MPAA tells court that Megaupload users shouldn't be allowed access to their own files without "safeguards"

U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady in Virginia has scheduled a hearing to adjudicate a claim from Kyle Goodwin, a sports videographer in Ohio whose videos have been lost since the illegal raids in May on Megaupload, a file-locker service. The MPAA has asked to participate in the hearing in order to object, in principle, to the idea that the millions of Megaupload users who've had their files seized in the raid should be able to access them without "safeguards." More from CNet's Declan McCullagh:

The MPAA said today that while it takes no position on Goodwin's request to have his own copyrighted videos returned, it wants to participate in the hearing to describe "the overwhelming amount of infringement of the MPAA members' copyrighted work on MegaUpload." (The MPAA's six members are Paramount Pictures Corporation, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios LLC, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., and Warner Bros. Entertainment.)

To those Hollywood studios, MegaUpload and its flamboyant founder Kim Dotcom represent the darkest elements of Internet file-sharing. MPAA chairman Chris Dodd has dubbed it "the largest and most active criminally operated website" in the world, and MPAA vice president Michael P. O'Leary claims it's one of the most popular Internet sites "for streaming and downloading illicit copies."

"It makes little sense for the MPAA, or MegaUpload, or Carpathia, or even the government -- despite its actions otherwise -- to prevent third parties access to their legal property," Julie Samuels, staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told CNET this afternoon. "Not only does it harm those individual third parties, but it negatively impacts all cloud storage providers and customers, who, in order for the technology to work, need to be able to rely on access."

MPAA: Don't let MegaUpload users access their data


  1. I’m finding it hard to create a metaphor for this. Let’s see: almost all bank robberies include the use of cars. So we should seize all the cars. And we should make it impossible for the car owners who have nothing to do with the bank robberies to get their cars back.

    Have I got that right?

    1. Megaupload would be the bank. Let’s say they were a bank that allowed people to store and distribute counterfeit money or stolen goods. You knew they did this but you only kept your own perfectly legal money there. Then when the bank is shut down the Feds won’t let anyone go inside to collect their items, legal or not. I think that’s about how it would go. The investigation would be compromised if they let people have access to their files at this stage. It would be costly to verify files really are legal, also.  

        1. Whether or not the files are actually stolen was not my point. 
          I was talking about the cost of the investigation. Imagine sorting through every account and verifying that each file is legal. It would cost a lot of money. Someone would have to pay for it. The people that do the job would have to have specialized skills. Who will pay for this?

  2. More like the bank president was found doing something illegal, so all the assets of the bank customers are seized, including everything you kept in your safe deposit box, and you have to prove what was in it was yours in order to get it back. Oh, and the keys are gone and they want to demolish the bank as soon as possible.

    Meanwhile the MPAA funnels money into off-shore account and juggles the books so they don’t have to pay royalties to their artists, but all of that’s legal because… well, they wrote the laws that the government passed allowing them to do what they want.

    The MPAA is the biggest criminal empire and the world needs to stop watching their comic book crap.

    1.  Per your comment, let’s not forget that MPAA chairman Chris Dodd is former senator Chris Dodd. This is no better than the relationship between former members of Congress who are now consultants to any other industry.

      1. “The largest and most active criminally operated website” in the world.

        Is copyright violation a criminal offense now?  I wasn’t aware.

    2. “The MPAA is the biggest criminal empire and the world needs to stop watching their comic book crap.”

      And I hope geeks wise up and realize that, with all the excitement over a new Star Wars movie, Disney uses their profits to keep trying to lock down the Internet.

      Promoting Disney products is just helping the bad guys.

  3. SeeAlso “Unfortunately we can’t work with hosting companies based in the United States. Safe harbour for service providers via the Digital Millenium Copyright Act has been undermined by the Department of Justice with its novel criminal prosecution of Megaupload. It is not safe for cloud storage sites or any business allowing user generated content to be hosted on servers in the United States or on domains like .com / .net. The US government is frequently seizing domains without offering service providers a hearing or due process.”

    This seems to me to be related to the story doing the rounds about the UN trying to steal “control of the internet” from the USA. 

  4. I am an independent digital content producer. I didn’t want to put any DRM or protection on the files because that’s a bad idea, doesn’t work and annoys people who pay for content.

    Much of my content ends up on sites like MU – over 10M downloads from all sites when I stopped looking a while back. I am not bitter about this, but probably the worst bit is realisation just how unscrupulous people are. My content has been passed as anybody elses. People claim credit, even offer paid support. Charge for content itself. Ignore or ridicule my requests to remove content or stop charging.

    The truth is, we don’t live in the world of Richard Stallman’s sharing. There are pockets of resistance, but the world remains nasty.

      1. I did use watermarks on screengrabs and links to my site are all over the content. Screengrabs are easily recreated, and none of the copiers (I’ve only checked a few) bothered to remove links to my site.

  5. Well there is a short list of files that should be blocked from access, luckily the government has that list.  It is the same list of files the **AA’s uploaded and then dispatched them to remove from the Carpathia servers as “evidence” then declaring the rest could just be deleted.

    As the DoJ has decided that the contents can just be deleted, they have exhausted their interest in them and can offer no further claims to them.  They decided the rule of law does not apply to bad people who the **AA’s want taken out.  So what if its a violation of the rule of law and their own policies about having to turn over all the evidence in cases.

    Dodd calling Dotcom bad…  Dotcom never publicly admitted to paying to get laws he liked passed,  Dotcom never promised to not become a lobbyist and then ignore that promise.

    **AA’s have claimed its super simple for Google and every other platform provider to detect infringing files, but they seem to lack that ability they demand others have.  Put the files back up and return peoples property illegally taken by the Government in a show trial that they have managed to screw up completely.  The US Government has violated the laws of another nation and stolen evidence in pursuit if an ill-advised case to please their corporate paymasters.  If the lead DoJ lawyer wasn’t formerly from SBA one wonders if he would have pursued this BS case without any concern for the rule of law.

    End the farce, stop punishing citizens, pretend the law isn’t for sale to the biggest “donor”, and fix actual problems… like how the **AA membership plays accounting games to avoid having to pay the artists they claim to represent and care about.

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