Kim Dotcom 'in tears' over deletion of Megaupload files by LeaseWeb
European company wiped the closed file-sharing website's data off 630 servers
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom was "in tears" after a European company deleted all the data it was hosting from his closed file-sharing site, he said yesterday.
LeaseWeb, based in the Netherlands, said it deleted all Megaupload files from 630 servers.
It said it hosted the data for over a year at its own expense without receiving any requests to access it or retain it before deciding the time had come to use the servers for other purposes.
Dotcom, formerly based in Hong Kong, condemned the decision to delete million of files belonging to users of his defunct website, calling it "the largest data massacre in the history of the internet".
"Millions of personal Megaupload files, petabytes of pictures, backups, personal & business property forever destroyed," the New Zealand-based internet tycoon tweeted.
The fate of Megaupload data has been uncertain since January last year, when US authorities shut down the file-sharing site and directed New Zealand police to arrest Dotcom for alleged online piracy.
Dotcom says most of the data stored on Megaupload was legitimate, non-copyright material such as personal photographs and business documents that should be returned to users.
However, it is stored on rented servers owned by hosting companies such as Haarlem-based LeaseWeb, which said it could not hold the data indefinitely with no payment while the Megaupload court case drags on.
"After a year of nobody showing any interest in the servers and data we considered our options," it said. "We did inform Megaupload about our decision to re-provision the servers."
Dotcom said he was never warned the data would be wiped and repeatedly asked LeaseWeb to keep it until his case finished.
He said other hosting companies had agreed to put Megaupload data in storage while the legal battle continued, giving users hope they might eventually get their material back.
He tweeted: "Let me be crystal clear. Leaseweb has NEVER informed our legal team or anybody at Megaupload about the deletion of servers until TODAY."
He said he was in tears over the situation and that some of his own files needed for his defence had been deleted.
At its peak, the Megaupload empire had 50 million daily visitors and accounted for 4 per cent of all internet traffic.
US authorities allege it netted more than US$175 million and cost copyright owners more than US$500 million by offering pirated copies of movies, TV shows and other content.
Additional reporting by Associated Press