EFF Files Motion To Have Court Release Seizure Warrant In Megaupload Case

from the should-be-public-info dept

In the ongoing case involving Kyle Goodwin trying to get back the content that he backed up via Megaupload and lost as a result of the US taking down the site, the EFF (representing Goodwin) has asked the court to unseal the initial seizure warrants that the US relied on to grab the Megaupload servers from hosting company Carpathia. They point out the number of concerns that New Zealand courts have raised with the legitimacy of the warrants, as well as some basic principles related to the limits on such warrants within the US.

…. these materials will certainly assist him to learn what steps, if any, the government took to inform the court of the scope of its planned seizure and related execution of search warrants. They would also show any plan provided by the government or the court in the warrant materials for minimization to protect innocent users before the seizure or to segregate the data after seizure. Federal judges increasingly impose detailed conditions prior to execution of computer searches…. For example, Judge Kozinski in the Ninth Circuit has observed that if the government refuses to forswear the ability to retain or use data that should have been segregated initially, the judge “should order that the seizable and non-seizable data be separated by an independent third party under the supervision of the court, or deny the warrant altogether.” …. Unsealing will allow Mr. Goodwin, as well as the general public, to learn which, if any, such conditions were undertaken in this case.

Similarly, under the Fourth Amendment people have a right to be secure in their “papers” and “effects” against unreasonable searches and seizures. A person’s “effects” may be the subject of Fourth Amendment protection even where there is no particular privacy or liberty interest…. A property seizure occurs when a governmental intrusion meaningfully interferes with an individual’s possessory interest…. The Fourth Amendment analysis, in turn, requires the Court to determine whether the seizure was “reasonable.” Gaining access to the materials that served as a basis for the government’s seizure of his property can assist Mr. Goodwin and other innocent Megaupload users in determining whether the seizure was unreasonable.

Separately, they note that there is tremendous public interest in revealing these details, and criminal cases should be done as publicly as possible. And, considering how frequently the US government is now seizing websites, the issue is of tremendous importance:

The public also has a strong interest in understanding the government process in executing search warrants on cloud computing servers that contain innocent third-party property. Seizures of domain names, and resulting searches of related servers, are tools the government is using with increasing frequency in criminal copyright enforcement actions. For example, the federal government has reportedly seized more than 800 websites so far under its Operation in our Sites campaign. The government has issued press releases and otherwise sought to publicize its efforts, obviously giving its own perspective on its actions. Legislators, the media, and the public are vigorously debating the very issue of these domain name seizures and related searches, even as a large percentage of Americans continue to use cloud computing services. Access to judicial records would ensure a more accurate and informed public debate, rather than one informed merely by the government’s press releases

Finally, they note that the government has already said it has no more need for the servers in question, so why would it make sense to keep the seizure warrant sealed? It seems difficult to argue with any of these points… but I have a feeling that the US Attorneys are about to try to do exactly that…

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Companies: eff, megaupload

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Comments on “EFF Files Motion To Have Court Release Seizure Warrant In Megaupload Case”

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Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

nevermind that the last of your three ‘bigs’ isn’t even a Thing…
and ‘big hardware’, if it’s even a thing, includes a number of entities who’s current interests would put them on the Other Side of that debate…

how broken is your brain that your position even looks like something a sane person might actually even Consider before dismissing it as, at the very least, coming across as nothing more than deranged ranting?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“do anything to throw sand in the gears of the content creators.”

Asking to see a seizure warrant is now “throwing sand in the gears of content creators”? The f*ck?

“Keep on astroturfing so the billionaires at Big Search, Big Hardware and Big Piracy can make more money and give it to the EFF.”

Big Search is NOT a thing. Big Hardware is NOT a thing. Big Piracy is NOT a thing.

YOU ARE AN IDIOT. That however is a thing/fact.

