AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Prosecutors say Kim Dotcom and his colleagues sometimes reveled in their role as “modern-day pirates,” discussed how to thwart the justice system, and joked that a judge would one day realize how “evil” they were.

The much-delayed extradition hearing for Dotcom and three others who owned or helped run the website Megaupload began in Auckland this week in a case that could have broader implications for Internet copyright rules.

Megaupload was shut down by U.S. authorities in early 2012, but not before prosecutors claim it raked in some $175 million, mainly from people who flocked to the site to illegally download movies.

Dotcom has been listening to the arguments while slowly swiveling in his black leather armchair, a concession by the judge to his bad back. Parked outside the court is a remnant from the high-rolling lifestyle Dotcom long embraced – a black Mercedes SUV with the vanity plate “kim.com.”

Federal authorities have charged Dotcom and the others with conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, racketeering and money laundering. A summary of the U.S. case is being presented by New Zealand lawyers as the U.S. attempts to extradite the men to face trial in Virginia.