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Lost MegaUpload data back in court, yet again

By | Published on Friday 21 October 2016


The long lost MegaUpload data was back in court yet again this week, as one of the defunct file-transfer site’s former users, Kyle Goodwin, continues to try to get his content back.

As much previously reported, when the US authorities shut down MegaUpload in 2012 accusing its operators of money laundering and copyright infringement, they not only cut off a ready supply of pirated music and movie content, but also disconnected legitimate users of the file-transfer platform from the files they had uploaded to it. In Goodwin’s case, that meant he lost access to a load of videos of local sporting events that he had filmed.

Those legitimate users of the service have never been reconnected with their lost data, despite some sympathy from the judge overseeing the case. For their part, the US authorities have never seemed to care much about Goodwin’s predicament, pointing out that the MegaUpload terms advised users to keep local back ups of their files.

Meanwhile the music and movie industries have always insisted that if the file-transfer platform was ever turned back on, even for a short time, all the illegal content would have to be removed first, a requirement that basically makes a temporary reactivation impractical and therefore impossible.

This isn’t a good look for the entertainment business, given that Goodwin is a fellow copyright owner who just wants to get his content back. Indeed the whole debacle suggests that, despite what their lobbyists might say, the major labels and big movie studios don’t in fact care all that much about the principle of copyright, the only thing that really matters is their copyright.

Of course, nearly fives years on, a temporary reactivation of the old MegaUpload platform is all the trickier, because some of the old servers rented by the ex-file-transfer service have already been wiped, while others are stacked gathering dust in warehouses. A company who last year bought one of MegaUpload’s main server providers, Carpathia Hosting, sought court approval to repurpose those old machines, while noting that – having sat idle for so long – there was a chance half those servers wouldn’t work properly anymore anyway.

Goodwin, supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, has filed numerous requests with the court seeking help in getting access to his lost videos. This week yet another filing was made.

Noting their client’s original 2012 motion to secure a return of his property, Goodwin’s lawyers write in their latest filing: “As a result of the government’s actions, Mr Goodwin and many other former MegaUpload users lost access to their valuable data, and that data remains inaccessible today. Mr Goodwin’s motion remains pending. Further delay may mean the complete loss of Mr Goodwin’s valuable property and that of other former MegaUpload users”.

The legal rep for MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom supports Goodwin in his bid to regain access to his old files. Ira Rothken told Torrentfreak: “MegaUpload looks forward to having the court determine whether or not the US acted appropriately by turning off all consumer access to their data stored in the cloud. The Department Of Justice should avoid elevating Hollywood interests over consumer interests and do the right thing for consumers like Kyle Goodwin who wants access to youth soccer videos he stored in the MegaUpload cloud”.