Digital Legal MegaUpload Timeline Top Stories

Dotcom gets monthly allowance as future of Mega data in doubt

By | Published on Thursday 22 March 2012


A New Zealand court has granted the boss of MegaUpload a NZ$60,000 monthly living allowance, which comes in at just over £30,000. Which sounds like rather a lot of money to be getting on with, though Kim ‘Dotcom’ Schmitz’s lawyers had requested something nearer NZ$220,000 a month.

The cash will come from Schmitz’s multi-million dollar fortune, which was seized by New Zealand prosecutors at the request of the US when they also arrested four Mega executives back in January.

As previously reported, Schmitz’s lawyers are expected to demand that all their client’s money and other property be returned, because it’s turned out that prosecutors got the wrong kind of warrant from the New Zealand courts before raiding his home. It remains to be seen whether that technicality can be exploited to the Mega chief’s advantage as America’s efforts to extradite him go through the motions.

Meanwhile, back in the US, the debate continues about what will happen to the data currently stored on Mega’s old servers, which it leased from two companies, Cogent Communication and Carpathia Hosting. The latter has previously said it would hold onto that data for as long as possible, but it is looking like that might be just about this long.

According to Wired, Carpathia Hosting has filed new legal papers saying it is costing the company $9000 a day to hold onto Mega’s data, and that it is facing a $65,000 bill very soon because the servers need to be relocated because the lease on the building where they are currently stored is about to expire.

Understandably, with those costs being run up, and with Mega no longer able to pay, Carpathia is increasingly keen to wipe the one time file-transfer site’s files and release the servers to other people.

Prosecutors in the US say they no longer need the Mega files, because they have sufficient evidence for their criminal case from the sample of data they took off the Carpathia hardware, and from other Mega servers they actually seized from a site in Canada.

But Mega’s lawyers say they do want access to their client’s former data banks (to show that not all content stored there was unlicensed music and movie files), while the Motion Picture Association Of America has also requested access, to gather evidence for civil proceedings it may launch against the Mega empire, or some of its former customers.

And, of course, there’s the matter of the legitimate data. When the Mega sites were taken offline without warning, the firm’s customers lost access to files they had uploaded to the cloud storage platform. And while it’s claimed that the vast majority of said data was unlicensed music, movie or TV files, some would have been content created and owned by the uploader.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has been working to try to get former Mega customers access to their data, while some former users in Spain were threatening to go legal on the issue, though if Carpathia was to delete the Mega files, all such legal efforts to reclaim data would be redundant.

Carpathia says that it sympathises with former Mega customers, but that it is not directly involved in any of the criminal or civil action linked to the file-transfer operation, and believes that if data needs to be held onto for one reason or another, then someone else should be paying for the storage. How this turns out remains to be seen.

And finally in Mega news, Torrentfreak has reported that scammers are sending out emails claiming to be lawyers representing the major record companies and film studio Dreamworks, and threatening to sue over copyright infringement conducted over the Mega platform. Recipients are told legal action can be avoided for a one off settlement of 147 euros.

But the letters – although not dissimilar to those sent out by some smaller rights owners against suspected file-sharers, including the controversial ACS:Law letters in the UK – are 100% fake. So if you’re a former Mega infringer who gets one – don’t pay.

READ MORE ABOUT: | | | | | |