Dulles, Virginia-based hosting firm Carpathia Hosting is tired of storing 25 petabytes of Megaupload data on more than 1,000 servers in North America because of the government's shutdown of the file-sharing site in January, and is asking a federal court to relieve them of their obligations and any liability.
The company filed a request on Tuesday asking U.S. District Court Judge Liam O’Grady to grant it a protective order allowing it to transfer ownership of the servers, and have one of the parties interested in maintaining the data to start paying for it, or allow the company to "delete the data … after a brief, but reasonable, period of access for selective copying under an approved procedure."
Company lawyers said in court filings that the amount of data it has had to house at its own expense is "a historically and mind-bogglingly large amount of data." Lawyers for the company claim that one petabyte is enough storage capacity for about "13.3 years of HD-quality video" or "about 50 Libraries of Congress."
The company also claims that it is paying $9,000 a day out of its own pocket to maintain the data since the Justice Department shut Megaupload down in January. After searching and copying data from hundreds of servers, federal authorities told the company it could start erasing those files at the beginning of February.
Carpathia maintained the data because lawyers for Megaupload, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Motion Picture Association of America all asked it to preserve the data. Megaupload claims that the data is important to its founders' defense, while the EFF says that Megaupload users deserve access to legal data they stored on the site's servers, and the MPAA wants to data to prepare for "potential civil claims" against Megaupload and the other defendants.
That aside, Carpathia contends in court that it shouldn’t have to bear the financial burden.
"If the court does not grant a protective order, Carpathia, a nonparty to these proceedings, will incur substantial costs related to the moving, storage and consumption of physical hardware, and would possibly incur future costs related to providing third-party access to the Mega Servers and third-party discovery," Carpathia wrote in its filings.
Carpathia is caught in the middle, and while the MPAA and the FBI don't want to pay for it, they also don't want the data transferred to Megaupload.
Megaupload’s attorney in the United States, Ira Rothken, says that his client has had access to the servers for "forensic purposes" and has copied data from two "non-content servers." Rothken also claims that the Justice Department shot down a proposal by his client to allow it to tap $7 million in frozen assets to hire an IT vendor to mirror about 1,000 servers.
Rothken said that Megaupload then tried to strike a deal with Carpathia to buy the servers in question for $1 million, but the Justice Department blocked that as well.
"The United States didn’t like that either and objected to the agreement," he said. "We were kind of at a lost."
"The proper thing for the judge to do is for let Mega take control of the servers, secure them, preserve them and make them available as needed for the different cases," he added.
The MPAA found the idea of Megaupload taking control of the servers amusing.
"If these computer servers are sold or transferred to Megaupload, and it is re-launched at a location outside U.S. legal jurisdiction, an untold number of further infringements of motion pictures, television programs and other copyrighted content will occur, potentially costing businesses hundreds of millions of dollars," the MPAA said in a statement.