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Stakeholders respond over lost MegaUpload data – reconnection remains unlikely

By | Published on Monday 16 November 2015


Key stakeholders with an interest in the lost MegaUpload data have responded to specific questions recently posed to them by the judge tackling the issue. And what have we learned? No one has changed their position. And it would probably cost at least a million dollars to get said data back to its owners.

As previously reported, when the authorities shut down MegaUpload in 2012 amid allegations of rampant copyright infringement, subscribers using the file-transfer service to legitimately store their own content also lost access to their files without warning. Some have been trying to get that content back ever since. Though some of the servers previously used by MegaUpload have since been wiped, while others are gathering dust in a warehouse.

The US server company that was perhaps the most significant provider of web space to MegaUpload still has the machines the controversial firm used, but a new owner wants to repurpose them. It requested permission from the courts to do just that, but the Electronic Frontier Foundation, representing some of those who lost their data, objected.

The judge overseeing the mess recently asked that server firm, Carpathia, what would be involved in reconnecting the old MegaUpload servers. It responded by saying that, while the machines could be switched back on, the equipment previously used to link the servers to the net is no longer on the market, and would cost about $500,000 to buy second hand.

The cost of relocating the old machines into a new facility would then cost hundreds of thousands more, putting the total bill at a million at least, though most people involved here reckon the project would cost many millions to complete.

Predictably, the US authorities, who have shown little concern for the legit former MegaUpload users ever since the 2012 shutdown, have objected to the idea that funds seized from the defunct file-transfer firm be used to pay for the big reconnect.

US Attorney Dana Boente said prosecutors no longer needed the servers and that MegaUpload’s illicit profits should therefore not be used reconnect the machines. Boente also sited FBI filings that said the old MegaUpload servers contained some images of child abuse that should not be made available again online.

For its part, Hollywood continues to say that if any MegaUpload servers are to be turned back on, copyright infringing music and movie files should be removed first. The Motion Picture Association of America said its members “remain gravely concerned about the potential release of the copyrighted works that are stored on the … servers at issue here”.

So, everyone’s basically standing their ground on this one, meaning it looks ever more doubtful that the legit former MegaUpload users will ever get back their files. Even though that is big copyright showing an utter disregard for the intellectual property of the little guy, further damaging the credibility of copyright at large. Which means once again the entertainment industry’s bid to combat piracy has made the populace much more likely to pirate. Well done everybody.