Megaupload User Fears Complete Data Loss, Asks Court For Help

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Millions of users lost access to their personal files when Megaupload was raided, and after nearly half a decade they are still stashed away in a Virginia warehouse. Former Megaupload user Kyle Goodwin has been trying to get his files back for years. This week he urged the court to take action, fearing that his data may soon be lost forever.

megauploadIn the wake of Megaupload’s shutdown nearly five years ago, many of the site’s users complained that their personal files had been lost as collateral damage.

One of these users is Kyle Goodwin, who operates a sports video company in Ohio. He used Megaupload as part of his business, storing large videos he created himself.

After Megaupload’s servers were raided Mr. Goodwin could no longer access the files. In an effort to remedy this, he asked the court to help him and others to retrieve their personal property.

Helped by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Stanford’s Hoover Institution, Mr. Goodwin filed over half a dozen requests asking the court to find a workable solution for the return of his data. Thus far, however, this has been without success.

This week, his legal team once again raised the issue before the Virginia District Court, pointing out that the government’s actions are still being felt today.

“As a result of the government’s actions, Mr. Goodwin and many other former Megaupload users lost access to their valuable data, and that data remains inaccessible today,” Goodwin’s legal team writes (pdf).

The files were originally stored by Carpathia Hosting, which was later taken over by QTS Realty Trust. Although the backups are still in place, QTS informed the court last year that this may not last for long.

At the time QTS noted that “there is a high likelihood that the disk drives, on which the data presumably reside, will experience high failure rates.”

Meanwhile, the parties involved including the Government, Megaupload and copyright holders, have yet to find a mutually agreeable solution for the data retrieval. Similarly, the court has yet to rule on Mr. Goodwin’s motion asking for the return of his property, which he filed in 2012.

“Mr. Goodwin’s motion remains pending. Further delay may mean the complete loss of Mr. Goodwin’s valuable property and that of other former Megaupload users,” his lawyers write.

Hoping to finally make a breakthrough while the data still exists, Mr. Goodwin is now asking the court to rule on his pending motion for return of his property as soon as possible.

Megaupload counsel Ira Rothken hopes that the court will hold the Government responsible for their actions and that it will help to reunite former users with their data.

“Megaupload looks forward to having the court determine whether or not the U.S. acted appropriately by turning off all consumer access to their data stored in the cloud,” Rothken tells TF in a comment.

“The Department of Justice should avoid elevating Hollywood interests over consumer interests and do the right thing for consumers like Kyle Goodwin who wants access to youth soccer videos he stored in the Megaupload cloud,” he adds.

The sports videographer is not the only one waiting to be reunited with his files. Many others are in the same position. Just a few weeks ago a former Megaupload user contacted TorrentFreak in desperation, hoping to recover a personal photo that is very dear to him.

Whether the court can help to make this happen has yet to be seen. The lack of progress over the past several years doesn’t encourage optimism.

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