Also, didn’t you say once you own a Kindle. I hope you’re happy contributing to Big Hardware by purchasing it. And since they’re in cahoots, according to you, with Big Search and Big Piracy you just contributed to “throwing sand in the gears of the content creators”.

bob. Supporting Big Piracy since he got a Kindle. Oh yeah, how do you type your comments bob? On a computer? Yeah, further contributions to Big Hardware. Further support of Big Piracy. Keep it up bob, keep contributing to helping Big Search cheat content creators and blah blah f*cking blah.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Asking to see a seizure warrant is now “throwing sand in the gears of content creators”?”

He probably does see it like that. AC, bob and their ilk want everybody to lie down and simply take whatever the industry prescribes, no matter what the consequences. The fact that people are not only fighting back, but have legitimate reasons and reasonable means of doing so stops them from being able to do whatever they want. So, yes, asking to ensure due process is followed and justice is served according to the law really does get in the way.

“Big Search is NOT a thing. Big Hardware is NOT a thing. Big Piracy is NOT a thing.”

Paywalls are a thing, but he uses a definition only he understands. It’s not surprising that he fires out idiotic phrases that have no real meaning except in the heads of the paranoid and delusional.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, I mean it’s not like they’re representing someone in the case… oh, right.

2/10, 1 point for not even bothering to read the first sentence of the article before posting, and 1 point for using the ‘piracy apologist’ and ‘FUD’ buzzwords at the end.

A couple of tips in case you want to try and score higher in the future:

-Mention google/Big Search at least once, though preferably as many times as you can. Remember, they don’t have to be mentioned at all to be involved, since google is the internet.

-Ad homs are good for boosting your score, as well as insults, name calling and random swearing.

-Make sure to blame Mike for writing the article, with extra points awarded if Mike wasn’t the author.

-Be sure to try and counter any big points with peripherally related facts or minor tidbits that you’ve heard somewhere else. The more vague the better, and never provide a source for your ‘evidence’.

-Paranoia is your friend. Always assume a hidden agenda, the more convoluted and evil the better.

-Related to the last tip, always remember that anyone in a position of authority is automatically right in what they say and do, so anyone disagreeing with them obviously is only doing so due to a nefarious reason, and is a dirty criminal at best.

Take these tips to heart, and some day you may very well score the coveted 10/10.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually, I read the headline, and looking at the story in general (in passing) and asked a question – The headline makes it sound like the EFF is doing something, when it’s in fact
“lawyers for a guy with little chance to get his data back”, who happen to be the EFF.

Sort of changes the story quite a bit, doesn’t it?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“Not entirely sure that EFF has any standing in this. They are neither a plaintiff or a defendant, and to be fair, it’s unlikely that a warrant in an ongoing criminal case would be released anywhere other than in court at this point.

Sounds more like piracy apologists trying to add more FUD in the deal.”

THAT was your opening comment. Notice how nowhere in it did you ask a question. You went straight with “EFF has no standing. Blah blah blah. Piracy apologists blah blah blah FUD blah blah blah.”

So, based on your original comment and what you just said, it shows the rest of the class that you are either unable to read and as such just look at headlines and skim articles looking for certain words which you then use in your trollish comments or that you’re just here to troll in general, regardless of subject. Both are bad. But one makes you look like a bigger idiot than the other.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

” Notice how nowhere in it did you ask a question.”

Yet I said “Not entirely sure that EFF has any standing in this. “. That is an open invite to correction, essentially an open end statement, inviting comment, correction, and such.

I am not sure. Someone corrected me. I feel better now. How hard is that to grasp?

However, I still think that EFF is just tossing FUD around. The lack of accessiblity has everything to do with the alleged acts of Mega, as well as their choice in storing information to mix the good with the bad using a storage system that cannot easily be taken apart – seemingly intended to make it harder for authorities to track down bad acts.

EFF needs to sue the right person: Kim.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Yet I said “Not entirely sure that EFF has any standing in this. “. That is an open invite to correction, essentially an open end statement, inviting comment, correction, and such.”

