29th January 2005
Back when Megaupload was shut down by the US government this past January, it came into the possession of much of its data. Since then, there has been the isuse of what to do with said data. The company maintaining the servers where Megaupload's material was stored, Carpathia Hosting, has been paying to maintain this on their servers (Some 25 petabytes of data, I've read). So the company said the US government should compensate it for the costs of maintaining this, which the government refused since they felt they were involved with megaupload and should have known the risks.
The US court system, through the Eastern District of Virginia, has been pursuing this case of which the question of what to be done with the data has come up. An advocate group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, stated that Megaupload users should be free to access the data, taking the case of an individual who had used megaupload to store clips of high school football games and now can't access them after losing his originals as an example of many of the users who did not use megaupload for "illegal" purposes. RIAA and the MPAA do not want this, as they want to ensure all "illegal" content is deleted.
The US government has now said that it is fine with users retrieving the data, but must pay fees to compensate for the costs of maintaining the data and the process of finding requested data and tying ownership to them.
If Megaupload Users Want Their Data, They're Going to Have to Pay By Jeremy Kirk, IDG-News-Service:Sydney-Bureau
U.S. federal prosecutors are fine with Megaupload users recovering their data -- as long as they pay for it.
File-Sharing Site MegaUpload Indicted for Internet Piracy, Shut Down by US Megaupload Legal Troubles Send Shudders Through Cyberlocker Community The government's position was explained in a court filing on Friday concerning one of the many interesting side issues that has emerged from the shutdown of Megaupload, formerly one of the most highly trafficked file-sharing sites.
Prosecutors were responding to a motion filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in late March on behalf of Kyle Goodwin, an Ohio-based sports reporter who used Megaupload legitimately for storing videos.
Goodwin's hard drive crashed, and he lost access to the data he backed up on Megaupload when the site was shut down on Jan. 19 on criminal copyright infringement charges.
U.S. law allows for third parties who have an interest in forfeited property to make a claim. But the government argues that it only copied part of the Megaupload data and the physical servers were never seized.
Megaupload's 1,103 servers -- which hold upwards of 28 petabytes of data -- are still held by Carpathia Hosting, the government said.
"Access is not the issue -- if it was, Mr. Goodwin could simply hire a forensic expert to retrieve what he claims is his property and reimburse Carpathia for its associated costs," the response said. "The issue is that the process of identifying, copying, and returning Mr. Goodwin's data will be inordinately expensive, and Mr. Goodwin wants the government, or Megaupload, or Carpathia, or anyone other than himself, to bear the cost."
The government also suggested that if Megaupload or Carpathia violated a term of service or contract, Goodwin could "sue Megaupload or Carpathia or recover his losses."
The issue of what to do with Megaupload's data has been hanging around for a while. Carpathia contends it costs US$9,000 a day to maintain. Megaupload's assets are frozen, so it has asked a court to make the DOJ pay for preserving the data, which may be needed for its defense. So far, the issue remains unresolved.
Meanwhile, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is free on bail, living in his rented home near Auckland and awaiting extradition proceedings to begin in August. Dotcom along with Finn Batato, Julius Bencko, Sven Echternach, Mathias Ortmann, Andrus Nomm and Bram Van Der Kolk are charged with criminal copyright infringement and money laundering.
The men -- along with two companies -- are accused of collecting advertising and subscription fees from users for faster download speeds of material stored on Megaupload. Prosecutors allege the website and its operators collected US$175 million in criminal proceeds, costing copyright holders more than $500 billion in damages to copyright holders.
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A former New York Judge has offered his services to the EFF]The Escapist : News : Former Judge Joins Fight to Release Megaupload Data to try and retrieve this data in the most fair way to those who had used the service.
It's all an interesting problem I think- what to do with the data? Notwithstanding whether the US overstepped its boundaries shutting down the site (after all the mess with SOPA/PIPA too...), what is to be done with all this data?