Former Megaupload Users Are Victims Too, EFF Tells Court

To address the rights of victimized copyright holders, the U.S. Government has recently obtained a secret court order. The sealed order allows it to share Megaupload evidence with industry trade groups who may want to take legal action. At the same time, however, the Government refuses to assist former Megaupload users. In a letter to the court the Electronic Frontier foundation is now pointing out that these users are victims too.

megauploadNearly two years have passed since Megaupload’s servers were raided by the U.S. Government, and still it remains uncertain if former users will ever be able to retrieve their files.

Soon after the raids former Megaupload user Kyle Goodwin, a sports reporter who used Megaupload to store work-related files, took legal steps to secure his work.

Helped by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Mr. Goodwin filed at least six requests asking the court to find a workable solution for the return of his data, but thus far without success.

The U.S. hasn’t been particularly helpful in the matter and previously suggested that disadvantaged users shouldn’t bother the Government with complaints, but sue Megaupload instead.

Considering this rigid stance it came as a surprise that the Department of Justice recently requested a secret order to help copyright holders to obtain Megaupload data. Last week information from a sealed order showed that the U.S. asked the court’s permission to share evidence with copyright holders to “appropriately address victim rights.”

The Government argues that victimized copyright holders need this data for potential lawsuits. However, the EFF believes that the MPAA, RIAA and other trade groups are not the only ones who qualify for the ‘victim’ label.

“We think it’s pretty clear that former Megaupload users such as Mr. Goodwin are also victims in this case,” EFF attorney Julie Samuels tells TorrentFreak.

To highlight this issue, the EFF submitted a letter to the court this week on behalf of Mr. Goodwin.

“While we appreciate the government’s intent to appropriately address victim rights, we submit that the court should also ensure that the rights of the many users of the service who have lost their property but who have not been accused of copyright infringement, including Mr. Goodwin, are also addressed in any next steps in this case,” EFF’s letter reads.

With the letter EFF hopes to focus the court’s attention on the pressing situation of Megaupload users who lost access to their files. Ideally, these users should get an opportunity to access their work, which they have the legal rights to.

“We hope that our letter will get the attention of the court and that it will find a way to properly compensate Megaupload users who are waiting to retrieve their files,” Samuels tells us.

The clock is ticking, as Megaupload user data on 630 servers was destroyed permanently earlier this year. Another 1,103 Megaupload servers remain stored at the U.S. hosting company Carpathia, but it is uncertain for how long.

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