Early this year the United States government moved to shutdown Megaupload. As I mentioned, the move basically rendered the whole Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) debate irrelevant since the state was acting as if the legislation passed anyways. The state went so far as to confiscate all of Megaupload’s servers, which meant anybody with data on Megaupload were unable to access it even if it wasn’t data that violated copyright. The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a suit to allow users to retrieve their data and that suit has shown what the Megaupload case was about all along:
U.S. federal prosecutors are fine with Megaupload users recovering their data — as long as they pay for it.
The government’s position was explained in a court filing on Friday concerning one of the many interesting side issues that has emerged from the shutdown of Megaupload, formerly one of the most highly trafficked file-sharing sites.
U.S. law allows for third parties who have an interest in forfeited property to make a claim. But the government argues that it only copied part of the Megaupload data and the physical servers were never seized.
Megaupload’s 1,103 servers — which hold upwards of 28 petabytes of data — are still held by Carpathia Hosting, the government said.
This case, like all government cases, was about taking your shit. The state moved in, confiscated data from Carpathia, then demanded they preserve the servers while receiving nothing in compensation for having legally untouchable servers that aren’t being paid for. Now the state has told users they can get their data from the Megaupload servers so long as they pay.
In other words the state moved in, took peoples’ data, refused to compensate those it stole from for any losses, and then turned around and said the burden of paying for recovery costs falls on the shoulders of the users the state stole from. This is how the state operates, they take your shit then demand you pay to get it back.