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Judge: Megaupload, Host, DOJ Must Work Out Server Maintenance

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the play-nice-children dept.

Cloud 72

itwbennett writes "Slashdot readers will recall that Carpathia Hosting, which is hosting the frozen data of 'up to 66 million users', would like to be released from that expense. But Judge Liam O'Grady has another idea: 'Lawyers for Megaupload, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Web hosting provider Carpathia Hosting and other groups fighting over who should maintain 1,100 servers formerly used by Megaupload should sit down and work out an arrangement,' O'Grady said Friday.' Stay tuned: The lawyers are due to report back in two weeks."

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Awesome! (2)

Higgins_Boson (2569429) | more than 2 years ago | (#39684959)

I can already HEAR my wallet being drained!

Re:Awesome! (5, Interesting)

Weezul (52464) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685043)

Isn't this cut and dried that the DoJ to pay for the hosting? Or maybe the servers should be handed over to megaupload in a New Zealand data center if they don't want to pay up.

Interestingly, we've now established that most downloads from Hotfiles were open source software [torrentfreak.com] , certainly the DoJ claims that MegaUpload actively pursued Pirate uploads, but it's clear that MegaUpload has "significant non-infringing uses". It follows they should actually be returned to operation but still face the charges for encouraging piracy.

In reality, the DoJ wants all those non-infringing files deleted because they'll hurt their case. The DoJ has also repeatedly tried to prevent MegaUpload from hiring good lawyers [torrentfreak.com] .

Re:Awesome! (5, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685169)

    Well....

    About the moment seized the equipment, it became their problem. As I understand it, Megaupload lost privileges to do anything. It's now evidence. They should have taken possession of it.

    But since Megaupload is contractually obliged to pay for the space and bandwidth, and the equipment is still there, they have to keep paying on the contract.

    The judge *should* have ordered that the hosting provider was either required to hold onto the equipment indefinitely, or hand it over to the DoJ. Either of those would be at the expense of the DoJ. This decision of "go work it out for yourselves" really smells like the DoJ doesn't have enough of a case for the judge to sign off on taking possession.

    The equipment must take up about 30 racks or so. That's a pretty sizable footprint in most datacenters. It seems the hosting provider is being very cooperative, and even though the "storage" cost seems high, it's about right for full racks, if they're dropped the power and network connections.

Re:Awesome! (2)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687389)

But since Megaupload is contractually obliged to pay for the space and bandwidth, and the equipment is still there, they have to keep paying on the contract.

Well, not necessarily. They have a contractual obligation to pay for the bandwidth and hosting. The DoJ's actions have forced the hosting provider into a situation where they are no longer providing the hosting agreed upon in the contract; IOW, the government have forced the hosting provider to no longer be upholding their end of the contract.
That means MegaUpload could start witholding payments, on the basis that their service provider isn't providing the service agreed upon.
The hosting provider then might have recourse against MegaUpload, which might or might not be cancelled out by MegaUpload's recourse against the hosting provider.

The DoJ is responsible for the hosting provider's non-performance, therefore, the DoJ should be liable to pay MegaUpload's recourse against the hosting provider then.

Re:Awesome! (4, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39689197)

If the government permits the defense evidence to be destroyed they may as well give up their case right now. No judge or jury is going to convict after that.

Re:Awesome! (3, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685207)

I don't understand why they just can't reimburse the hosting company for the hard drives with all the data on them (so they can buy replacements and continue operating their business) and put the ones with all the data on them in storage.

I mean, I get that we're talking about a massive amount of data here, but hard drives aren't that big. It's not like they're going to need to clear room in that warehouse where they store the Ark of the Covenant or anything.

If that's too much work, why not just mirror the data somewhere and let the hosting company wipe the drives and got on with life?

It just seems like these issues are trivial but the players involved are making them out to be far more complicated then it needs to be (in some cases deliberately, I'm sure). It's all a bunch of fucking ones and zeros and the people involved in the case are making it out to be a lot more than that.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39687679)

it's the goverment laws of procurement - they would gave to buy at least 5 for each one

1 to repace the one currently in use
1 to fill the hole in the inventory
2 for the cia etc.
1 that the procurement officer would gave sold on evil-bay!

Re:Awesome! (1)

mfwitten (1906728) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685267)

Why in the world should taxpayer's have to foot the bill? WHY?

