Con artists may be targeting Megaupload users by demanding them pay a "pre-trial settlement" fee to make a non existent lawsuit go away.
Taking advantage of the federal criminal case against Megaupload, German scammers are sending emails to potential (former) Megaupload users and demanding them pay 147 euros, or face the treat of 10,000 euros lawsuit.
The letter, with an official looking letterhead from the (supposedly fictional) law firm "Dr. Kroner & Kollegen" of Munich, says the firm is suing on behalf of major movie studios and music labels, including Sony, Dreamworks, Universal and others.
Further research reveals the payment, if made, ends up going to a bank account in Slovakia, further adding to the suspicion that this is all a scam.
And the MPAA's latest actions may help further fuel the fear that studios will be going after individual Megaupload users, although the MPAA vehemently denies that this will be the case. The MPAA has requested Megaupload's web host, Carpathia, to retain 25 petabytes of data stored on Megaupload servers.
The reason the MPAA gives for the request is that "litigation might be pursued against Megaupload or various intermediaries involved in Megaupload's operation". The MPAA denied to provide details of "intermediaries", but did clarify that this did not mean suing individual users. "We’re not talking about individual users," Howard Gantman, one of the MPAA's vice presidents.
But what it could mean is that, regardless of the outcome of the criminal case against Megaupload, the MPAA is likely to pursue the matter further in the civil court.
For Megaupload's web host, Carpathia, the cost of retaining the vast amount of data could be as high as $9,000 per day. Megaupload has already requested the government free up some of the seized funds to pay Carpathia.