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Fourth Circuit refuses to intervene in fight to regain lost MegaUpload data

By | Published on Wednesday 10 May 2017


The Fourth Circuit court of appeal in the US has refused to intervene on behalf of a former MegaUpload user who is still trying to get back the files he lost when the US authorities shut down the often controversial file-transfer platform over five years ago.

As much previously reported, when the US authorities shut down MegaUpload in 2012 on copyright grounds, as well as cutting off access to mountains of pirated material, some people lost access to the files they legitimately stored on the now defunct company’s servers.

In the main the American authorities have shown little concern over those caught in the crossfire during their big assault on MegaUpload, noting that the file-transfer firm’s small print urged users to keep local back-ups of their files. Meanwhile the entertainment industry, which pushed for the shutdown, has put various barriers in place that have, in practical terms, stopped small-time copyright owners from retrieving their files.

The former MegaUpload user who has fought hardest to regain access to his files is video-maker Kyle Goodwin who is backed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The district court overseeing the whole thing has been more sympathetic, but to date hasn’t forced the US authorities to reconnect legitimate former MegaUpload users like Goodwin to their content.

To that end, last month the EFF took the matter to a higher court, the Fourth Circuit, seeking a so called ‘writ of mandamus’, which is where a superior court instructs a junior court to act. However, the Fourth Circuit has now said that such a writ would not be appropriate in this case.

The appeals court wrote: “Although, as Mr Goodwin points out, his motion for return of property has been pending for a significant period of time without decision, we do not find on this record that the district court has refused to adjudicate the matter. Accordingly, the petition for writ of mandamus is denied without prejudice”.

Responding to the decision, the EFF’s Senior Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz told TorrentFreak: “We’re disappointed that the appeals court refused to step in to get this case moving. Kyle Goodwin and many others have been waiting five years to get their data back, and soon it might be unrecoverable. We will continue asking the district court to act on Mr Goodwin’s request”.