It's amazing how quickly people are willing to waste OTHER PEOPLE's money.

The right solution is to allow a company to continue operating until it has been found to be in violation by the time that due process ENDS—you know, "innocent until proven guilty". If the company is found in violation, then it would have to pay damages for the time that it continued to operate during due process. If the company was afraid of being found in violation, then it could CHOOSE to stop whatever is under scrutiny until the end of due process.

If you want to start a fight, go fsck around with your own resources.

Re:Awesome! (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685515)

Uh, they can't allow them to continue operating because it's evidence. You can't give evidence to the accused, for obvious reasons.

Re:Awesome! (4, Insightful)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39686253)

1) The DOJ is saying they're fine if it gets destroyed. That makes any argument that you can't give it to the accused pretty flagrantly specious.
2) If the DOJ did actually want a clean copy as evidence, they can make themselves a copy and then put the original equipment back into service until the verdict comes down.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39685597)

The right solution is to let the company continue operating? Really? This is a criminal case. By your wonderful logic the police should never stop a crime in progress because the person has not yet been found guilty in court.

Re:Awesome! (2)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685651)

Why is this even a criminal case? Shouldn't it be a civil case between the copyright holders and Megaupload?

The DOJ shouldn't be involved at all.

THIS IS A COLOSSAL WASTE OF TAX DOLLARS. And yes I'm saying it in all caps because it's important.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39685773)

It is a criminal case because there is a law that says so. You know, the exact same reason every other crime is a criminal case.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685713)

Wrong company...

The hosting company is not Megauploads and has not been charged with anything.

Re:Awesome! (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685793)

The hosting company (Carpathia) has not been prevented from doing anything by the DOJ. They are free to continue operating. MegaUpload is the company saying that the servers should be kept online (with their data).

Re:Awesome! (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687169)

To date, they HAVE been prevented from wiping the many servers that are no longer being paid for.

Re:Awesome! (2)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687157)

Yes, they should be allowed to continue operating unless/until found guilty in a court of law. Any particular act that was a crime has certainly stopped by now. Should the FVBI witness any particular act during that time that is a crime, they are free to say stop at that point and add it to the pile of evidence they claim to have.

Re:Awesome! (2)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 2 years ago | (#39691087)

The problem with the "stop doing what your under scrutiny" bit is that it is effectively the same thing as a shutdown. What lawyer in their right mind is going ot advise a client to continue to do what they are currently in court for? Not to mention voluntarily stopping might be twisted into admission of guilt: "well clearly they knew what they were doing was wrong because as soon as they knew that we were watching they stopped".

I totally agree with the continue operating until proven guilty bit but it is difficult in practice. One work around might be to give the defendant immunity from prosecution for continued offenses (not the original ones) for the duration of the trial. If you don't like what they are continuing to do then work on the due process and get a move on with the trial. If a defendant in good faith thinks what they are doing is okay and it hasn't been found to not be okay in court they should be able to continue to do it without penalty. This is copyright infringement not someone raping babies. There is plenty of time to figure it out and get a more clear judgement on what hosters are allowed to do without panicking and shutting down everyone that has data on the internet.

Re:Awesome! (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685301)

The DoJ can't legally delete the non-infringing files. As long as the servers are in their possession, they really can't do anything with them except copy them or return them to their owners, and I don't know if copies of the files on the servers would be admissible in court. If they want to use the data on the servers as evidence in their trial, they may have to hold on to the servers they originally seized. But nothing prevents them from copying the files on the servers and returning those files to Carpathia.

But that's not what Carpathia would want. To them, a lot of the value is in the hardware. They would want the original hardware back with files intact and that's not going to happen anytime soon unless either DoJ dismisses the case or MegaUpload pleads guilty. And the value of the hardware and stored files could decay to near nothing by the time a criminal case could make it through the courts. And should they get a conviction and MegaUpload appeals you can cut that almost nothing to actually nothing.

I don't see how they are going to work this out in a way that doesn't maximally screw over non-infringing users.

Re:Awesome! (2)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685401)

But that's not what Carpathia would want. To them, a lot of the value is in the hardware. They would want the original hardware back with files intact and that's not going to happen anytime soon unless either DoJ dismisses the case or MegaUpload pleads guilty

Why do you think Carpathia cares about the files?
They care about the hardware, because it's theirs and it's costing them money without generation revenue.
The files on the servers are Megaupload's.

