MegaUpload, MegaVideo Files To Be Erased
Millions of subscribers to MegaUpload and MegaVideo may lose their files on the cloud storage sites by 2 February, according to the US Department of Justice (DoJ). The DoJ told MegaUpload lawyer Ira Rothken that they finished looking into the servers of MegaUpload’s storage companies (Carpathia Hosting Inc., and Cogent Communications Group Inc.,), and that the servers were not under “actual or constructive custody or control of the United States.” The DoJ advised Rothken that his clients could access the servers by contacting the host companies directly, but they had to hurry because data in the servers might be expunged by Thursday.
Rothken explained to the media that since his clients’ accounts had been frozen, they were unable to pay Carpathia and Cogent. He added that out of MegaUpload’s 150 million registered users, almost a third stand to lose their data. He also said he hoped that a deal could be negotiated to save the data.
We’re cautiously optimistic at this point that because the United States, as well as Megaupload, should have a common desire to protect consumers, that this type of agreement will get done.
Shut Down on 19 Jan, Cleaned Out on 2 Feb?
MegaUpload executives were rounded up and the site closed down on 19 January for racketeering, money laundering and copyright infringement. Bram van der Kolk, Finn Batato, Mathias Ortmann and founder Kim Dotcom (Kim Schmitz) were arrested at Kim’s mansion in Auckland, New Zealand. Van der Kolk and Batato were granted bail, while Ortmann had his bail hearing postponed. Kim Dotcom’s bail petition was denied.
The DoJ’s letter to Rothken mentioned that it copied “selected data” from the host servers, and it concluded with the ominous line:
It is our understanding that the hosting companies may begin deleting the contents of the servers beginning as early as February 2, 2012.
Not all subscribers to MegaUpload and MegaVideo are involved in copyrighted-material file-sharing; some use the services for legitimate purposes — with perfectly legal documents and videos. But law-abiding and pirate citizens alike might lose everything if the DoJ’s “understanding” proves accurate.
He Said, She Said
Carpathia issued a statement disavowing the DoJ’s letter.
Carpathia Hosting does not have, and has never had, access to the content on MegaUpload servers and has no mechanism for returning any content residing on such servers to MegaUpload’s customers. The reference to the Feb. 2, 2012 date in the Department of Justice letter for the deletion of content is not based on any information provided by Carpathia to the U.S. Government. We would recommend that anyone who believes that they have content on MegaUpload servers contact MegaUpload. Please do not contact Carpathia Hosting.
Cogent has remained mum on the issue.