Filesonic doesn’t want to follow Megaupload’s path

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Publisher: FilePlaza

Date added: 24 Jan 2012

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One of the sites that was being pointed as a potential successor to Megaupload after the latter's fall has decided to shut down its file sharing services voluntarily.

A few days after Megaupload’s bust in the hands of the FBI, the Internet community is still chain-reacting to the news. But this isn’t about the complaints against the site’s shutdown or the discussion on Kim Dotcom’s potential bail. Now, several online digital locker sites are disabling their file sharing alternatives, fearing for the actions that might be held against them in the near future.

Once the giant falls, the little ones shiver

Megaupload was considered the biggest digital locker on the Internet so, after its shutdown, many people would have thought that its competitors might be up for the grabs. And they certainly are but not as excitedly as some would have thought.

Take Filesonic, for example. One pretty interesting alternative to Megaupload, that was being recommended by several bloggers and people around the Web, has made it very clear that the site isn’t interested in be taken as such.

A statement in Filesonic’s homepage reads “All sharing functionality on FileSonic is now disabled. Our service can only be used to upload and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally.” Basically, it says that you can still use the site for backing up your files but you won’t be able to share them with any other person like you used to.

But Filesonic isn’t the only one that is going through the process of disabling file sharing. Other popular sites, like and Fileserve are going in the same direction to avoid any potential litigation or shutdown.

The message all of these sites are delivering is quite simple to understand: although intended for legal purposes, cyberlockers are used to share copyrighted contents and those portals are unable to stop it. So, there are two possible ways they can go down: either they continue with their business model as usual (with the ubiquitous threat of ending just like Megaupload) or they change their services. As we can see, the sites aren’t willing to risk it.

Rapidshare: aspiring to the throne

While some are choosing to quickly convert to a more “transparent” business model, Swiss site Rapidshare is getting ready to take the lead just as it is. In a recent interview with Ars Technica, Daniel Raimer, spokesperson for the company, said that they are “not concerned or scared about the raid” since “file hosting itself is a legitimate business.”

Besides, and according to Raimer, Rapidhsare would differentiate from Megaupload in that “the allegations [against Megaupload] are based on their closed eyes to the pirate scene, and that they financially supported [pirates] and uploaded infringing content themselves.”

While this is likely true, one can’t help but wonder if the FBI won’t be snitching into similar sites’ services to hold them responsible for copyrighted material being share on such portals. In addition, and if what Raimer says turns out to be true, why are Filesonic, Fileserve and disabling their sharing options? What are they afraid of?

Back to p2p downloads?

Finally, it’s fair to ask ourselves how big this blow has been for online piracy. Sure, Megaupload proved to be one of the biggest and most popular digital lockers to share and download protected movies, music and more, and it will take some time for the pirates to get back on their feet. Or won’t it?

Although the cyberlockers dominated the scene for the last few years, p2p clients were still used to download copyrighted material. It just takes one connection with any p2p software to verify that such networks are filled with Hollywood blockbusters, Billboard toppers and Amazon bestsellers.

Programs like eMule, uTorrent, Ares and others are still alternatives for people who seek to download music, movies, games and more without paying a dime for them. It’s obvious that the fight against piracy will go on but the same question keeps ringing in everyone’s ears: is force and fear the ways to stop people from sharing copyrighted contents?

And even more: is wrong to share culture with others? These are questions that have to be answered sooner than later if we are to keep the Internet as free and rich as we are accustomed to.

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