Re:Awesome! (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687891)

Are all of the files on the servers MegaUpload's?

Re:Awesome! (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685495)

In reality, the DoJ wants all those non-infringing files deleted because they'll hurt their case. The DoJ has also repeatedly tried to prevent MegaUpload from hiring good lawyers

Destruction of evidence required by the defense can hurt their case by having it thrown out.

Re:Awesome! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39698583)

we've now established that most downloads from Hotfiles were open source software

interesting tidbit.. however it fails to consider that most infringing content is removed long before it can establish a high download count.. and that multiple or repeated re-uploads of the same content would be considered separate files and counted separately.

How are other frozen assets managed (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39684999)

How do the courts generally manage assets frozen while being maintained by third parties?

Surely this situation must come up in cases of, say, livestock?

Its weird this all seems to be taking everyone by surprise.

Re:How are other frozen assets managed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39685063)

Livestock would be dead by now.

Re:How are other frozen assets managed (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39685279)

Its "taking them by suprise" because its what theyre going for: they dont even need an extradition and conviction if they destroy megauploads business for good.

Re:How are other frozen assets managed (4, Funny)

Nidi62 (1525137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685391)

How do the courts generally manage assets frozen while being maintained by third parties?

Surely this situation must come up in cases of, say, livestock?

They freeze them

collateral damage (3, Informative)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685509)

It has, even with more closely related assets.

In RIM vs. NTP, the court toyed with the idea of shutting down the BlackBerry network, cutting off thousands of BlackBerry users. Some of those users were government workers and Congresspersons. The court decided not to order a shutdown because it would be "unworkable" to exclude customers in the government from the shutdown. More like, the court realized in this case their power was unworkable, and inconveniencing Congress would be about the quickest way to lose that power. They didn't seem much concerned with the damage such an action would do to innocent 3rd parties.

In Verizon vs Vonage, the court actually went beyond making threats. The judge threatened to shut Vonage down, but didn't do it. However, Vonage was actually ordered not sign up new customers.

SCO took matters even further on their own. They used the threat of legal action to push innocent 3rd parties into paying a "license fee" to use Linux. They had the nerve to demand that all Linux users pay this fee. Never mind they hadn't won their case yet. Never mind that even in the event of a win, the losers should be paying, not the public. The courts' incredible powers were being used by a litigant to scare and blackmail the public.

The court did shut down Napster. Wantonly and irreparably destroyed a service millions of people had been using, describing Napster as a "monster", and ultimately for naught as other services quickly filled the void. They killed many of those services too, and in vain. None of those acts stopped piracy. The Pirate Bay may be the leading surviving service now. They misidentified the monster. It wasn't Napster, it wasn't even the Internet and technology itself, it was Nature.

It's astonishing that the courts can even think of doing such spiteful things. Keep on threatening to chop babies in half, as in the Judgment of Solomon, and it will someday backfire. The court will be forced to admit they were bluffing, or really cut the baby in half. It has happened. The courts are baby killers.

Re:collateral damage (2)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39686449)

You were doing so well too, right until you slid off the edge at the end.

Re:collateral damage (3, Informative)

HiThere (15173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687407)

He didn't slide off the end, he was literally historically accurate. You could say that he used the wrong tense, but that wouldn't even hold up under analysis. Analysis shows that he was using "baby" metaphorically, so it didn't matter that the examples of real babies being killed are historic. The metaphoric babies are still being killed.

However, the problem with the argument is that often two sides will each be supporting their own metaphoric baby. In this case ANY decision will kill at least one of them, and often no decision, or a delayed decision, will end up killing both.

The legal system is not about justice. They don't even claim to be about justice anymore. Instead they claim to be following the rules. (Often they are.) So to lawyers and judges, legal cases are essentially high stakes gaming. With a variable scoring system.

Herewith my professional advice (2)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685041)

Why can't all the MegaUpload servers and files on it be set so that all account holders have read only access to their data?

Problem solved.

My invoice is in the post.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685305)

The problem is no one is paying the bill racking up at the moment, so who gets to pay for the added extra cost of implementing your suggestion?

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685693)

One presumes the account holders have paid megaupload, so the server costs can be met out of their frozen accounts.

