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Hollywood lawyers oppose returning reporter’s files taken in Megaupload raid

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 15:50 EDT
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Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom in a music video he released on YouTube.
 
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This week, an Ohio sports reporter found himself at the epicenter of the legal fallout over the seizure of Megaupload, a cloud storage business that was taken down by force in January at the request of the U.S. government, which accused the site of running the biggest criminal copyright operation in history.

Kyle Goodwin, however, says he had nothing to do with that and just wants his files back. Goodwin, who runs a student sports website called OhioSportsNet, is just one of more than 50 million Megaupload users who abruptly lost access to their personal property when the site was seized, no matter whether that property was legitimately owned or not.

In a court filing on Tuesday, attorneys for the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) told the federal judge in Virginia who is hearing Goodwin’s case that giving former Megaupload users access to their property may only serve to “compound the massive infringing conduct” they claim transpired behind the scenes.

In a brief filed Tuesday by MPAA lawyers, however, a new argument came out. Even though Goodwin says he’s the owner of every file attached to his former account, the MPAA claimed that he used clips of copyrighted music in videos he put together of student athletes.

There’s likely another reason why the government doesn’t want U.S. law enforcement spending time sifting through Megaupload’s remains: the servers are said to host more than 25 petabytes of data, or roughly 25 million gigabytes — which the government says would take more than 22,000 hours to sort out by hand.

The Department of Justice previously argued that Megaupload’s files should not be returned to users because there may be child pornographysomewhere on the servers, although defense attorneys said that claim actually makes the case for preserving the data for investigators.

Megaupload’s attorney said in a brief filed Tuesday that the site can help former users recover their data, but only if the U.S. government approves. The site’s founder, eccentric millionaire Kim Dotcom, also said this week that he’s building a new music sharing service called Mega, set to launch on the one-year anniversary of the raid on MegaUpload.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing Goodwin, joined with former Megaupload host Carpathia to create a website called MegaRetrieval.com. Both groups are asking that former Megaupload users come forward and sign a registry to claim their property.

While the MPAA’s filing adds that the organization is “sympathetic” to any user who lost legitimate files, they’ve not officially taken a position on Goodwin’s suit.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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