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Lessig to NZ court: Dotcom charges would fail in the US

Presidential hopeful weighs into extradition case

By Richard Chirgwin, 17 Sep 2015

Harvard professor, Creative Commons father, and US presidential hopeful Lawrence Lessig has adopted Kim Dotcom as a cause.

He's filed an affidavit (picked up by New Zealand's National Business Review) with the District Court at North Shore, Auckland, in which he says the Megaupload founder and deluded self-proclaimed pop star can't be extradited to America, because he hasn't committed an extraditable offence.

Lessig's affidavit says the accusations of copyright infringement made directly against Dotcom and his pals are generalised, contain “defective and irrelevant allegations”, and would not satisfy the requirements of criminal evidence.

In particular, Lessig says in this open letter, a successful extradition would have to rest on the FBI proving that Dotcom was part of a conspiracy.

On the conspiracy charge, Lessig is scathing.

“There is no showing of specific criminal 'willful' infringements committed by specific individual users. There is an even more serious lack of evidence of communications between respondents and such alleged users needed to prove an agreement that is subject to laws of conspiracy.”

“A crime of conspiracy requires an agreement with criminal infringers. No such agreement is shown,” Lessig says in his pro-bono offering to the Dotcom cause.

Moreover, Lessig states, the US constitution “prohibits the United States DOJ from prosecuting, as they apparently want to here, a new kind of criminal conspiracy based on defendants providing an “environment of infringement” or their failing to disable all links to an allegedly infringing copy”.

The Department of Justice allegations “do not meet the requirements necessary to support a prima facie case that would be recognised by United States federal law”, he adds.

Kim Dotcom, along with fellow-accused Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, and Finn Batato were hauled in by New Zealand police in January 2012 on a complaint lodged by the FBI.

The US reckons Megaupload generated US$175 million through copyright infringement. ®

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