In an attempt to avoid experiencing a fate similar to Megaupload’s, a number of poplar online locker sharing services are either limiting features or shutting down entirely. In the last 48 hours alone, sites like Filesonic, Fileserve, Uploaded.to, FileJungle and FilePost have all curtailed file sharing options in the wake of last week’s events.
Citing copyright infringement, among other charges, the United States Department of Justice, FBI and National Intellectual Property Right Coordination Center all partnered to bring the axe down against Megaupload, shutting down the service permanently. The site’s founder, Kim Dotcom, is currently awaiting a bail hearing in New Zealand. While many of the file sharing websites haven’t come outright and said why they are changing their terms of service, it’s no doubt in response to the whole Megaupload ordeal.
According to Evolver.fm, both Filesonic and FileServe now only allow users to download files they’ve uploaded, while Uploaded.to no longer gives United States residents access to its site. In addition, FileJungle and FilePost are reportedly ending reward programs, such as offering incentives for uploading large amounts of content, while also mass deleting files and accounts. UploadBox and x7.to have announced the two sites are shutting down altogether.
Still, juggernauts like RapidShare remain unchanged, functioning as they did a week ago.
“We differ from services such as Megaupload in many crucial points,” said a Rapidshare spokesman. “One of the main differences between RapidShare and services such as Megaupload is the fact that we never had the intention to abscond from legal access of any authority. RapidShare AG was founded in Switzerland and in fact, it was always located at the address given in the company details and was always run under real names without any anonymous intermediate businesses. The radical measures against Megaupload were apparently required since the situation there had been totally different.”
With SOPA and PIPA both on hold indefinitely, the timing of the Megaupload shutdown, as well as the response it has garnered, is particularly noteworthy. Piracy is taking a huge knock with the file sharing services implementing closures and limitations, making the need for the two anti-piracy bills that much more unnecessary.
In any case, there’s a huge shakedown occurring. Whether or not it’ll have a lasting impact on piracy remains to be seen. Last week, hacker group Anonymous responded angrily to Megaupload’s demise. I wonder how they’ll respond to what’s happening to the other big file locker services.