Tomorrow the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will ask a federal judge to finally establish a process that allows lawful users – including a number of government agencies – of Megaupload's cloud storage service to reclaim their files. The hearing in USA v. Dotcom is set for 9 a.m. on April 13 at the federal courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.
In January the U.S. government shut down Megaupload.com as part of a copyright infringement investigation. By doing this they also took down lawful content stored on servers. After the government gathered the evidence it needed for its case against Megaupload and its founders, it left the matter up to server providers, but didn't accept the responsibility of paying the fees related to keeping that data preserved. Luckily the storage companies involved have refused to delete it, but users still have no legal way to reclaim their now lost files.
At Friday's hearing, EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels plans to argue that Megaupload's customers deserve a court-approved procedure to retrieve their personal and legal property before it is deleted.
We will have more on this hearing as information about it is made available, but everyone – even those who believe that what Megaupload did was illegal – should agree that users with legal content should not be caught in the middle of this messy situation.