A small business owner who used Megaupload's cloud-based storage system as part of his daily operations has asked a federal court to establish a process that would allow him and other lawful Megaupload users to get their files back. The procedure would help rectify the collateral damage caused by the government's seizure of Megaupload.com as part of a copyright infringement investigation.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) represents Kyle Goodwin, who runs a business reporting on high school sporting events in Ohio. Goodwin stored his video footage on Megaupload's servers as a backup to his hard drive. In January, the FBI shut down Megaupload.com and executed search warrants on the company's servers, locking out all Megaupload customers in the process. When Goodwin's hard drive crashed, he could not get access to any of his own video files, which he needed to conduct his business.
"The court can help make Mr. Goodwin - an innocent party here - whole again," said EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels.
"With government seizures growing, we're likely to see more and more cases like this, where lawful customers of a cloud service lose property in a federal copyright case.
We're hoping the court will set an important precedent to protect users from overzealous government agents."
Megaupload was leasing some of its servers from hosting company Carpathia, and after the government finished its examination of the servers, it told Carpathia it was free to delete the contents. This week, Carpathia moved for a protective order that would allow for an approved procedure for customers to retrieve their files before deletion. The brief EFF filed today was in support of that motion, urging the judge to expedite the return of rightful property to Goodwin and other lawful Megaupload users.
"Mr. Goodwin has suffered a significant loss to his business, through no fault of his own." said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry.
"Megaupload's innocent users deserve an opportunity to get their important data back before it's destroyed forever."
EFF was assisted by co-counsel Abraham Sofaer of the Hoover Institution and John Davis of Williams Mullen.
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