If you had actually read the article (instead of skimming the headline) then there would have been no way you can legitimately say “Not entirely sure the EFF have any standing in this”, because reading the article (I know, such a hard thing to do!) would have shown you that they are the lawyers for the defense. They have every right to be in that court-room. Thus, the very reason you were “not entirely sure” is your own god-damned fault and should have been prevented/fixed simply by READING THE ARTICLE. Expecting us to correct what you should have done yourself is the height of arrogance.

And how is the EFF throwing FUD around? What do the (alleged) acts of Mega have to do with asking to see the warrants? To compare to a real world scenario: I store legal objects in a locker, which is one of many lockers at a business. The business is accused of a crime and is shut down, with the government taking into their possession the contents of all the lockers. Among those possessions are speech articles, including treasured family photos (to use an example). The EFF is asking here to see the warrant which would show what steps the government took (and in the Megaupload case, its pretty clear they didn’t) to protect the Fourth Amendment rights of innocent third parties, and to ensure that their rights to free speech were also protected. Even if Megaupload (or my fictional real world locker business) are the biggest criminals of all time, the government has no right to seize and keep the possessions of third parties, without a plan to return them and to minimise harm caused to third parties.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually, I read the headline, and looking at the story in general (in passing) and asked a question

Besides the fact that you did not, actually, ask a question, your admission that you couldn’t even read *the very first sentence* of the post — and proceeded to make an ignorant statement that is explained away by that very first sentence — is as pretty stunning admission, even for you.

Sort of an admission that you’re not here for any legitimate purpose, huh? But, then again, we know that already. Also, extra points for going apeshit on some of the first people who called you out on it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Sort of an admission that you’re not here for any legitimate purpose, huh?”

Wow. All I can say is your comment smacks of desperation to try to hang me out to dry. Too bad that you are being a bit too obvious.

Is there an issue that I admit that I didn’t read every word of the story before putting up something that was pretty obvious? EFF itself has no standing in this case.

Normally when you are discussing legal issues, you mention the PLAINTIFF at the top, the lawyers after. Saying that the EFF is filing something makes it sound like something they are doing for themselves.

In the Tenenbaum and Thomas cases, I don’t see to remember you ever mentioning their lawyers rather than them in the title of the post. Odd.

Is this perhaps because you support (and may work with) the EFF? Do you think there is more SEO appeal in posting about EFF rather than the plaintiff?

Shouldn’t the post be more “Kyle Goodwin Files Motion To Have Court Release Seizure Warrant In Megaupload Case”?

As for my purpose here, let me make it clear. I am here of my own free will, and my purpose is legit. I learn a lot about things here, mostly learning how people self-justify.

I also enjoy watching you go Mike. Your dogged determination to ignore so many things in order to push your agenda is impressive. I am blown away by your skill not to answer questions people ask, and your ability to make people think that some of the dog shit you serve up smells like roses. I think it’s impressive.

“Apeshit” pretty much explains any reply you give to people who don’t agree with you. Congrats on adding that term to the discussion. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

I am sure that the DOJ will aruge to keep it sealed and the judge will probably agree with the DOJ to keep it sealed. People will say well if there is nothing to hide then why keep it sealed, lets have it unsealed so that the public can see etc. keeping it sealed will only ensure that people will keep on arguing that there must be something fishy and unwarranted etc. with keeping it seald and will only further the conspiracy regarding the illegal due process of shutting down Megaupload etc. that people say was shutdown illegally etc.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

My guess is that even if the judge does unseal the documents, we’ll see the Executive branch pull another State’s secrets defense. I’m sure they can claim there is terrorist’s files located on the server, since no one else can access them. Sadly, that is just how FUBAR’d the US Justice System has become.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Where's the list of people hurt by Megaupload

said individuals would also have to be willing to risk getting on the wrong side of the US government.

an entity known for assassinations, torture, near total disrespect for other nation’s sovereignty, and really deep pockets.

most people would rate that as not worth it.

