MegaUpload has been notified by the U.S. Attorney that user data, both copyright infringing and non-infringing, may be wiped out of leased servers.The wipe-out may come because MegaUpload does not have funds to pay for servers it has leased.
The message from the Attorney's office said the files may be wiped out by the end of the week. But MegaUpload lawyer has said the hosting companies have provided additional time to allow MegaUpload come to an arrangement with the government that will allow them pay for hosting services
Torrent Freak reports that MegaUpload is working to have users continue enjoying access to their personal files and data. The threat of wipe-out is due to unpaid bills at Cogent Communications and Carpathia Hosting whose servers MegaUpload leased.
Digital Journal reports that the U.S. authorities shut down the website after New Zealand police arrested its owner kim Dotcom and seven employees, and charged them with copyright infringement.
According to PC World, since January 19 when U.S. authorities shut down the site, users have been denied access to accounts containing personal files and data. Prosecutors on Friday filed a letter in a federal court in the Eastern District of Virginia which said that investigators do not need access to data in MegaUpload servers run by Cogent Communications and Carpathia Hosting because they have copied the files they need and the matter is now left to the hosting companies. The letter said: "It is our understanding that the hosting companies may begin deleting the contents of the servers as early as February 2, 2012."
MegaUpload is unable to pay its bills for hosting services because its assets have been frozen by the U.S. authorities.
Torrent Freak reports that MegaUpload lawyer Ira Rothken said: “We received a letter very late Friday from the US Attorney that declared there could be an imminent destruction of Megaupload consumer data files on this coming Thursday. 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’s assets were frozen by the United States. Mega needs funds unfrozen to pay for bandwidth, hosting, and systems administration in order to allow consumers to get access to their data stored in the Mega cloud and to back up the same for safekeeping.”
MegaUpload has asked the U.S. Attorney's office to unfreeze its assets so it can pay for hosting services and allow its users access to their personal data. Rothken said: “If the United States fails at helping protect and restore Megaupload consumer data in an expedient fashion, it will have a chilling effect on cloud computing in the United States and worldwide. It is one thing to bring a claim for copyright infringement it is another thing to take down an entire cloud storage service in Megaupload that has substantial non infringing uses as a matter of law."
PC World reports Rothken said they are working with the federal authorities to prevent user files on leased servers from being erased. Rothken said: "We're cautiously optimistic at this point that because the United States, as well as MegaUpload, should have a common desire to protect consumers."
MegaUpload users are also taking action. According to Torrent Freak, Pirate Parties International is compiling a list of people affected. They are planning to file a complaint against the U.S. authorities.
Mashable, however, reports that Rothken has said MegaUpload has until middle of February to come to an arrangement with the government that will allow them pay for hosting services. The letter from the Attorney's office had indicated that the files may be wiped out by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, Mashable reports that Carpathia Hosting has asked people who have files on MegaUpload to stop contacting them. Carpathia has advised people to contact MegaUpload instead. Carpathia said it cannot return users their data because, "Carpathia Hosting does not have, and has never had, access to the content on MegaUpload servers and has no mechanism for returning any content residing on such servers to MegaUpload’s customers. The reference to the Feb. 2, 2012 date in the Department of Justice letter for the deletion of content is not based on any information provided by Carpathia to the U.S. Government. We would recommend that anyone who believes that they have content on MegaUpload servers contact MegaUpload. Please do not contact Carpathia Hosting.”