updated 04:15 pm EDT, Fri April 13, 2012
MegaUpload case to focus on server data
MegaUpload's newly-hired lawyers on Friday successfully fought for the data of nearly 60 million MegaUpload users stored on 1,100 servers. The US District court's Judge Liam O'Grady agreed to require further negotiations between the lawyers representing consumers, major Hollywood studios, the US government, and MegaUpload's hosting service, as well as MegaUpload itself. The servers could could have otherwise been sold by Carpathia Hosting, with the information contained on them possibly sold or deleted as a result.
Carpathia had asked the court to rule on helping it out with the financial responsibility of caring for the servers. With MegaUpload assets frozen, the peer-to-peer site wouldn't have had the option to pay for the hosting. Judge O'Grady noted both that Carpathia had earned a large amount of money from MegaUpload, about $35 million in hosting fees, and could be at legal risk for its involvement in hosting files.
MegaUpload lawyer Ira Rothken and the firm of Quinn Emanuel were allowed to address the judge. Earlier, US Attorney Neil MacBride filed a brief on Wednesday that asked the court not to allow either to speak. He wanted the defendants to appear first.
Other US officials had said Quinn Emanuel should be excluded from the case altogether because of conflicts of interest, the main one of which involves company managers allegedly trying to copy YouTube videos back in 2006. Quinn Emanuel lawyer Andrew Schapiro's involvement in that case precludes him from an involvement in this case.
Without the money to buy the servers out, there also wasn't much point to lawyers appearing, plaintiffs argued.
All involved, including the MPAA but not the US government, agree that the data should be saved on a longer-term basis. The Electronic Frontier Foundation wants it returned to users and noted that there were large amounts of legal material in limbo after the seizure. The MPAA's reasons are partly self-serving, however, as it may need the data for a civil suit against MegaUpload at a later time; it partly relented in court when it argued that its real concern was preventing bootlegs from escaping. [via CNET]