Kim Dotcom’s hearing will be the first-ever New Zealand case to be live-streamed over the internet after a judge granted the tech entrepreneur’s request.
The hearing which will be live streamed on YouTube starting today will determine whether Dotcom will be extradited to the US to face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering.
Through his Megaupload site which was seized and shuttered in 2012, Dotcom is said to have cost copyright holders more than US$500m while pocketing US$175m himself from subscription fees.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Dotcom’s lawyer Ira Rothken said that the approval of the livestream is “democracy at its finest.”
“It provides everybody in the world with a seat in the gallery of the New Zealand courtroom,” Rothken said.
The hearing in Auckland comes nine months after a lower court ruled that a court could decide whether to send Dotcom to the US.
Prosecutors from New Zealand who are representing the United States had argued against the live stream saying that it could possibly make materials submitted in the New Zealand trial inadmissible in future trials in the US.
Dotcom’s lawyer, however, revealed that the live stream will have a 20-minute delay to exclude any material the court would like to suppress.
The approval is seen as a significant win for the Dotcom camp which seeks to build support from an international audience that an internet livestream gives access to. Dotcom has been vocal about what he says is incompetence from evidence gathering to the cases filed against him.
Dotcom has said on Twitter that the livestream is “breaking new ground”.
If found guilty, Dotcom faces up to 20 years in prison.