Terabytes of legit data headed for deletion as feds keep MegaUpload from paying bills

Feds copy data for evidence, try to look virtuous as legitimate data heads toward recycler


What is the traditional fate of pirates?

They are hanged.

What is the current likely fate of pirate content?

It is dropped.

Even if it would be the best evidence to back up the U.S. government's allegation that MegaUpload distributed enough pirated content to justify shutting down the whole operation.

According to an Associated Press story yesterday, federal prosecutors filed a letter with the court overseeing the case saying they'd copied out the files they wanted and had no further interest in the data or servers holding it.

Since MegaUpload is still responsible for both servers and data, that can only mean possession of both passes out of official hands and back to the owners. With physical evidence that usually happens only after the trial and any potential appeals are finished.

In this case it appears to be a pressure tactic from the Dept. of Justice, which froze MegaUpload's bank accounts and access to even small amounts of operating capital, according to Ira Rothken, the lawyer defending MegaUpload and seven employees.

Now that the government copied its evidence out of the servers, it has no further right to access the data, which is housed in facilities owned by hosting companies Carpathia and Cogent, which prefer to be paid for their services.

Since MegaUpload can't pay, the data may start walking the plank (well, I/O channel) toward final deletion as early as Thursday, Roghken said.

At least 50 million MegaUpload customers are in danger of losing data that is overwhelmingly legitimate, according to Rothken.

Rothken has asked the U.S. Attorney's office to unfreeze enough assets for MegaUpload to pay its hosting bills.

“We of course would like to think the United States and Megaupload would both be united in trying to avoid such a consumer protection calamity whereby innocent consumers could permanently lose access to everything from word processing files to family photos and many other things that could never practically be considered infringing,”– Megaupload attorney Ira Rothken, in an interview with TorrentFreak, Jan. 29, 2012.

Some customers are already suing MegaUpload for losing personal – non-pirated – data they'd entrusted to it.

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