I'm on a roll today.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39686317)

And that's the problem, as you say the accounts are frozen - the judge hasnt allowed access to them, and the DoJ hasn't granted an exception to their application.

If an exception was granted in the first place then we wouldn't be commenting in this story at all...

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687341)

That would be fraud. The account holders paid to have their files made available for others to download. The files are NOT available for anyone to download at this point, so why should they pay?

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39689809)

"One presumes the account holders have paid megaupload, so the server costs can be met out of their frozen accounts."

One presumes incorrectly. Megaupload was an advertisment-supported service. The account holders did not pay Megaupload; they were paid BY Megaupload.

But of course, now that the site is shut down, there is no advertising revenue.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39690375)

mega upload had premium accounts FYI

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39690781)

"mega upload had premium accounts FYI"

Probably an insignificant fraction of their business, though. Their other customers reportedly numbered in the millions.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685319)

The DoJ claims that there is a large amount of infringing data on the servers and that it would be illegal to allow the account holders to download it.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685687)

If there is infringing content, Tte account holders put it there in the first place, so having read only rights to the account holders only wouldn't distribute it any further - at least not through megaupload.....

Right thats the DOJ argument settled - next?

Re:Herewith my professional advice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39686717)

If there is infringing content, Tte account holders put it there in the first place, so having read only rights to the account holders only wouldn't distribute it any further - at least not through megaupload.....

... unless I give you my megaupload login and password, in which case you can pretend to be the account holder and download the files I uploaded using my megaupload account.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687881)

That's not necessarily true. Let's say you created an account just to hold your infringing copies of movies. You might (if you're not smart) give person X your account name and password so he can share your files. Now he may think he has nothing to lose by sharing your login info with the world and letting hundreds or thousands of people download it. The government doesn't want that to happen, clearly. The government is probably going to be blaming all this on the account holder and charging you with making all those unauthorized copies.

But if I can think of this, you bet the MPAA has already suggested this possibility to the DoJ and is ready to sue everybody in sight the minute there's a hint that it might happen.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687077)

Wait... so they want to harm everyone, even innocents, because someone could download copyrighted material? Even if it was the same person that put it there to begin with (and thus already have it)? They sure do love collective punishment.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687815)

The fact that suspect data is intermixed with legal data is not the DoJ's doing. What would you propose? Should they just monitor who downloads what and prosecute those who downloaded the data that they allege is infringing copyrights?

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

NeverSuchBefore (2613927) | more than 2 years ago | (#39688199)

What do I propose? It won't happen, but I wish they'd stop wasting manpower and taxpayer dollars going after copyright infringers. As for what they should do now, they could just let people download the data but not upload anything.

I'm tired of copyright infringement being treated like it's a national security emergency when it's, in reality, less of a problem than jaywalking. The police should never be involved with this shit.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693683)

Mostly, I agree, except with it being less of a problem than jaywalking. It's an area that should be left to civl law and civil courts.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39688791)

I rent a storage unit from Storage-R-Us. Joe Schmoe also rents a unit from them, and puts stolen property in it. Does the DOJ have the right to confiscate my property as well as Joe's, just because Storage-R-Us owns the rental units?

Re:Herewith my professional advice (2)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39691049)

in a perfect world, DoJ has the obligation to go through all the storage units and search for stolen property, impounding the entire contents of each unit they find stolen property in; the rest, once checked, are allowed usual access for the keyholders to remove their property but Storage-R-Us would not be allowed to take money, put anything else into storage or sign up new clients *while the investigation is ongoing*. Running cost would be met by DoJ while they carry out their investigation *only if their activity prevents Storage-R-Us from carrying on normal trading*. If, at the conclusion of the investigation and any subsequent court case, Storage-R-Us are found to be active contributory/accessory to any crime, then the DoJ would be able to claim back the running costs on top of any other costs so accrued. This would break even very large companies. If it goes the other way round (Storage-R-Us found not to be contributory) then the company would be able to claim excessive costs (ie interest on loans unpaid while accounts are frozen) from the DoJ, who of course have the financial backing of the Federal Reserve via the Treasury which equals a bottomless pit.

