Kyle Goodwin, the Ohio videographer who was chosen by the Electronic Frontier Foundation as a representative of innocent Megaupload users, has asked a Virginia federal judge to unseal search warrants and other documents related to the January raid on Megaupload’s Virginia servers. In a brief filed on Goodwin’s behalf, EFF argues Goodwin needs access to the documents to make his case for the return of his property. The civil liberties group also contends that the public has a right to know how the raid was conducted.
The government shut down Megaupload because it believes the site was a haven for copyright infringement. But Goodwin has told the court he didn’t use the site for piracy. Rather, he used the site as a backup for videos he created in his work as a videographer. Goodwin suffered a hard drive crash shortly before the government raided the Megaupload servers. As a consequence, he says, the servers now contain the only remaining copy of his commercially valuable videos.
Search warrants are often sealed to avoid tipping off their targets. But the raid on Megaupload’s Virginia servers happened nine months ago and it has received extensive media scrutiny. It’s hard to argue with a straight face that the process is still secret. Indeed, the government has already told the courts that the “United States has completed execution of its search warrants,” making it difficult to claim the search is ongoing.