back to article Fate of punters' Megaupload files to be thrashed out in court

A court in the US could decide today whether or not to dump the files of Megaupload users, seized in the case against founder Kim Dotcom. Regular Joes who stored their legal files with Megaupload have been worried that their data will just get deleted since the government has gotten the evidence it needs from the site's servers …

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intellectual property rights of individuals

Shouldn't the IP rights of *individuals* be respected? Persons that upload their own data have a right to that data. How can that right and the corresponding data be taken from them forever?

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Re: intellectual property rights of individuals

Because the MPAA say so. Governments exist to protect big business, that's why torrent indexing sites get taken down but Google, which also indexes torrents, stays up.

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Silver badge

Re: intellectual property rights of individuals

Yeah, but kosher customers who aren't infringing only want a copy of their data. Nobody with piratey stuff is going to claim it...unless they are very stupid and in that case the MPAA can sue them later. If a copy is given out to genuine customers, the data is still there for analysis and nothing is lost; apart from time and bandwidth taken to get the data back to it's owners.

The MPAA instigated this; it's their responsibility to make good on any harm done to legitimate users caught in this somewhat indiscriminate action.

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Flame

difference between civil and criminal cases

"The MPAA instigated this; it's their responsibility to make good on any harm done to legitimate users caught in this somewhat indiscriminate action."

Unfortunately, lobbying for the state to become involved in criminal enforcement in a particular case doesn't make the lobbyist liable if the criminal action is wrongfully entered into resulting in massive liability claims from injured third parties. In this case injured parties will sue the state and demand compensation and US taxpayers will become liable if they succeed. The MPAA simply gets a free ride at public expense. It's called externalities - making Joe Public pick up the tab related to your way of doing business.

That's why big content is so keen to make copyright enforcement a criminal as opposed to a civil law matter, and why anyone who gives a toss about the taxpayer's interest should generally resist such intentions. The exception is if it can be conclusively proven that loss of taxes from genuinely lost sales would be sufficient to pay for enforcement costs. In this case the US authorities appear to have acted very rashly, due to the high probability of expensive and lengthy and unsuccessful proceedings, with anything involving extradition is likely to be massively costly, and massive damages caused to innocent 3rd parties.

Having local trading standards officers check car boot sales for illegally copied DVDs and obtaining criminal arrests in that context is relatively cheap in comparison and probably cost justifiable based on lost taxation. The problem here is that this sets a dangerous precedent for state involvement - and a little money offered in respect of campaign funding to a politician can leverage a large tax spend when it is Joe Public footing the bill.

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Re: difference between civil and criminal cases

That's a good answer; but from the article, it appears that MPAA are actively involved in blocking access to legitimate users. The fact that they haven't let go of the reins still makes them liable; even if only to the extent that they are just one of the parties to be sued. With fraud and corruption charges as well if there's any justice. Lobbying in a particular case is still bribery no? Lobbying to get the law changed; all well and good (well, legal anyway). But active involvement like like this in one particular case would raise interesting questions, I should think.

The whole thing is extremely fishy and personal. I definitely wouldn't like to be in the shoes of anyone involved. Storm's a comin'. It's also a strange choice of target...if I were to choose one file-sharing site to take down for piracy Megaupload would be in the top 10, but wouldn't be the first one I'd go for. Possibly the others are all run by people who are more photogenic and the MPAA are relying on Kim Dotcom looking like a fat git in the press.

This whole case warrants a forensic level of scrutiny.

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Re: intellectual property rights of individuals

Class action suit against MPAA by a group of legitimate data holders would be an option. Better yet, it would highlight the assinine paranoia and greed of the MPAA membership and venality and carelessness of the legislators who framed that stupid law. It would in all likelyhood go all the way to the Supreme Court.

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oh..dear!

I bet the DoJ wished they hadnt touched this with a barge pole.

sombody IS going to get screwed.

ladies and gentelmen, place you bets.

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Gav
Pirate

Copying files is not stealing

"Mr Goodwin has not been able to access the files he needs to conduct his business - ie, his lawful property"

But these are not his files. They are a copy of his files. Isn't that how the argument goes? He still had his files on his computer. Not anyone else's fault that he's lost them.

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Re: Copying files is not stealing

It says in the article his hard drive crashed. That would imply that the only backup of his business critical files was on a single file sharing site.

Not a very sensible backup strategy, especially now that there are so many alternative free online file storage services available. Should have had the data on at least 2 or 3 of them.

What were Megaupload's terms? If that didn't include guaranteed backups of users' data (which it probably didn't) I can't see he has a case. His situation is exactly the same as if the company had gone bust, or some disaster had happened to their servers.

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Gav
Boffin

Re: Copying files is not stealing

Megaupload was a free service, mainly for file sharing. It would be crazy for it to offer any guarantees what-so-ever about restoring backups of personal files. Indeed, I'd be surprised if it didn't explicitly have disclaimers about it.

So this guy was using the wrong service for the wrong job, ... and then his hard drive died. If he took protecting his work seriously, and performed proper backups, he wouldn't be in this situation. It sucks, and hopefully he'll get his files restored soon, but it is all his own fault.

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Why isn't it evidence?

Or is evidence just stuff that supports the MAFIAA plaintiff and 'bloody inconvenient' is anything that may support the defendant?

I'd have thought in the civilised world (e.g. anywhere east of Newfoundland) that legit files were evidence for the defence team.

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Collateral damage

So the innocent users of MegaUpload are just collateral damage? I don't think this is supposed to happen. If the police destroy your car in a car chase, will they compensate you or just say sorry? This might become a very interesting legal precedent.

The safest way, of course, would be for the US to declare a 'war on IP crime'. War creates collateral damage, so the DOJ should be able to do whatever they like.

