Megaupload's Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk jailed for role in Kim Dotom's online million-dollar scheme

Kim Dotcom is now the last man standing as he fights the world's biggest copyright case, over the now-defunct file-sharing website MegaUpload.

It comes as Dotcom's former colleagues were sentenced at the High Court in Auckland on Thursday for their part in what was a massive criminal operation.

It's been more than a decade since police raided Dotcom's Auckland mansion, trying to take MegaUpload down. 

The two men who helped him build the site now admit it was a large-scale illegal enterprise.

On Thursday, they copped the consequences. 

Justice Sally Fitzgerald sentenced Mathias Ortmann to two years seven months and Bram van der Kolk to two years six months in prison. 

Ortmann and van der Kolk pleaded guilty to a raft of charges including participating in an organised criminal group and conspiracy to commit fraud, related to their part as shareholders and coders at the site. 

MegaUpload allowed users to share files containing popular songs, movies and TV shows - completely bypassing any payment to those who made and owned the content. 

"The actual cost to copyright holders pushes up through the hundreds of millions of dollars, probably into the billions of dollars," Crown prosecutor David Bodt said.

Lawyer for the defence Grant Illingworth KC said it was a large-scale operation.

"It was a large-scale operation and that's acknowledged in the fact. What we're talking about is the reference to billions of dollars in damage which is an add-on that has not been quantified in any expert way," Illingworth said. 

While the Crown and defence disagree over the scale of the victim's losses, what they both accept is that over its seven-year life, billions of files were shared on MegaUpload. It acted as an archive of the world's most sought-after content and made millions in profit each month.

By finally pleading guilty in New Zealand, the pair has avoided extradition to the US, and crucially they've been helping US investigators. 

"It is all part of the ongoing investigation, which relates to Mr Dotcom and other offenders who they're still seeking," NZ Police intercept technology operation manager Stuart Mills said.

Eleven years since the dawn raid aimed at squashing MegaUpload, Thursday's sentencing leaves Dotcom to fight extradition alone in the courts, with his two former friends possibly bolstering the United States' case against him.