(also: multiple backups.)

Chosen Reject (profile) says:

Re: Re: Where's the list of people hurt by Megaupload

Actually, I’d be awesome if Techdirt had a “Wrong” button and a way to link it to a comment that corrected it. In this case, you have bob asking if the EFF was able to find anyone who used Megaupload for non-infringing reasons and then an Anonymous Coward shows up to tell him he’s an idiot for not reading/comprehending the article bob’s commenting on.

Hey bob, the article you are commenting on talks about one such guy. Try reading it. Take your time but be aware that it uses Big Words.

Anonymous Coward says:

when any government or government body has done things wrong, behaved in the way that has been shown in this instant, totally ignoring everything except pursuing it’s own agenda or that of an extremely interested 3rd party, what ever can be done will be done to hide the truth. the US government has been closing websites on information supplied by the entertainment industries. no checks have been carried out first to ensure the legitimacy of the closures. that is simply because there have been no legitimate reasons for the closures in 99% of cases. that has left legitimate web sites closed for indeterminate lengths of time with virtually no hope of repossessing the sites or getting compensation. in other words, the US government has become a dictatorship, literally dictating what can and cant be done, where and by whom, just to please certain people. it’s nothing less than a fucking disgrace!!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If and and a big if this gets to be unsealed and it shows that the government acted illegally and wrongly in getting Megaupload shutdown will it get the DOJ to drop its case against Megaupload of course it wont’t they will dig themselves deeper and deeper into their hole rather drop then its case. I doubt that it will be unseald though as the judge wouldn’t want any fallout from the government.

Anonymous Coward says:

Exactly who was hurt from the Megaupload seizure?

Not Hollywood.
Not pirates. “That’s pretty obvious considering pirated shit is still all over the web”

Who was hurt.
-Government credibility. “Not that it has been that good to begin with.”
-Normal people that had no involvement in piracy and just wanted to store their shit.
-Taxpayers “We’re not paying for a fucking Hollywood witch hunt”
-The staff of Megaupload.

anon says:

Re: Re:

Excellent comment, If anything the pirates would just use one of the many torrent sites to re download there stuff.

Maybe Mega should be talking about this more , in fact this would be a good conversation to start in the court, I am sure the judge would look at the case in a different light if this was brought to her attention.

The problem is that Hollywood or the DOJ,(same thing) would just argue that people do not have access to all the stuff that was on Mega, even though it is out there for everyone to download.

DannyB (profile) says:

Strong Interest

Notwithstanding the public interest in understanding how government views public cloud servers and executes search warrants upon them whenever and wherever asked by its owners, the government and its owners have an overriding stronger interest in keeping the exact details and even the very nature of the search warrants a secret. Therefore the motion to show that something very deeply crooked is going on here is DENIED. IT IS SO ORDERED.

out_of_the_blue says:

"content that he backed up via Megaupload and lost"

This is a phony pretext for “Mr. Goodwin and other innocent Megaupload users” with the EFF to try some legalisms by “personalizing” the story. If was actually “backed up”, then surely he’d still have local copies. But if not, then tough: he’s learned a valuable lesson about how to manage “content” storage.

But mainly it’s an attempt to whine on behalf of “Mr. Goodwin and other innocent Megaupload users” — the few who may make such distinction possible, while Mike and his pirate band are silent on the millions of other users.

A few good apples don’t un-spoil the rest of the barrel.*
If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.
A man is known by the company he keeps.

* Likely an original reversal.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "content that he backed up via Megaupload and lost"

This has Godwin’s law written all over it, but I’ll pass on that.

The US laws are pretty strict about any innocent third parties being effected by seizures, and it’s pretty clear through both the admittance of the MPAA, DoJ, and other parties involved that Godwin and the others do have rights to get the data back. So I guess you are arguing against the MPAA and everyone else?

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: "content that he backed up via Megaupload and lost"

If was actually “backed up”, then surely he’d still have local copies. But if not, then tough: he’s learned a valuable lesson about how to manage “content” storage.

