Nearly 50,000 People Ask Why The Government Is Seizing Their Digital Files

from the speak-out dept

The folks at Demand Progress today filed a brief in one part of the ongoing Megaupload case: the fight over users being able to get their files back. The DOJ is trying to block this, while also wanting the evidence destroyed. The MPAA says it is okay with data being returned... if there is a 100% guarantee that no infringing works are accessed (an impossibly high standard). The Demand Progress filing points out that this whole thing flies in the face of being innocent until proven guilty, and argues that users who are non-parties to the lawsuit should have access to their files.

Related to this, Demand Progress has also put together a petition, asking people to sign on to support a user's right to his or her own files -- and against the government just magically taking files out of the cloud:

One day after the Internet staged a massive blackout to protest Congress's Internet censorship legislation (SOPA/PIPA), the United States responded by seizing millions of ordinary user files hosted on the popular website Megaupload.com.

With an aim of shutting down Megaupload and other Cloud-based hosting services (like Dropbox, YouTube or even your email provider), the government is trying to claim website operators should face decades in prison for the misdeeds of some of their users. But while they pursue trumped up criminal charges against the companies' founders, they are shutting down dozens of websites, and leaving ordinary Internet users without any way of retrieving their files.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak called the case against Megaupload a "threat to innovation." Wozniak likened the Megaupload site to a highway and those who shared pirated movies and songs to speeding motorists. "You don't just shut down the whole street because somebody is speeding," he said.

Numerous laws on the books already give copyright holders plenty of avenues to stop actual infringement, but that's not enough to satisfy Hollywood's lawyers and lobbyists. The prosecutor in the case, Neil MacBride, previously served as the Anti-Piracy Vice President of the Business Software Alliance, where he represented the intellectual property interests of countless multinational corporations.

Now Hollywood's lobbyists, represented by the Motion Picture Association of America, want him to make it nearly impossible for ordinary Internet users to get their property back.

As I write this, the petition appears to have just short of 50,000 signatures, and the number is increasing rapidly... The Internet vs. Hollywood

Filed Under: congress, data, doj, hollywood, petition, pipa, sopa
Companies: megaupload, mpaa


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  1. icon
    Brad Hubbard (profile), 29 Jun 2012 @ 4:08pm

    What I still don't get

    There's one thing that's troubled me over all this.

    OK, so suppose I operate a monthly parking lot. One day, the cops tell me that they're pretty sure a stolen car is parked in my lot. So they lock the gates and proceed to airlift all of the cars out to a holding location while they determine if they're stolen or not. Meanwhile, all my PAYING customers want their cars back, but I can't give it to them. All because they think I might have known one of the cars was stolen (but they don't know which ones).

    Then you tell me the storage lot you dragged numerous, non-stolen cars to is too expensive, and so they might just blow up the cars or sell them off or whatever, but my customers who broke no laws can't have them back, in case they MIGHT be stolen (though, it'd be too hard to check, cuz there's all those numbers!).

    Just because it's digital doesn't mean no laws on due process or prior restraint apply. If it did, why are we having all these arguments around "intellectual property" laws in the first place?

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