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Cost of hosting Megaupload data untenable, company says

KimDotcom.jpg

Feb. 22, 2012: In this file photo, Kim Dotcom, the founder of the file-sharing website Megaupload, comments after he was granted bail and released in Auckland, New Zealand. (AP/New Zealand Herald)

The company hosting the frozen data of millions of users of the file sharing site Megaupload says somebody needs to pay the company's bill or allow it to delete the data.

Carpathia Hosting filed an emergency motion this week in U.S. federal court in Virginia seeking protection from the expense of hosting the data of up to 66 million users. It says it is using more than 1,100 servers to store the 25 million gigabytes of data.

In the motion filed Tuesday, the Virginia-based company said it is paying $9,000 a day to host the data, which works out to more than $500,000 since January. That is when U.S. authorities shut down the Megaupload site and worked with authorities in New Zealand to have its founder, Kim Dotcom, arrested.

U.S. prosecutors are seeking Dotcom's extradition from New Zealand, where he remains under house arrest. They accuse him of racketeering by facilitating millions of illegal downloads of copyrighted material on the site.

Megaupload says many of its users are legitimate and storing important files on the site.

Carpathia said in January it would work with a nonprofit group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, to try to preserve the data. In its court filing, the company said it had so far refrained from deleting the data given the interest from so many parties in keeping it.

Among those asking for the data to be saved is the Motion Picture Association of America, which wants it kept for possible civil action.

Carpathia said another reason it can't delete the data at the moment is because it would "risk a claim by a party with an interest in the data."

It is asking the court to either have others take possesion of the data, ensure that Carpathia be paid until the completion of the case or let it delete the data after allowing users access for a brief period for selective copying.

Carpathia is seeking a court hearing on the motion next month.

In another development in the case, a judge in New Zealand on Thursday released a ruling that Dotcom be allowed up to 60,000 New Zealand dollars ($49,000) per month from his frozen bank accounts to pay for his living expenses as he prepares his defense. He is also allowed the use of one of his cars, a 2011 Mercedes Benz.

New Zealand authorities in January seized Dotcom's assets, which included 10 million New Zealand dollars ($8.1 million) worth of bonds and a fleet of luxury cars.