Maybe you should try reading up on a subject before you post dumbass comments.

Mr. Goodwin did have his files stored locally and Mega was his backup, then his hard drive crashed.

From EFF’s original article about the case:

Kyle Goodwin: EFF represents Mr. Goodwin, who owns a business called OhioSportsNet that covers local high school sporting events in sports-crazed Ohio. Mr. Goodwin and his producers used Megaupload to store and share video files of sports games; he also backed those files up on a personal hard drive. As luck would have it, that hard drive crashed a few days before the Megaupload shut down, leaving Mr. Goodwin with no access to the files he needs to run his business.

RD says:

Re: Re: "content that he backed up via Megaupload and lost"

Don’t bother to explain it to the lying shill scumbag. He always blames the victim, so to him, using Mega was “irresponsible” and essentially “piracy” on Mr. Goodwin’s part. How it’s “piracy” when it’s his own content, I don’t know, but ootb/bob/AJ believe that only Big Media can create and own content and copyrights, and everyone else (comprising, essentially, all of humanity) are de facto “pirates.”

JMT says:

Re: "content that he backed up via Megaupload and lost"

“If was actually “backed up”, then surely he’d still have local copies. But if not, then tough: he’s learned a valuable lesson about how to manage “content” storage.”

Hopefully you’ve read Gwiz’s comment and learned a valuable lesson about making smart-ass comments about a topic you don’t know all the facts on. Can we expect an apology for your completely incorrect assumption and mocking attitude?

RD says:

Warm up the Report button!

This should be a classic thread, the “report” button will get a nice workout. Eliminating all the AbobJoutBlue garbage should make the comments more readable, take less time out of my busy day, and still allow me to keep up on the topic, all without having to deal with the ShrillShillTrolls(tm) that seem to serve NO other purpose but to stir the shit pot. I swear, it almost seems like they are intentionally trolling with the only purpose being to provide ammunition for the comments. It has to be, because people cant be THAT stupid about these topics…can they?

Oh right:

“There are only 2 things that are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not certain about the universe.” – Albert Einstein

Rekrul says:

Megaupload Seizure order
From: ###############
To: #########

############################ Megaupload ###############
############# on #################### with ##########
##################### so that ##########################
and ########################## or ####################
#################### when ###########################
################ not ################# and #############
######## therefore #######################

Signed: #################

Mike Masnick (profile) says:


Actually, the first sentence isn’t really wasn’t clear until Mike edited it to add in the “representing…” in brackets.

He won’t mention that, either.

Bullshit. Now you’re REALLY reaching. There was no edit. FYI, our content management system records every version of the story, and the very first version has that in there — because I wrote it exactly that way.

You’re incredible. You’ve been caught not reading the post and now you’re flat out lying.

Dude, I know you love to attack me, but seriously?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:


Mike, I didn’t see it, the version in my cache doesn’t have it.

Sorry if you feel that way, I didn’t see it, and it’s not there in the original version I saw.

Let me be 100% clear: You Are Lying.

There is no way that it is not in any version that you saw, because it was in there EXACTLY AS YOU SEE IT NOW in the VERY FIRST version of the story I wrote, and it has not changed since then.

You are lying.

But seriously, since I know you like to set up people who oppose you here… I leave it at that.

I guess once you’ve gone all in with a bald faced lie, why not double down with more, huh?

Seriously. You ought to stop digging. You were caught not reading the article and posting something stupid about it, and you should have just stuck with apologizing for being caught out as a troll who only looks to disagree. Instead, you decided to lie, and then keep lying when called on it.

You know full well that you’re completely full of shit, and I know full well that you’re completely full of shit, because I wrote the post and it always had that in there — and our content management system shows the very first — unpublished — version of the story with it in there. Because it’s always been in there.

If you didn’t see it, it’s because you’re a liar.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

let me be 100% clear – I know what I saw, and what I confirm in cache.

