Megaupload, Users Ask Court For Access To Files

When the feds shut down Megaupload for alleged copyright infringement and froze the company's assets, one of the many questions to arise was what would happen to all of the data that users had uploaded to the service.

One of the hosting companies that Megaupload worked with, Carpathia, says it's paying $9,000 a day in server costs to preserve users' photos, documents and video files. Carpathia has promised it won't delete the data without first posting notice on Megaretrieval.com -- a site it created with the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Carpathia, meanwhile, filed papers with U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Va., asking for help. It's seeking a court order allowing it to dispose of the data -- either by overwriting the files or selling the servers -- or requiring Megaupload and the government to pay for storage.

Megaupload, for its part, says data in the servers could help exonerate company executives by showing that numerous people used the service for lawful purposes. The company has filed a motion in federal court arguing that it needs material in storage to defend itself.

"In essence, the government has taken what it wants from the scene of the alleged crime and is content that the remaining evidence, even if it is exculpatory or otherwise relevant to the defense, be destroyed," Megaupload argues in papers filed on Friday. "By refusing to permit Megaupload to use its assets to mount a defense, the government is making sure that Megaupload has no practical way to preserve the evidence."

At this point, there's no telling how many people used Megaupload to store entirely lawful content. But at least some did so.

One, Kyle Goodwin, is seeking the return of data. Goodwin, who reports on high school sports in Ohio, stored videos through Megaupload, according to the digital rights group Electronic Frontier Foundation. Goodwin's own servers crashed recently, leaving him with no files other than those he sent to Megaupload, says EFF, which is representing Goodwin.

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