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‘Megaretrieval’ Effort Launched to Help Users Get Access to Files on Website Raided by Feds

Posted Jan 31, 2012 1:56 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Customers and other users who stored personal materials on Megaupload have another two weeks to retrieve their files, under an agreement negotiated by the embattled website and its hosting companies.

However, it isn't clear whether and how individuals can access their property since the raid by the U.S. that shut down the Megaupload site worldwide and the indictment of seven individuals associated with the company in a criminal piracy case, PC Magazine reports.

The nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation has teamed up with one of Megaupload's hosting companies, Carpathia Hosting, to launch a megaretrieval.com website in an effort to help. A press release provides further details.

But Carpathia says it doesn't have access to Megaupload's servers, and federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia case have reportedly pointed to terms of use that say those who rely on the cyberlocker for storage should keep backup copies.

Attorney Ira Rothken, who represents Megaupload, told CNet News that he is trying to work out a deal with the government that would make funds available, despite an asset freeze, so stored Megaupload material could be accessed both by legitimate users who have stored personal photos and videos on the site and and by attorneys defending the company.

Meanwhile, it appears that all EFF may be able to do is help users present their side of the story to the feds.

"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 staff attorney Julie Samuels in the release. "We think it's important that these users have their voices heard as this process moves forward."

Critics also see the criminal case brought against Megaupload—which includes charges of racketeering and money laundering as well as copyright violations from alleged extensive downloading of protected material—as an overreaching attempt to protect U.S. entertainment industry profits at the expense of individual consumers, Information Week reports.

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: "Feds Shut Down Megaupload.com, Say Indicted Site Operators Are Part of Worldwide ‘Mega Conspiracy’"

ABAJournal.com: "Those with Legitimate Content on Megaupload Site Raided by Feds Could Lose It in ‘Data Genocide’"

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