The Electronic Frontier Foundation announced Tuesday that it would try to help users retrieve data from the file sharing website MegaUpload.com, which was shut down by the FBI on January 19 because of alleged copyright infringement.
“EFF is troubled that so many lawful users of Megaupload.com had their property taken from them without warning and that the government has taken no steps to help them,” said Julie Samuels, Staff Attorney at EFF. “We think it’s important that these users have their voices heard as this process moves forward.”
The site was used to illegally share TV shows, movies and other content, but it was also used for legitimate reasons, such as sharing work documents, research and other files.
Carpathia Hosting, the company that owned the site’s servers, has created the website www.MegaRetrieval.com to help users in the United States work with EFF to investigate their options for retrieving their legitimate files from Megaupload.
The company does not have access to the content on Megaupload’s former servers, but they hope their new site will help drive awareness that Megaupload customers can seek legal assistance from the EFF.
“Carpathia does not have access to any data for Megaupload customers,” said Brian Winter, Chief Marketing Officer of Carpathia Hosting. “We support the EFF and their efforts to help those users that stored legitimate, non-infringing files with Megaupload retrieve their data.”
The owners of MegaUpload claimed to work with copyright enforcement agencies to remove infringing material and said they complied with Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notices. But prosecutors said they were not diligent enough and sometimes illegally shared files themselves. The prosecutors labelled the site a “mega conspiracy” that cost copyright holders $500 million by offering pirated content.
“In exchange for payment, the Mega Conspiracy provides fast reproduction and distribution of infringing copies of copyrighted works from its servers located around the world,” the indictment said.
Seven of MegaUpload’s founders and employees have been charged with online piracy crimes. The charges include copyright infringement as well as conspiracies to commit racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering.
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