Megaupload’s cloud service users to get hearing on retrieving lawfully-stored files

Lost in the federal and international public relations (propaganda) campaign following the arrest of the Megaupload team is the fact that some users lawfully-stored files in the company’s cloud service. Since the site itself is evidence in a federal court case, lawful users have been unable to retrieve their legal files, which might ultimately be deleted to please the entertainment industry.

This Friday, however, lawful users will hopefully get a legal reprieve with the help of EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation).

In a hearing before a judge in USA v. Dotcom in an Alexandria, Virginia federal courthouse, EFF will ask the court to establish a process that would allow lawful users of Megaupload’s cloud storage service to retrieve their files. EFF Staff Attorney Julie Samuels is set to argue that “Megaupload’s customers deserve a court-approved procedure to retrieve their property before it’s deleted.”

One can already imagine the entertainment industry’s position on this issue: Buy the products again. The free market, to be sure.

With any luck, though, EFF’s tactic here should reverberate through the debate over file-sharing and online piracy by getting the government to publicly acknowledge that not all file-sharing, especially that which takes place within cloud storage sites, is illegal, and by establishing a legal precedent for lawful users to retrieve their files from sites under federal prosecution.