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EFF responds to server firm seeking to delete lost MegaUpload files

By | Published on Monday 24 August 2015


The Electronic Frontier Foundation has re-entered the debate over the lost MegaUpload files after the new owners of hosting company Carpathia requested permission to delete the data it is still storing from the long defunct file-transfer platform.

As much previously reported, Carpathia was one of the key providers of server space to MegaUpload before it was shutdown by the US authorities in 2012, amidst allegations of rampant copyright infringement. Ever since then, the server firm has been holding on to all the data MegaUpload customers had uploaded to its platform before the shutdown. But earlier this month the company’s new owner said it now wanted to wipe all that data, because of the cost of storing servers it is not actually able to use.

However, on those servers, in amongst all the copyright infringing music and movie files that definitely were distributed via MegaUpload, is plenty of content legitimately uploaded by users, some of whom lost access to their files – without back-ups – and without warning, all the way back in 2012.

The EFF has been representing one of those people, sports journalist Kyle Goodwin, ever since, as he desperately tries to get his content back. The judge overseeing all this has been sympathetic to Goodwin in the past, though the US authorities who instigated the MegaUpload shutdown have generally just pointed out that, under the defunct company’s terms, customers were advised to keep local back ups of files.

Meanwhile the feds – and the music and movie industries – didn’t just want MegaUpload turned back on to allow the likes of Goodwin to reclaim their files, because other users could have used that time to download all the unlicensed content stored on the servers. But no other solution for reconnecting users with legit files has ever been forthcoming from the authorities or the entertainment industry’s trade groups.

Responding to the news that Carpathia was now looking to delete all the files on the old MegaUpload servers, the EFF said on Friday: “When the government seized Megaupload’s assets and servers in January 2012, Mr Goodwin lost access to video files containing months of his professional work. Today, EFF filed a brief on behalf of Mr Goodwin asking, once again, for the return of the files”.

It went on: “Recently a new company took control of Carpathia. This new company, QTS Realty Trust, took the opportunity to remind the court that it’s still paying to store and preserve the servers that it can’t dispose of. So EFF and the firm of Williams Mullen, on behalf of Mr Goodwin, took this opportunity to remind the court that Mr Goodwin, and those like him, still need to get their files back”.

Concluding, the EFF said: “Kyle Goodwin, and others like him, did nothing but legitimately use a cloud storage service to house legal files. In Kyle’s case, it was business files, but many others lost access to personal and private information as well. We believe the time has come for those folks to get their data back. We hope the court agrees”.