Course, this isn't a perfect world, this is the Real World where Government agencies are above the Laws and Statutes they codify and apply to Everyone Else. The DoJ can do what the fuck they like, and if that means shutting down MU or Storage-R-Us because **AA has a hissy fit at the possibility that they might be enabling civil infringement, then tough titties.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (2)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693613)

That's a bad analogy, as are most analogies between physical property and computer files.

The allegedly infringing files are on the same hard drives on the same servers as the completely legitimate files. The DoJ seized the servers as the easiest way to seize the MegaUpload files before MegaUpload could delete them. MegaUpload won't tell them which accounts might have infringing files in them because if they did, they would be admitting to complicity in the crime of making illegal copies of those files. They can only claim ignorance of specific claims of piracy if they never claim to know who might have illegally uploaded data. Heck, they probably don't even KNOW which users were using their service for completely legal purposes and who uploaded pirated files. Why and how would they know that? Carpathia probably doesn't even have the access information. They're caught between MegaUpload and the DoJ, along with any law-abiding MegaUpload users.

Those who have uploaded data to MegaUpload and depended on having access to it are fools. Sucks to be them, but you won't find me uploading the only copies of any data I have to MegaUpload or any other hosting service.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (3, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39689839)

"The DoJ claims that there is a large amount of infringing data on the servers and that it would be illegal to allow the account holders to download it."

DOJ bears the burden of proof. Legally, it must show the content is infringing, or release it. If you want to get technical, it should have had to show that any particular content was infringing BEFORE seizing it.

Technically, DOJ is currently breaking the law, because it has "interfered with" thousands or even millions of legitimate business contracts in order to prosecute OTHER PEOPLE who might not be legitimate. The government is specifically prohibited by the Constitution from doing that.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (2)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39693377)

"The DoJ claims that there is a large amount of infringing data on the servers and that it would be illegal to allow the account holders to download it."

DOJ bears the burden of proof. Legally, it must show the content is infringing, or release it. If you want to get technical, it should have had to show that any particular content was infringing BEFORE seizing it.

Technically, DOJ is currently breaking the law, because it has "interfered with" thousands or even millions of legitimate business contracts in order to prosecute OTHER PEOPLE who might not be legitimate. The government is specifically prohibited by the Constitution from doing that.

"The DoJ claims that there is a large amount of infringing data on the servers and that it would be illegal to allow the account holders to download it."

DOJ bears the burden of proof. Legally, it must show the content is infringing, or release it. If you want to get technical, it should have had to show that any particular content was infringing BEFORE seizing it.

Technically, DOJ is currently breaking the law, because it has "interfered with" thousands or even millions of legitimate business contracts in order to prosecute OTHER PEOPLE who might not be legitimate. The government is specifically prohibited by the Constitution from doing that.

You're mistaken. The DoJ can seize anything that's named on their warrant. The warrant must be based on probable cause to believe that the persons or things seized were involved in a crime. They don't have to prove anything in the sense you're implying.

So if the warrant (which I have not seen) named Carpathia Hosting's servers then Carpathia Hosting's servers are the things to be seized. In this case, DoJ "seized" them by freezing access to them.

I'm not insensitive to the plight of those whose legitimate business may have been harmed by the seizure. I wish that DoJ had used a finer hand in their seizure and found a way to take control only of the files that they allege are infringing and left the rest alone. Maybe they will, but based on today's news it looks like the finger pointing is only escalating.

As I pointed out in this thread though, their hands could be tied by the rules of evidence in criminal court. It may be that to allow less intrusive seizures in the future, laws may have to be modified to allow the government to take and use copies of original evidence in court.

Re:Herewith my professional advice (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39705731)

"You're mistaken. The DoJ can seize anything that's named on their warrant. The warrant must be based on probable cause to believe that the persons or things seized were involved in a crime. They don't have to prove anything in the sense you're implying."

You are assuming. I didn't say they had to "prove" anything. I did write "show", but I intended that to include probable cause. I could have worded it better.

More to the point, however: probable cause or not, in regard to those who they feel were violating the law, they ALSO seized digital "assets" of thousands or millions of legitimate customers, who cannot now retrieve that data. And DOJ seems to have little to no regard for that fact.

"So if the warrant (which I have not seen) named Carpathia Hosting's servers then Carpathia Hosting's servers are the things to be seized. In this case, DoJ "seized" them by freezing access to them."

