Pirate Parties Help Victims of Megaupload Seizure
Love him or hate him, Kim Dotcom has been in the headlines ever since New Zealand police raided his mansion at the behest of the FBI on 20 January 2012. The FBI also seized the servers belonging to his company Megaupload and all the files held on them. A very controversial action which was described by one of his lawyers as “whatever happened to the presumption of innocence, and why is it being denied in this case”. Since then Kim Dotcom has been fighting back; embarrassing both the New Zealand and US governments and, despite being on bail, launching a new file sharing site Mega – this time encrypted.
But it was not only Dotcom and his business associates who were affected by the seizure. Millions of users who had innocently stored files which did not infringe copyright or other forms of intellectual property on the Megaupload servers lost all access to their data. Now, over a year later, they have had no opportunity to get it back nor have seen any chance of compensation. It is somewhat akin to watching the police seize a bank which had customers that were allegedly engaged in money laundering (and which major bank hasn’t?) and telling all the other customers they had, lost all access to their deposits —forever. And then, to make matters worse, insinuating that because they were using that bank they were probably laundering money as well.
Pirates are not the sort of people that stand off to the side. The Pirate Party of Catalonia has taken matters in hand, with the support from several national Pirate Parties and Pirate Parties International, they have started registering customers of Megaupload who have suffered a loss at the hands of the authorities. The aim is to start class action lawsuits against the US in as many countries as possible. It may not lead to data restoration or compensation being paid but at least the resulting publicity might make them think twice about doing it again.
If you or someone you know has been affected by the closure of Megaupload then the Pirata.CAT registration site might well be of interest.
Featured image: by home of chaos CC BY
Correction: the date of the raid was given as 20 January 2013 it has now been corrected to 20 January 2012 – thanks to David Metcalf for bringing the mistake to my attention. (AR)