It appears that the judge handling the issue of what to do with Megaupload data — a situation we’ve been covering for a while — finds the entire situation just as annoying as many observers do. He’s decided that the evidence should not be destroyed yet… but has also ordered all the various parties who are fighting over this to get together and see if they can broker some sort of deal. Given the various positions by all the parties, I’m not sure this is possible.
The government doesn’t care about the data (and possibly wants it destroyed such that evidence against their case goes away). However, at the same time, the government has no interest in giving Megaupload back any of the millions of dollars it seized to pay for the maintenance of the data. In fact, the government seems so against this data ever seeing the light of day that it’s actually making the argument that even Carpathia may be liable for copyright infringement, because it made money from Megaupload. This is a rather unique (and totally wrong) interpretation of secondary liability rules, but the DOJ seems so insistent on destroy this evidence that it’s apparently not above tarring and feathering independent third parties. Of course, if it really believed that Carpathia may be guilty too, you’d think it would want to preserve the evidence, rather than destroy it.
Megaupload would gladly take on the data and pay for it if it could actually use the seized money for that purpose. The MPAA, however, is completely against this, insisting that all of society would collapse should the data go back to Megaupload (only a slight paraphrase). That said, Greg Sandoval at CNET, who handled the original report (linked above) notes that it appears the judge is not particularly convinced that there’s a huge problem if Megaupload is given the data back.