I am aware of that. My whole point was that if so, the warrant was inappropriately (and, frankly: unconscionably, unjustifiably, and unjustly) broad, because it takes in legitimate business material and intelligence that thousands of people relied on for doing honest business. That is not to be taken lightly.

"... based on today's news it looks like the finger pointing is only escalating."

Which is why I am trying to call attention to this gross injustice. Would it be legitimate to shut down all of Amazon if a small percentage of people used it for nefarious purposes, like trading in counterfeit goods? Of course not. In fact that has happened with both Amazon and Ebay, and the result was that to the extent practical the responsible parties were brought to justice, but the legitimate customers were left alone.

Would that have been the same, if corporate officers at Amazon or Ebay were in collusion? I doubt it very much. Likely the corporations would be allowed to continue in legitimate business while the criminals were prosecuted.

The main thing here is that I think there has been a great deal of different treatment just because of the nature of their business. (I.e., files rather than tangible goods.) And I do not think that difference is justified. Instead, it is driven by lobbying for protectionism by corporate interests, which is an injustice in itself.

"As I pointed out in this thread though, their hands could be tied by the rules of evidence in criminal court. It may be that to allow less intrusive seizures in the future, laws may have to be modified to allow the government to take and use copies of original evidence in court."

No, that is contradictory. DOJ says it already has the evidence it needs... but the majority of the files and business information (which, since it isn't evidence, is presumably legitimate) are being left to languish on servers that are no longer in use, and are in danger of being destroyed. Or destroyed beyond recovery for any further business purposes, anyway.

There is no matter of evidence or evidentiary rules involved; that is already past.

Hosting contracts should change. (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685289)

Hosting providers should have a "kill switch" such that in the event of litigation, all hard drives will be physically removed, boxed, and turned over to law enforcement, all contracts terminate instantly, and if anyone wants their data back they can go fight DOJ etc.

Anyone who doesn't back up their data deserves to suffer for being stupid. Yes, really. Some things will never not be a bad idea, and no matter how much people bitterly resent backing up their work there is every reason to do it and no logical one not to.

Re:Hosting contracts should change. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39685367)

So just being accused should be enough to shut a company down? Even if only for the time it takes to find new hosting and restore a backup, you're talking about a lot of wasted money. Or do you propose more government departments to decide if it'd require a take down? Of course they'd need supervisor's too, and senate committees, and on and on wasting tax payers money. Really, I have too many questions with dire answers to list. But I'm sure in your world everything's always black and white with no abuses of power.

Re:Hosting contracts should change. (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39690351)

Of course there will be abuses of power, but this way the problem gets offloaded onto (Department serving warrant) and the actual servers can be restored to servicing other accounts.

"Even if only for the time it takes to find new hosting and restore a backup, you're talking about a lot of wasted money."

Of course, but it's wasted anyway WITHOUT personal backup when your hosting company is taken down. Therefore, prepare for hosting company failure.

Also, don't host with providers who live off obviously illicit content. Anyone using Megaupload would have to have been internet-illiterate not to know it was a great place to go for pron and warez.

Re:Hosting contracts should change. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39685981)

Hosting providers who do that won't get business.

Re:Hosting contracts should change. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39686791)

Hosting providers should have a "kill switch" such that in the event of litigation, all hard drives will be physically removed, boxed, and turned over to law enforcement, all contracts terminate instantly, and if anyone wants their data back they can go fight DOJ etc.

Who is going to pay for the replacement drives? The hosting provider (in other words, the customers) or DOJ?

the backup (1)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687435)

The backup, (all the data being mirrored on several servers), is also confiscated. Even if they were to have one on tape, the DOJ would have taken those as well. Who's stupid now?

Re:the backup (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39690341)

PERSONAL backup is impractical to confiscate as it would be retained by the data owner. I'm not suggesting hosting company backup as being a safe idea.

Re:Hosting contracts should change. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39692559)

Even simpler:
1) The data is evidence. It is the governments responsibility to take care of evidence and bear all costs of that and have to return it or pay compensation if the accused is found not guilty.
2) It is not evidence. The company can continue to operate normally with the data.

