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MegaUpload’s Founders are in Trouble but Could its Users be too?

We have previously blogged (quite a few times) about the file-sharing site MegaUpload and their ongoing legal battles, but now there is reason to pause for some of its heaviest users. It has recently come out (via a court filing by Carpathia Hosting, Inc.) that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is requesting that MegaUpload’s server host, Carpathia, retain all 25 petabytes of MegaUpload’s data “in light of the potential civil claims by the Studios.” This could mean potential civil claims brought against copyright infringing users as the MPAA is demanding that Carpathia retain information about the MegaUpload users who uploaded or downloaded those files.

As reported by Wired, in a phone interview with Howard Gantman, a MPAA Vice President, Gantman said the following: “The reason we did that filing [was] that there is a possibility that litigation might be pursued against Megaupload or various intermediaries involved in Megaupload’s operation. We’re not talking about individual users.” However, although Gantman claims they are not interested in individual MegaUpload users, he did decline to name any possible “intermediaries.”

In total, the MPAA is requesting that Carpathia retain and preserve “all material in its possession, custody, or control, including electronic data and database, related to Megaupload or its operations. This would include, but is not limited to, all information identifying or otherwise related to the content files uploaded to, stored on and/or downloaded from Megaupload; all data associated with those content files, the uploading or downloading of those files, and the Megaupload users who uploaded or downloaded those files.”

In Carpathia’s court filing, they claim that it costs them $9,000 daily to continue to host MegaUpload’s 25 petabytes of data. To put that number in perspective, one petabyte is equal to one million gigabytes. If one million gigabytes doesn’t get you any closer to picturing this, one petabyte has the storage capacity to hold 13.3 years of HD-TV video or about 50 Libraries of Congress. The purpose of Carpathia’s court filing last Tuesday is to demand that a federal judge either: (1) allow Carpathia to destroy the information to free up their servers; (2) require one of the parties to take possession of the servers in exchange for reasonable compensation; or (3) to require that one of the parties agree to pay the costs of continuing to store this information.

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