The war on Cyberlockers, Part 1

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As many of you have heard, the file sharing service Megaupload.com has been shut down and owners of the service have been arrested in a large scale operation labelled “Mega Conspiracy”. What you find instead of Megaupload site now is an FBI takedown notice. This news has been widely circulated in major news outlets recently and comes just as many online protesters claimed a win after getting the U.S. Government to back off on SOPA. If you're curious, take a look at the full 72-page indictment. What's fascinating about this case is the ramifications across the board for file sharing sites or "Cyberlockers" and what appears to be a huge attack in an apparent war on Cyberlockers. Many have become concerned about seemingly legitimate Cyberlocker sites like DropBox.


Update: While this blog is not entirely about piracy, I found a great article from Mike Loukides at O'Reilly describes piracy as "...shoplifting at worst, and while I'm not going to condone shoplifting, it's a cost of doing business, and not a particularly large one."


Interesting Update: It appears as though users of Megaupload are planning to sue the FBI for "“The widespread damage caused by the sudden closure of Megaupload is unjustified and completely disproportionate to the aim intended,” - it remains to be seen how far that might go, but it sure is an interesting development. To take a look at, and sign the complaint, go here.


Then there were the attacks on various sites (Anonymous has claimed responsibility). All told, there were 10 different sites taken down in the attack and news of other attack waves are hitting rendering large sites unusable. In all the hoopla, other Cyberlocker sites also seem to be taking action (to protect themselves?). Here's a sampling of some recent changes to CyberLocker sites just after news of the Megaupload indictment went public: 





I would expect even more changes from other similar sites as the uncertainly around Megaupload's fate continues to work it's way through the courts. In some circles, it's being suggested that users stick to-non U.S. based Cyberlocker sites such as Netload, Depositfiles, Filefactory, and Bitshare - though that most certainly is no guarantee that your files are safe.


Another interesting service that seems to be gaining interest as Cyberlockers change so often, is the aggregator. Sites like Multiupload.com will take a file and upload it to a number of Cyberlocker services, ensuring that of one goes down or has a file deleted, theirs can be use in it's place. it would interesting to know if these sites actually automate the process of upload - and how.




Not to be outdone, folks that claim to be a part of Anonymous have created a site that seems to be a response to the loss of Megaupload. The site, anonyupload.com, doesn't appear to be working as an upload service yet - but it promises to be "100% free - no advertising - 100% anonymous". Funny too, is a mention they make of Kim Dotcom:



"Thank you DotCom for the past years of services. 


We hope you'll be released as soon as possible.

Try to not make that amount of money next time, and it should be alright."


The most telling thing about all these attacks is the the clear collateral damage. If you were a user of Megaupload sharing a legitimate file for uses not attributed to piracy, your file would likely now be gone and irretrievable. If you were (in recent days) looking to get to a site like justice.gov - again, you loose. More and more in this war on piracy simple everyday users being penalized for a something that makes less and less sense. It seems more apparent that Goverment officials are interesting legislating a fix to this problem instead of letting the market work it out. Give people easy and cheaper ways to access what they want, and they'll pay for it. There are examples, look at Louis C. K.'s recent successful special.


It's lonely out there for a user
Another interesting theory that's being floated around today - related to Megaupload's coming service called Megabox - which had planned to offer streaming of media and a reported payout of 90% to artists listed on that site. The theory is that record labels weren't happy about this new service and it's potential to destabilize the market. We may never see Megabox, but the thoery itself remains plausible.


Oh, but there's more to read:
1. Untethered A5 (iPad 2 / iPhone4s) Jailbreak Released
2. Canada: Use your Android phone to pay at Starbucks
3. First Look: Reading and Publishing with Google Currents

First Published: Thursday, January 26, 2012

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