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US prosecutors say former MegaUpload customers should just sue if they’ve lost data

By | Published on Tuesday 12 June 2012


Federal prosecutors in the US have responded to the recent court filing by the Electronic Frontier Foundation regards the lost MegaUpload data, and they’re still not especially keen to help those former customers of the service who lost access to their legitimately uploaded files when the feds shut down the controversial file-transfer service without warning in January.

As previously reported, the EFF is representing one filmmaker, Kyle Goodwin, who lost access to his content when MegaUpload was taken offline amidst allegations of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering. A judge reviously urged interested parties to find a voluntary solution to the problem, though with little progress made the EFF has now called on the courts to force measures on those who control access to Goodwin’s files.

Of course most of the data in limbo is sitting on servers owned by Carpathia Hosting, the US-owned server firm that hosted much of the Mega empire. Prosecutors won’t let the MegaUpload platform be switched back on for some kind of data-reclaim amnesty (and the US movie industry insists that if that did happen, its content, stored their illegally, should be deleted first). Prosecutors also won’t allow MegaUpload to reclaim seized assets to fund some kind of data-reclaim programme. Which, the EFF says, leaves Goodwin with no more options.

But not so, said prosecutors in their latest court filing last week. They aren’t stopping Goodwin from going into Carpathia’s warehouse and retrieving his data, it’s just the costs of organising such a thing – which Goodwin himself would have to pay – would be too high.

Meanwhile, if he believes either MegaUpload or Carpathia have failed in any duty, contractual or otherwise, to protect his data, Goodwin can sue the companies for damages (though of course, as prosecutors themselves have already pointed out, technically MegaUpload’s terms and conditions ensures they are not liable for lost files). So, prosecutors say, Goodwin is not currently without option or remedy, and there is, therefore, no current need for the courts to interfere. So that’s alright then. Of course you can always rely on the legal people to ignore the moral dimension.

It remains to be seen how the US courts now respond to the various parties’ latest submissions regards the lost MegaUpload data. Meanwhile Goodwin and many others are still without access to their files.