There isn’t much more to it. Your word against mine, I know what I saw. My apologies if you don’t feel good about it, that’s your problem. I would say that your wordy protests speak volumes about it. I think I caught you. That must sting like a bitch.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

let me be 100% clear – I know what I saw, and what I confirm in cache.

I know people have called you a troll in the past, and I’ve never done that with you. I thought you might actually just be a tremendously clueless, but sincere person.

You’ve now proven that, beyond any shadow of the doubt, that you’re a troll, because you’re lying.

I have no problem admitting when I make edits. In this case, no edits were made, and our CMS proves that. You are simply lying. Flat out, 100% full of shit lying.

There isn’t much more to it. Your word against mine, I know what I saw.

No, it’s not your word against mine. You know you didn’t see what you claim you saw, because it never happened. It simply did not ever happen. The version you claim to have seen never existed.

Either way, thanks for proving after all these years that you are, without a doubt, a troll who not only disagrees with posts you’ve clearly not read, but then you’ll lie about it — and then continue to lie after called out on it.

My apologies if you don’t feel good about it, that’s your problem. I would say that your wordy protests speak volumes about it. I think I caught you. That must sting like a bitch.

Ha! At this point you’re just pulling from the classic troll handbook — when caught apply everything you’re experiencing to the other person.

I feel great about finally confirming that you’re a troll, rather than just a moron.

And, yeah, that really must sting like a bitch to get caught. Isn’t it about time for you to take one of your “trips” again? Maybe next time you’ll show up with a different personality that actually engages, rather than trolls. Wouldn’t that be something.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

That’s cute, but the article, for those of us who have read it (some of us multiple times even) has NOT changed. Not a word of it.

Meaning, you, AC, are lying. Rather than admit you’re lying, and which Mike can prove, you are now trying to say Mike is lying and the EDIT was made just to get YOU.

Pathetic can’t even do justice to that type of move on your part.

Also, there’s no “level of protest”. It’s Mike saying, “Hey, we have software in place that makes note of any changes made. Unfortunately for you, that “EDIT” you refer to is no EDIT, because the word you are saying was “added later” was NOT added later. It was there from the very beginning. You’re wrong and rather than admit you are, you’re doubling down and flat out lying about myself and the article now.”

The one caught out AC is you. You started the comments by attacking an article you didn’t read. And got called out on your comment, at which point you admitted you didn’t read the article and then lied and said your declarative statement wasn’t one but was actually a question. It wasn’t as is evident for all to see, it can’t even be interpreted as being a question. You then doubled down and, still running with your “didn’t read the article”, got called out on it. By Mike. Now, rather than admit you have been in error this entire time you’re trying to shift blame for your screw-ups to Mike and his conspiracy to get you with one word, “representing”.

Just admit you’ve been wrong since comment 1 and let’s move on already. It’s not hard, here say it with me, “Everyone, I was wrong. I didn’t read the article, I didn’t ask a question and Mike’s “trying to get me” was me attempting to cover up for my own inability to read the article. [shrugs] My bad. I’ll try not to let it happen again.”

It’s what an adult would do at this point. A troll though would keep going down the path you’ve doggedly set upon.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Wait a second… making erroneous statements based upon a lack of reading, doubling down(multiple times at that) and attempting to defend said erroneous statements by blaming everyone else for your mistakes, claiming nefarious plots put in place by those that point out your mistakes and call you out on your lies… Ladies and gentlemen, I believe I know why Carreon hasn’t been responding the the people trying to serve him legal papers, it’s because he’s busy trolling TD!

Anonymous Coward says:

Has anyone asked Carpathia for the return of their data?

As someone who has data stored somewhere on Carpathia’s servers I’d like to know how to contact the company and ask them to release my data.

I realize that just contacting the PR people for Carpathia would be of little use?they’d basically ignore me and being that I’m not an American citizen I can’t go to the US Gov’t and ask for a resolution to this issue. So, who can I contact?

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