updated 11:05 pm EST, Tue January 31, 2012
Users asked to visit MegaRetrieval.com
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has vowed to help Megaupload users gain access to legitimate data, after the government shut down the file sharing service for its alleged role in copyright infringement. US prosecutors recently admitted that third-party hosting companies may begin deleting user data within days.
The EFF is collaborating with Carpathia Hosting, one of the companies that currently holds user data, to "assess the scope of the issue facing Megaupload users" who may lose their data. Carpathia has published a site, MegaRetrieval.com, where users can submit details of their situation.
"EFF is troubled that so many lawful users of Megaupload.com had their property taken from them without warning and that the government has taken no steps to help them," said EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels. "We think it's important that these users have their voices heard as the process moves forward."
Although Carpathia may not receive any further payments from Megaupload, as the Department of Justice froze the latter company's assets, the hosting provider suggests it has "no immediate plans" to wipe the data from servers that had been used for the sharing site.
Despite Carpathia's vocal support for legitimate users, the fate of non-infringing data is believed to rest in the hands of the government. The government is believed to have copied only a limited number of files, leaving the remainder out of reach from the initial search warrant, while the full range of content stored by Carpathia and other hosting providers remains inaccessible due to the shutdown.
"The government has finished its investigation of Megaupload's servers and claims that the companies that own those servers - Carpathia and Cogent - are free to delete their contents," the EFF said in a statement. "Luckily, those companies aren't following the government's example of shooting first and asking later."
A lawyer representing Megaupload is also fighting to retain data for approximately 50 million users. The sharing service has been accused of knowingly profiting from copyright infringement, however lawyers representing the company suggest it is currently assessing legal options to fight the charges and restore service. [via The Inquirer]