Legal Question in Technology Law in California

Under encouragement from Yahoo! for many years I used their free Notepad

service to store critical files online. These are irreplaceable files that

contain information like medical records, resumes, academic work, email addresses, telephone numbers, financing information, tax information, insurance information, birthdays, information about relatives and friends,

mailing addresses and much more. In essence, I need daily access to these

files to function in critical ways. Yahoo! Notepad got the benefit of

storing cookies on my computer to monitor my activity on the Internet.

Moreover, they mined my files to enhance their profitability.

Now, what has happened over the last month is that Yahoo! is denying me

access to my files without rhyme or reason. They upgraded the Notepad

version and I can no longer see any of my files. All I see is one

empty "Unfiled" folder. Before the upgrade was completed Yahoo! was

running the old and new Notepad versions simultaneously. When I logged on I would be taken to the old version where I could access my files.

Now with the upgrade complete the old version is no longer running. Yahoo! did not give any notification that I could be impacted this terrifing way. They did not give me any warning to take my files off of their system with or without the help of a migration tool. Yahoo! gave notification

when they upgraded their mail service, they gave warning when they closed their "Briefcase" file storing service. But, with Notepad (a

service bundled with mail and calendar) they simply did not. They just

left me and many other users in a lurch in a vile and vicious way.

Yahoo! customer support is unresponsive. For the past month I have been

severely crippled in my ability to get any work done and I communicated

this to them. They have done nothing to restore my access. As far as

they are concerned, a long time loyal Yahoo! user be damned. I have not

violated any terms of service and do not have duplicate copies of my

files. I am now being held hostage in an illegally manufactured condition that is frightening and terrifying given the indifference shown by Yahoo! I need the chance to at least be given the chance to access and within a reasonable time take my files off of Yahoo!

I need legal help in getting this horrible situation corrected. I am

filing this inquiry under "Computer & Technology" as it seems the best fit. Time is of the essence because I have already stated the files are of a very critical nature.

Thank you.

Asked on 10/27/11, 9:32 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

The first question that comes to mind is whether the files still exist. This might help determine whether you could obtain an injunction requiring the restoration of your files, or whether you are stuck with a suit for damages. When all else fails, taking the other party to court may be necessary in disputes of this kind; it is an attention-getter. In order to cover the filing fee and to get priority attention to examining and preparing your case, including pre-analysis of Yahoo's possible defenses, you should be prepared to negotiate and pay a retainer of several thousand bucks to a local attorney specializing in litigation. Yahoo is in turmoil these days, with would-be buyers trying to put together deals to acquire it and the founder saying its not for sale.

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Answered on 10/27/11, 10:17 am

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