auckland District Court on whether Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Finn Batato and Bram van der Kolk should be surrendered to US authorities.

Dubbed the "Mega Conspiracy" by the FBI, US authorities allege the four made US$175 million by facilitating and encouraging piracy on their file storage website, Megaupload, and related sites.

Today, Christine Gordon QC, acting for US authorities, described the elaborate way in which the men knowingly paid users to upload copyright-breaching files to their site.

She told the court about several anonymous users whose accounts had drawn thousands of complaints from copyright holders, only to be suspended temporarily and then paid out later for the traffic they drew to the website.

The FBI claims between 2006 and 2011 more than $3 million was paid in total to uploaders in the scheme - some who had nothing but illegal material on their accounts.

Ms Gordon said the site then charged other users to view the full infringing material through premium memberships.

"Don't you think copyright holders will now get extra pissed?" Van der Kolk was quoted as asking Ortmann.

But Dotcom's New Zealand lawyer, Ron Mansfield, objected during the evidence, saying the fact the names of the users were redacted meant there was no proper way to reply.

"I'm just inquiring whether now the US is prepared to identify the users so we are at least in the position of knowing who the users are and making some inquiry in relation to these conversations," he said.

"In my submission it's unfair that the identities of relevant parties are being withheld."

Judge Dawson said the respondents would be able to make their replies once the US had finished.

The four men face charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering, conspiracy to commit money laundering, wire fraud and two kinds of criminal copyright infringement based on an FBI investigation going back to 2010.

If extradited and found guilty in the US, they face decades of jail time.

NZN