On Monday, a judge in New Zealand upheld a ruling handled down earlier by a court that Kim Dotcom the internet entrepreneur and three colleagues of his could be extradited to face criminal charges in the United States.
This decision was handed down five years after authorities from the U.S. shutdown the file-sharing site of Dotcom’s known as Megaupload and in turn filed charges of racketeering, conspiracy and money laundering against the four men. If they are found guilty, the four could spend decades behind bars.
Dotcom had fought extradition in this case which has moved very slowly since the start. Monday’s decision will not be the last one, with this case likely to be immediately appealed to the Supreme Court of New Zealand which could take as many as two more years to complete.
Prosecutors in the U.S. say that the website took in more than $175 million for the most part from people who used it to download TV shows, movies and songs illegally.
A district court in New Zealand ruled back in 2015 that Dotcom and the three others were eligible to be extradited on all charges.
On Monday the judged found that the lower court had made some mistakes in the ruling it made but that did not alter the full picture.
After the decision, Dotcom tweeted that they had won but still lost.
Ron Mansfield the attorney for Dotcom said that the high court had agreed with most of their appeal, such as copyright infringement alone was no an offense that warranted extradition, but erred when it found that the men could be extradited on charges of conspiracy.
Mansfield said they were disappointed that it did not end in the high court, but it added they feel they are only one step from winning it outright.
He added that they were determined to maintain their fight as there are more legal issues to be played.
Prosecutors in the U.S. argue the site cost holders of copyrights, which include major Hollywood movie studios, over $500 million.
Prosecutors said that intercepted communications showed that the men had been talking about being evil and modern day pirates and they had been part of a conspiracy to profit by infringing on copyrights.
Dotcom has argued that he cannot be held responsible for those who chose to use the site to illegally download things and that a case against him should be in civil court.