Dotcom, who lives in Auckland, New Zealand, has been fighting extradition ever since and launched a successor to the site, dubbed Mega, a year after the shutdown. The Wednesday ruling means that he's eligible to be sent to the United States to face charges, but Dotcom's lawyers have said he will appeal the ruling to New Zealand's High Court, a process that could take a year or more.
Still, the judge's decision is a victory for U.S. authorities and the American entertainment industry. The Department of Justice alleged Dotcom and his co-conspirators cost copyright holders such as film and record companies more than $500 million while raking in more than $175 million in profit through advertising revenue and premium membership sales.
But Dotcom's lawyers have argued that Megaupload was essentially no different from other online storage providers and couldn't be held liable for users uploading pirated material.
At its peak, Megaupload was the 13th most popular site on the Internet, the judge said. Dotcom, born as Kim Schmitz, is estimated to have earned $58 million in a single year from the business.
Throughout the legal wrangling, Dotcom has maintained a high profile -- even setting up a political party called the Internet Party (it failed to win any seats in the House of Representatives of New Zealand). And during the course of the court battles, it emerged that New Zealand investigators had illegally spied on the businessman before the 2012 raid on his home. At one point, the country's prime minister, John Key, apologized to Dotcom for "basic errors" made in the case.
But even with the recent ruling, Dotcom appears to be trying to keep his spirits up. He tweeted out this photo of his family along with the caption "[n]obody is ruining our Christmas!"