A New Zealand judge gave permission on Tuesday for the hearing of German tech entrepreneur Kim Dotcom’s appeal against his extradition to be streamed on YouTube, making it the country’s first court case to be broadcast on the Internet.
The six-week hearing opened in Auckland this week, nine months after a lower court ruled Kim Dotcom could be sent to the United States to face copyright infringement and money-laundering charges over the filesharing website Megaupload.
The case has been closely watched by the media industry and developers in the file-sharing business for signs of how far the United States is willing to go to protect U.S. copyright holders.
“It’s very important that the entire world gets to see the courtroom,” said Dotcom’s lawyer, Ira Rothken. “The Internet isn’t run by any one nation, so we thought the solution itself would come from the Internet.”
Dotcom was arranging for a videographer to start recording the proceedings from Wednesday, the lawyer added. They will appear on Youtube with a 20-minute time lag to ensure removal of any material suppressed by the court.
The judge ordered the stream to be taken down at the end of the hearing.
New Zealand government prosecutors, who are representing the United States, had argued against the live streaming.
The government law office did not immediately respond to a request for comment but a spokeswoman on Monday said it was not appropriate to comment while the matter was before the courts.
Media reported that the lawyers had argued on behalf of the U.S. that live streaming could be prejudicial, as submissions made in the New Zealand court could be inadmissible in a future trial in the United States.Legal experts believe the live streaming of an entire hearing will be a first in New Zealand, although domestic media sometimes film brief snatches of courtroom argument.
Since the stream is on a 20 minute delay, the audio is looping, but it's in sync with itself, so it's extremely hard to follow!