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14 April, 2012

Judge to Decide Fate of Users’ Megaupload Files

Judge to Decide Fate of Users’ Megaupload Files
by Todd Wasserman on Mashable

A federal judge was scheduled to hear arguments Friday morning about what to do with users’ files that were seized in the U.S. government’s January raid on file-sharing service Megaupload.

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom (a.k.a. Kim Schmitz, pictured) and six others who ran the site were indicted by The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in January. They are accused of making $175 million and causing $500 million in copyright infringement; if they’re found guilty, they’re looking at a maximum 20 years prison sentence.

Since the indictment, the fate of data stored on Megaupload has been up in the air. Initially, the plan was to erase the data as of Feb. 2. The 25 petabytes of data still exists, though it is stored on 1,100 servers owned by Carpathia and Cogent. Carpathia, which is said to be spending $9,000 a day to maintain that data, is asking the U.S. Federal Court in Northern Virginia to rule on the matter.

Though the government has copied “selected data” from the servers and insists the servers can now be wiped clean, the Electronic Frontier Foundation — a public advocacy group — is representing an Ohio man, Kyle Goodwin who thinks otherwise. Goodwin, the operator of OhioSportsNet, says he has legal, copyrighted material of high school sports games that had been stored on Megaupload. The Motion Picture Association of America also wants the data preserved as evidence in a potential civil case against Megaupload.

BONUS: The Strange and Epic Lifestyle of Megaupload’s Kim Dotcom

1. MegaRacer Domination Ends
Until recently, Kim Dotcom was the top Modern Warfare 3 player in the world. He even apparently posted a video to prove it. We imagine it's tough to maintain such a coveted position while being held in jail for multiple copyright violations.

The Megaupload kingpin claims to have paid $500,000 for the City of Auckland to put on a 2011 New Year's firework display. In case any Kiwi were to forget who was funding the awesomeness, he produced a video replete with on-screen identification of his whereabouts during the show. "Yeah, that's me in my personal helicopter!"

3. Mega Man
Dotcom stands 6 feet 7 inches tall, and tips the scales at 300 pounds, according to CNET. No one really knows his exact measurements though. All reports we've seen have him measured differently so whatever his exact height and weight are, it's easy to see that his physical size matches his personality and ego.

4. Surname Switch
He legally changed his surname from Schmitz to Dotcom in homage to the beloved World Wide Web that made him famous.

5. Financial Bravado and a 9/11 Bounty
He once fancied himself an anti-terrorism fighter by offering a bounty of $10 million for Osama bin Laden after 9/11. He started a group called Young Intelligent Hackers Against Terrorism. He was so kind as to offer the authorities on the hunt a little of his own advice:
"Try Looking in Kandahar in Afghanistan. He visits his wife and daughter there at least once a month."
Image courtesy of iStockVesnaandjic

According to Vanity Fair, Dotcom is a "skilled and very fast driver" who raced in and won the Gumball 3000 in 2005. He bet that he would beat two of the female drivers. If they finished before him, he'd give them each $500,000. If he won, they had to join him in a threesome. No report on what came of that.
According to the Wall Street Journal, we do know that when he was arrested, police confiscated 21 luxury cars.

Even when the game seemed to be up, Mr. Dotcom orchestrated a flamboyant exit. Police had to cut their way through electronic locks to a saferoom, where they found him clutching a gun.
Image courtesy of iStockzentilia

Dotcom generated a spectacle wherever he went, often surrounded by cars and women, and wearing his trademark black outfit. He was even known to jump into hot tubs fully clothed. He made movies about himself racing cars, flirting with women, and riding in helicopters and private jets.

9. Dubious Wealth Creation
According to The New York Times, in 2001 he reportedly made more than $1 million when he allegedly bought shares in a struggling website, then falsely announced he would make a major investment, only to then sell his shares once the price went up after his announcement. He then defended himself by appearing on a popular late-night show, claiming people hated him because they didn't like his lifestyle. He then fled to Thailand before ultimately being apprehended.

10. Big Time Friends
He commissioned this well-produced music video starring many celebrities supporting the site, ostensibly in part to rub Megaupload in the face of copyright holders. Much controversy ensued.


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