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Re: Collateral damage

Well if this case is anything to go by, they will impound your car, as well as all the other cars on the street. Then later state they no longer want or need your car but you can't have it back - instead it can be crushed.

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Mushroom

Either way the court may rule it's going to set a precedent.

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This is why "cloud" is such a stupid idea. If you entrust your business to a provider and that provider loses it all, for whatever reason, you've lost your business.

Why anyone would put all their eggs into that basket is beyond me.

Mind you, most of the time, "cloud" is just marketing synonym for "network share".

And yes, I know "cloud" covers servers and applications too, but you expect those to disappear when the server or application shuts down, whether cleanly or not.

It's also a good example why you should have two sets of backups. The copy near you, under your control, which you use if there's a hardware failure or you delete your files, and the copy somewhere else, in case the building housing the other copies burns down.

And as I don't practise what I preach, I'll shut up now.

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Big Brother

good and bad clouds

As to the use of clouds to provide reliable backups, many old TV programmes which the official archivists thought were lost for ever, have been recovered for posterity due to their availability on Bittorrent - because some fan had the foresight to do some home recording and shared it with the world regardless of copyright law. The state can't shut Bittorrent down any more than it can shut down the English language, because neither require any centrally provided facilities.

Doesn't stop the secret police overhearing your conversation in a forbidden language and you being taken away in the middle of the night never to be seen again, as occurs in some places, or bribed politicians passing bad laws trying to intimidate Bittorrent users. When such measures become repressive in practice, what occurs is that sharing is more likely to occur based upon encryption and webs of trust based on prior relationship, as opposed to sharing using publicly visible network addresses.

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Re: good and bad clouds

>>"As to the use of clouds to provide reliable backups, many old TV programmes which the official archivists thought were lost for ever, have been recovered for posterity due to their availability on Bittorrent - because some fan had the foresight to do some home recording and shared it with the world regardless of copyright law"

I'm not sure how much the BitTorrent adds to that situation, unless the fan in question would otherwise have decided to delete the digitised programme (and the original video tapes) after bothering to take the time to digitise it.

About all that it obviously seems to add is an increased chance of the recording being found over and above what appeals on fan sites for old recorded content might have resulted in.

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Pirate

RE: This is why "cloud" is such a stupid idea.

I keep trying to explain that to those dumb 20-somethings that are fresh out of MBA school.

They just don't get it.

I feel this way, if Mr MBA Genius wants it "in the cloud"; all he has to do is to put it in writing.

That way, after I point out the fallacy of his "idea", also in writing, when the shit hits the fan, I will not be worried.

Pirate, because "walking the plank" is a dangerous undertaking for the 'wet behind the ears' MBA newbie.

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Anonymous Coward

Pissin off the criminally insane

What a pity it would be to piss off the criminally insane who used Mega Load... or not.

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move out of US jurisdiction?

It WAS already out of US jurisdiction

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Anonymous Coward

Re: move out of US jurisdiction?

Virginia is many things, but outside the US jurisdiction is not one of them.

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Trollface

Nowhere is out of US jurisdiction

When they can't extradite someone they'll use unmanned drones to take them out.

The US is the world's policeman. Hadn't you heard ?

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Re: move out of US jurisdiction?

Thanks, I forgot some of their data was hosted in the US, but I was talking about the people & remainder of the company assets which were taken. twas quite foolish of them to think of NZ as a safe haven, wasn't it?

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Re: move out of US jurisdiction?

It is a Hong Kong registered company run by a resident of New Zealand.

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Mushroom

MPA sues God

Because he is obviously in copyR infringement of their stuff, where they serve him could be fun especially if he is in a bad mood and has some of his files on MGU 2

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WTF?

Its a simple case of data ownership

Now,

The users that used it legitimately should have been able to download a copy of their data by now... and should be able to request a copy of the data held, according to relevant data protection/handling/storage laws

Those that didn't use it legitimately...

why are they throwing potentially valuable evidence away? unless they've analysed or copied all of it... they may regret purging it, if its their job to do such, it'll take them a while!

I wonder if it was backed by those at Napster and Metallica (like in the early days)

Where will they target next? Google's Youtube? (of course they wont!!!)

Just like George Carlin said about 'Thou shalt not kill", "Just depends on whos doing the killing and whos getting killed"

I think a similar perspective may be seen here.. whos doing the downloading and whos getting nicked for uploading/downloading it!

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Devil

Re: Its a simple case of data ownership

The MPAA wants it thrown away because it would eliminate evidence that they interefered with legitimate business and individuals conducting lawful activity, and which places the MPAA square on a class action bull's eye. They are arguing that "their" IP is more important than someone else's. That would not be the case under law and any halfway decent lawyer could make mincemeat of any argument they offered that their legitimate interests were more important than anyone else's. The sole defense they would have is absence of evidence, and even there a smart lawyer might use their own insistence on purging the server's as evidence of an attempt to avoid their own legal responsibilities. Anyone with an interest ought to file ASAP.

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Stop

Irony detector

Um, Carpathia, it's like this. I know where the data is and I'm claiming salvage rights.

Happy 100th Titanic.

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WTF?

MadMichaelJohn do unto others as they would do unto you.

sounds like a chance to class action MMPA and break their deep pockets.and that would make me happy.

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Mushroom

New Obama -Holder Justice System

1. Police grab the goods;

2. Prosecutors rifle through files, extract evidence t be used in prosecution;

3. Destroy all evidence;

4. Defence us neutered as it has no material;

5. Court hasn't adjudicated the charges, What happens if the prosecutors lose;

The whole think stinks, makes Russia look like a model justice system.

AND Obama took law in Boston? Bent b*stard.

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