The DOJ seems to claim a third case, i.e. it is not evidence but the company cannot continue to operate. While I don't see why they can't just treat it as 1), I guess it would be reasonable to let them delete it but if they don't win their case they should have to pay any losses to MegaUpload they cannot disprove. I doubt that's something anyone wants to risk.
Of course the US systems works by the rule "first crush the accused and if they are found not guilty just leave them crushed", as evidenced by the fact that someone wrongly thrown in jail gets no compensation, so there's not much point in bothering with the whole thing at all, its "guilty once claimed guilty" anyway (unless you have a few 100 million dollar to waste).

Re:Hosting contracts should change. (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#39700869)

Hosting providers should have a "kill switch" such that in the event of litigation, all hard drives will be physically removed, boxed, and turned over to law enforcement, all contracts terminate instantly, and if anyone wants their data back they can go fight DOJ etc.

Which would be irrelevant in this case, because the DOJ is refusing to accept the servers. So they're all boxed up ready for the DOJ and the DOJ just says "YOU hang onto it".

Otherwise why is the DOJ fighting all attempts by Carpathia to offload the servers? They don't want it, MU is not allowed to purchase them, the hosting company is forced to store the servers and incur all costs for doing so. (And the DOJ's argument that Carpathia "benefited" and can pay? Sorry, that's like saying that since my income exceeded expenses last year, I don't deserve to get a salary. Especially since profit margins aren't necessarily high to begin with.)

what the hell (2)

nimbius (983462) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685313)

is "frozen" data? this seems like a pretty simple fucking solution. turn the servers back on for 120 days and set the fstab to read-only. Turn them back off later and continue the scapegoating process of destroying one mans free time and personal fortune in the pursuit of "copyright enforcement"

Re:what the hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39685655)

and this should solve FINANCIAL problems of INNOCENT hosting company how? $9'000/day covers salaries of 91 people (assuming 36'000/year salary) so you are practically forcing carpatia host to pay for 91 extra employees (company that probably has only 2-3 employees currently) just because government can order them to continue providing service and not pay them at same time, forcing guilty person to loose money is ok, but forcing INNOCENT person to loose money hell no, government should foot the bill and in case megaupload is found guilty take that money back from megaupload

Japanese Inspection (4, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685461)

You ever heard of a “Japanese Inspection?” Japanese Inspection, you see, when the Japs take in a load of lettuce they’re not sure they wanna let in the country, why they’ll just let it sit there on the dock ’til they get good and ready to look at, But then of course, it’s all gone rotten ain’t nothing left to inspect. You see, lettuce is a perishable item

(from "Days of Thunder")

From day 1, the behaviour of the authorities on this case has stunk. The first thing that struck me about their arrest of Kim Dotcom was that they turned up at his mansion with a trailer, and hauled away his pink Cadillac right there on the spot - confiscating his property before he'd even had a trial.

If they are evidence, they go into the custody of the authorities. They don't sit there, rotting away the funds of the company, unless of course, that's the intention.

Re:Japanese Inspection (1)

HiThere (15173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687465)

Bingo.

Why bother to bother getting a conviction, when you can achieve your aims by stealing things and then stonewalling?

Somehow I think they expect he should have been bribing more politicians.

N.B.: I'm not guessing whether or not he was technically guilty or not. I'm commenting on the process. It's sort of like RICO...if you get accused, the first thing they do is prevent you from being able to hire a good lawyer.

Suck it up (0)

qbast (1265706) | more than 2 years ago | (#39685717)

Maybe Carpathia Hosting should stop their whining before DOJ comes and carts off all their servers. Just to make sure they don't miss anything.

I'm sure other hosting companies will think twice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39686027)

Not judging the hosting company involved here, but I'm sure other hosting companies will think twice before trying to make a profit off some one that possibly could be storing alleged contraband.

Re:I'm sure other hosting companies will think twi (1)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 2 years ago | (#39686313)

The chilling effect you describe is intentional, until all business is chilled right out of the USA. At that point we will hear the American war cry "Unfair!"

Re:I'm sure other hosting companies will think twi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39686863)

You do realize that anyone could possibly be storing alleged contraband, right?

Re:I'm sure other hosting companies will think twi (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#39687373)

Not judging the hosting company involved here, but I'm sure other hosting companies will think twice before trying to make a profit off some one that possibly could be storing alleged contraband.

So they just won't host anything? Who ISN'T possibly storing alleged contraband?

slashdot is full of sheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39689149)

I'm going to stop reading the comments here. Democracy is a failure.

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