Court Freezes Megaupload’s MPAA and RIAA Lawsuits

A federal court in Virginia has granted Megaupload's request to place the cases filed by the music and movie companies on hold until April next year, while the criminal case remains pending. Meanwhile, Megaupload is working hard to ensure that critical evidence on decaying hard drives is preserved.

megaupload-logoMegaupload was shutdown nearly half a decade ago, but all this time there has been little progress on the legal front.

Last December a New Zealand District Court judge ruled that Kim Dotcom and his colleagues can be extradited to the United States to face criminal charges, a decision that was appealed earlier this year.

While all parties await the outcome of this appeal, the criminal case in the United States remains pending. The same goes for the civil cases launched by the MPAA and RIAA in 2014.

Fearing that these might influence the criminal proceedings, Megaupload’s legal team previously managed to put these civil actions on hold, and this week another extension was granted.

U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady granted Megaupload’s request to stay both lawsuits until April next year. The music and movie companies didn’t oppose the motion.

The downside of yet another delay is that the evidence remains at risk of being destroyed. Much of the Megaupload data is stored on hard drives, which according to hosting provider Cogent, are not in the best shape.

A few months ago Cogent warned that sixteen of them have actually become unreadable, which is a grave concern since they contain crucial information. Thus far this situation hasn’t been addressed, but some progress has been made.

“Counsel have met and conferred and are negotiating a preservation order regarding the Cogent Data, and they anticipate reaching an agreement and presenting a consent motion and stipulated preservation order to the Court for entry,” Megaupload informed the court.

“However, until such a preservation order is entered, the parties each reserve their rights to file motions seeking preservation of the Cogent Data on appropriate terms and conditions.”

Judge Liam O’Grady agreed with this request. In his order this week he notes that if the negotiations fail, any party may seek relief to ensure that the evidence remains intact.

For now, however, the waiting continues.

The order of U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady is available here (pdf). A copy of Megaupload’s request can be found here (pdf).

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