In January 2012, the FBI shut down Megaupload, a file-sharing site, and accused its founder, Kim Dotcom (that’s his legal name), of copyright infringement, racketeering, and money laundering. Dotcom was in New Zealand at the time of the raid, and there he has remained ever since. On Monday, after three years of legal wrangling, Dotcom—and three of his associates—faced an extradition hearing that could see him sent to the U.S. to face trial.
As you might expect with an Internet millionaire who goes by the name Kim Dotcom, it’s not a straightforward affair. As NPR pointed out soon after Dotcom’s arrest, the entrepreneur “has been fighting both a legal war and a public relations war against the U.S. government and he’s become a kind of patron saint of those in favor of a free Internet.” He continued that battle before Monday’s proceedings:
This case is not just about me. This case is about how much control we allow US corporations and the US government to have over the Internet— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) September 20, 2015
The judges on this case can become the champions for billions of Internet users or a handful of US content billionaires. #Hope— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) September 20, 2015
I love the Internet. I will continue to fight for you.— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) September 20, 2015
U.S. official say Dotcom and his associates generated $175 million by allowing users to share and store copyrighted material on Megaupload.