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MegaUpload lawyers ask courts to restart lost data talks

By | Published on Friday 5 July 2013


Lawyers working for MegaUpload have filed new papers with the US courts requesting that new efforts be made to try and reconnect former customers of the now defunct file-transfer business with their lost data.

As much previously reported, there has been much discussion in the US since the authorities there took MegaUpload offline without warning in January 2012 as to how to allow customers who used the digital firm’s servers to store legitimate non-copyright infringing files to reclaim their content. Team Mega have repeatedly asked that some of the company’s frozen assets be made available to fund some sort of mass file-returning programme.

US prosecutors, though, haven’t seemed especially concerned about the lost data, stressing that MegaUpload’s small print cautioned users to keep local back-ups of files. Meanwhile the Hollywood studios, while having no problem with former Mega users being reunited with their legit data, have demanded that any data return initiative first filter out the copyright infringing content that many MegaUpload users were storing on the company’s servers.

US judges have been more sympathetic towards those who lost data when Mega was shut down, though have generally pushed for all involved to work together to find a solution. So far that hasn’t resulted in anything useful.

Team Mega have been motivated to push for further action in this domain following the revelation that Leaseweb, the server firm that hosted the Mega platform in Europe, had already deleted its former customer’s files. The digital company’s lawyers say that action now needs to be taken to ensure the same doesn’t happen to old Mega data stored by US service companies, mainly Carpathia Hosting.

In a new letter to the courts, MegaUpload lawyer Ira Rothken writes: “The destruction of the Leaseweb servers demonstrates the urgent need to reach a workable solution for data preservation as soon as possible, lest the 1103 servers currently in Carpathia Hostings possession meet the same fate. We therefore respectfully urge the court to reconvene the interested stakeholders and renew negotiations as quickly as the court’s schedule permits”.

The letter goes on: “While Leaseweb’s deletion of relevant evidence in the face of explicit preservation requests is inexcusable, the United States is equally culpable. The government was plainly on notice of the need to preserve the Leaseweb servers. As MegaUpload has long maintained, by freezing the defendants’ assets and denying defendants access to or possession of the servers, the government has exercised de facto control over the servers and is therefore in constructive possession of them”.

As also previously reported, there is a dispute between Leaseweb and the MegaUpload team as to what communication took place between the two firms before the former deleted the latter’s files, and what the law says about such a deletion.