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US government says former MegaUpload servers ain’t its problem

By | Published on Wednesday 2 September 2015


Should the US government take over responsibility for the servers that contain lost MegaUpload data? That is today’s big question. And the answer? Oh no. Just no. Not at all. Never. Not ever. Not in any way. Not in the least. Not on your life. Fuck no. No no no no no no no. No. Or at least that’s what the US government says. More or less.

Quick recap, when the American authorities shutdown MegaUpload over allegations of rampant and deliberate copyright infringement in 2012, all the servers hosting the popular file and video transfer platform were taken offline. Some have since been wiped, while others – including those owned by Carpathia Hosting in the US – are still gathering dust in a shed.

While many MegaUpload users did use the controversial service to access and share copyright infringing music and movies, some used it as a cloud storage facility for their own non-infringing files, and they too lost access to their content and data during the 2012 shutdown.

Hollywood has long said those people can have their files back as long as any copyright infringing material is removed first. Though, given the scale of the former MegaUpload operation, that’s hardly practical. The US government, meanwhile, has basically persisted with a big fat “fuck you” to the people who lost legitimate files during the MegaUpload raid.

This is all news again, of course, because the new owner of Carpathia Hosting wants to finally wipe the old MegaUpload machines, so it can repurpose the hardware and stop paying rent on a shed full of servers it can’t use. Which seems fair enough. But what about all that lost legit data?

As previously reported, lawyers representing the former MegaUpload management suggested the US government should buy and store the servers, until pending criminal and civil action against the defunct company and its directors reaches court. Those lawyers argue not only that former MegaUpload customers should ultimately get their content back, but also that the Carpathia servers may contain evidence useful for their client’s defence.

But in its latest court filing, the US government is having none of it. It’s got all the evidence it needs off the old MegaUpload servers, it says, and it doesn’t really care what now happens to those machines.

United States Attorney Dana Boente writes: “The government has already completed its acquisition of data from the Carpathia servers authorised by the warrant, which the defendants will be entitled to during discovery. As such, there is no basis for the court to order the government to assume possession of the Carpathia servers or reimburse Carpathia for ‘allocated costs’ related to their continued maintenance”.

Concluding, Boente told the court, according to Torrentfreak: “The United States continues to request that the court deny any effort to impose unprecedented financial or supervisory obligations on the United States related to the Carpathia Servers”.

For its part, Hollywood trade group the MPAA has again stressed that it has no opinion on any legit content stored on the disconnected servers, but that it wants to ensure that “MPAA members’ content on the Mega servers in Carpathia’s possession” does not fall back “into the hands of MegaUpload or otherwise enter the stream of commerce”.

Which basically means that all parties – the feds, Hollywood, MegaUpload and the affected former users of the file-transfer service – all remain in their respective corners unwilling to change their position on any of this. Meanwhile, a judge will have to decide once again what to do with all those old servers, and whether forcing Carpathia to continue paying for their existence is the lesser of various evils.

As previously noted, however strong the infringement case may be against MegaUpload and its former management, and however ‘mega’ the damages may be that the music and movie industries ultimately secure from their respective civil actions against the former file-transfer business, this “fuck you” attitude towards the people who lost their content in 2012 is incredibly damaging for the very concept of copyright. When lawmakers and corporate rights owners show zero respect for the copyright material of the little guy, how can they ever expect any respect whatsoever in return for their big business copyrights? They can’t. And they won’t get it. Idiots.