File Sharing Sites in Fear after Megaupload’s Shutdown

The shutdown of Megaupload has made many of file sharing sites panicking, causing them to shut down their controversial services.

Following the MegaUpload's shutdown and indictments last week, FileSonic, one of the Internet's most popular file-sharing services, has disabled its sharing functionality. Photo: Siarhei Karotki/TheBlogIsMine

Megaupload was one of largest online file-sharing sites in the world, with an average of 50 million visitors a day, providing four per cent of global internet traffic.

Shutdown was a victory for those in the music and film industry who were losing millions of dollars every day because of the site’s deliberate flouting of copyright and distribution of music and video files.

After the FBI attack on the site, its founders, many of whom are based in New Zealand, have been charged by the US government with violating piracy laws, allegedly leading to $500m (£320m) in lost revenue for copyright holders.

The founders will stand trial and are currently under arrest in Europe and New Zealand, as the US requests their extradition. A Slovakian national, Julius Bencko, is still being sought.

Now the site is banned, its domain name seized and its homepage carrying an anti-piracy warning from the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the NewsWatch, because of the latest news, panic is spreading among file-sharing web sites with a US user base, after FBI led shutting down of Megaupload last week.

And it is not just those who have infringde copyright that are at threat. Even several well-known sites as Amazon S3, Dropbox, FileSonic, FileServe, iCloud, Google apps and Microsoft’s SkyDrive are in danger that makes their owners to rethink their business models.

“All sharing functionality on FileSonic is now disabled,” claims a message on the FileSonic homepage. “Our service can only be used to upload and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally.”

Last month, FileSonic cooperated with identification providew Vobile in order to check all customers’ files for copyright infringement before they are uploaded to the site.

The firm also tells its customers to send claims of copyright infringement to its designated copyright agent, says v3.co.uk.

The possibility of sharing files has been disabled and now users can only repair data and documents uploaded by themselves, ending “reward” programs, or blocking users with IP addresses from the US.

A rewards program utilized by Megaupload is kind of a proof that the company encouraged users to pirate copyrighted material.

“The copyright laws punish people who willfully contribute to copyright infringement,” said Peter Swire, a law professor from Ohio State University and cyber law expert on the end of reward programs. “The new measures make it look less willful.”

Uploaded.to, one more giant among the sites of sharing files over the Internet, completely cut off access to services from within the United States, where local government has a habit of pulling the plug on awkward sites, says Ultra Spectra.

Uploadbox.com and x7.to were completely closed as well. “With Megaupload, the sites have gone from cool to criminal all at once,” said Swire.

“Sites that thought they were operating a file-sharing operation, now might be ‘operating a criminal site,'” he added.

However, Rapidshare, one of the largest file-sharing sites in the Internet, doesn’t seem to be making any adjustments to its service in response to Megaupload’s closure.

“There is no reason to be concerned,” the site said. “We aren’t threatened in any way.”

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