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Megaupload user data safe for now, as judge orders more negotiations

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If you have personal files stored on the Megaupload servers, your data is safe — for now. At a hearing today in Alexandria, VA, a U.S. District Court judge ruled on the side of Megaupload, agreeing to allow for further negotiations about what to do with the massive amounts of information stored on servers used by Megaupload.

As CNet reports, Megaupload attorney Ira Rothken asked U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady to allow all the interested parties, including Megaupload, six Hollywood studios, and Carpathia Hosting, which has been burdened with maintaining the data, to figure out a solution that fits everyone’s needs.

Carpathia had originally requested that it be allowed to sell the servers back to Megaupload, to alleviate the hundreds of thousands of dollars the company says it costs to keep the servers up and running. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) fought to keep that from happening, arguing that it would effectively allow Megaupload to simply relaunch its site in a country outside U.S. jurisdiction. U.S. attorney Neil MacBride quickly filed to deny Carpathia’s request.

Originally, the MPAA said it wanted to keep the servers and the data store on it intact, so it could possibly pursue civil suits later down the road. In today’s hearing, the Hollywood trade organization softened its stance, saying that it simply wanted to make sure that no pirated movies or TV shows stored on the servers were able to be redistributed to the public.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which represents at least one user whose personal files are stored on the Megaupload servers also requested that the data be preserved, and that an independent third party oversee the negotiations.

The problems for Megaupload began on January 19, when the FBI seized the company’s Web properties, and Australian authorities arrested Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom at his mansion in Auckland. Dotcom and the company’s other executives face eight criminal charges, including five charges of copyright infringement.