Many people look at online piracy as a black and white issue. You are either on the side of big business copyright holders or a part of the “sharing is caring” crowd. We seem to overlook the fact that many people use services like Megaupload and the numerous torrent clients to transfer and store data that they legally own.
Such is the case for an Ohio videographer who lost all of his footage when Megaupload was raided in January. Kyle Goodwin runs a business video taping high school sports across Ohio. He keeps a massive archive of his video on a personal harddrive and backup on Megaupload. In January, he lost both of his storage files. His personal harddrive crashed and Megaupload’s servers were seized by the federal government.
Goodwin lost his livelihood in one fell swoop. He now has clients who want him to make highlight reels for college recruitment and nothing to show them.
He has since called on the assistance of the Electronic Frontier Foundation to negotiate with the federal government for the return of his precious data. The EFF has asked the courts to establish a precedent for innocent bystanders like Goodwin, who have their data taken through no fault of their own.
Under current procedures, Goodwin could have to wait 5 months before seeing his data again. In the meantime, he is losing business he cannot afford. Along with the requests he has received to compile stock footage, he has also lost all of his promotional videos and news packages. They cannot compete, as they have lost the ability to promote and grow their business.
According to the EFF, courts have previously been in favor of innocent third parties who have had their property rights violated during police raids. They contend that there should be no difference between physical and digital property.
According to arstechnica, EFF has made Goodwin the public face of innocent Megaupload users. His fateful hard drive crash makes him sympathetic to those who think Megaupload is being unfairly targeted by the feds.
One thing is clear. The feds need better practices to protect the rights of the innocent when it comes to digital property. The number of people who rely on data as a crucial component of their business is growing daily. This must be recognized when the government moves to protect big business.[source: arstechnica]