Digital Legal MegaUpload Timeline

EFF supports claim for access to Mega servers

By | Published on Monday 2 April 2012


An Ohio-based businessman has filed legal papers with a federal court in the US asking that a process be established to let him access legitimate files he had stored on MegaUpload’s servers.

As previously reported, when the US authorities took the Mega empire offline in January as well as stopping the rogue company’s customers from accessing large quantities of unlicensed music videos, movies and TV shows, they also stopped those who had used the Mega storage service to legitimately store their own content from accessing their files.

Kyle Goodwin runs a business reporting on high school sporting events in Ohio, and owns a lot of video footage from such events. As well as storing files locally, he had back ups on the Mega platform. In an unfortunate twist of fate, it seems his own local hard disk packed up at around the time Mega was forced offline, so the inaccessible Mega servers now contain the only copies of his content.

The two US-based server firms that hosted much of the Mega empire are still holding onto all the data that was previously available via the various Mega websites, but with all of the Mega company’s assets frozen, they are not being paid for that storage, which is costing thousands. American prosecutors say they no longer need access to the servers, though the Mega team’s lawyers have requested access, as have attorneys preparing a civil case against Mega on behalf of the big US movie studios.

But the question is – how to give those who need it, including customers like Goodwin who have legitimate content stored on the Mega platform, access to all that data. There are both cost and legal implications in doing so, and one of the server companies involved, Carpathia, reportedly filed legal papers of its own last week in a bid to get court approval for a process by which customers can retrieve their files before a to-be-agreed data deletion date.

Meanwhile the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing Goodwin and others affected by the sudden MegaUpload shutdown in January, has said: “The court can help make Mr Goodwin – an innocent party here – whole again. With government seizures growing, we’re likely to see more and more cases like this, where lawful customers of a cloud service lose property in a federal copyright case. We’re hoping the court will set an important precedent to protect users from overzealous government agents”.

The Foundation’s IP Director Corynne McSherry added: “Mr Goodwin has suffered a significant loss to his business, through no fault of his own. MegaUpload’s innocent users deserve an opportunity to get their important data back before it’s destroyed forever”.

Elsewhere in Mega news, the controversial digital firm’s founder Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz went back to court in New Zealand last week to try to have his bail terms altered. He wants his web-access ban to be lifted, plus permission to visit an Auckland recording studio owned by Crowded House’s Neil Finn where he is keen to complete his previously reported debut album, something I’m sure we’d all like to see finished and released if the wonderful ‘Mega Song’ is any indication of what we can expect. Local reports suggest prosecutors will only oppose the regular trips to Auckland.

As previously reported, Schmitz and three other former Mega execs are fighting extradition from New Zealand to face criminal charges relating to the Mega operation in the US. The extradition hearing is expected to take place in August.