Megaupload has submitted a filing to the US District Court on Wednesday that claims the US government misled the court when it used planted evidence to get search warrants.
According to Ars Technica, Megaupload argues that the main evidence being used against it are files that it kept to meet government demands. The key evidence of 36 unauthorized copies of movies was part of the evidence used in the prosecution of NinjaVideo, a MegaUpload customer. Megaupload claims to have kept the movies on its servers because it didn’t want to tamper with evidence against NinjaVideo, not knowing that the same evidence would be used to obtain Megaupload warrants.
In an email sent to Megaupload on June 25, 2010 by Carpathia, its US web hosting provider, Megaupload was asked to “move all the files” to a disk to be passed on to the government, and didn’t specify whether the original copies should be kept or deleted.
Rather than wait for a customer to delete infringing content, web hosts should develop a policy with a lawyer around deleting infringing content in case the customer does not follow through with requests, Internet lawyer David Snead said in a presentation last year.
On November 18, 2011, the US government claimed in the search warrants that 36 of the 39 infringing copies of movies remained on Megaupload’s servers. Megaupload’s attorney Ira Rothken said Megaupload “had every reason to retain those files in good faith because the Government had sought and obtained Megaupload’s cooperation in retrieving the files and warned that alerting users to the existence of the warrant and the Government’s interest in the files could compromise the investigation,” according to a report by Torrent Freak.
This is not the first issue that Megaupload has seen around search warrants; in June 2012 a New Zealand court found that the search warrants police used in the raid of Kim Dotcom’s mansion were illegal.
Torrent Freak said that if the Megaupload warrants are declared unlawful, the court could order the return of Megaupload’s assets. This would mean that former users of the service would get their files back.
Talk back: Do you think the Megaupload search warrants will be found illegal? Do you think Carpathia should have dealt with the requests of the government differently? Let us know in a comment.