The shutdown of Hong Kong owned, but U.S based, MegaUpload last week has sent a ‘chilling’ effect through the digital storage locker industry with a number of websites limiting functionality or blocking American users in order to prevent action from being taken against them.
FileSonic, a large but not as popular digital locker, has modified its service to only allow users to upload and retrieve files they have uploaded personally – essentially disabling all sharing functionality. Fileserve also followed suit, banning all 3rd party downloads.
Uploaded.to, which has no ties to the U.S, has gone a step further and has blocked all U.S visitors from using their service. U.S based visitors who attempt to access the website are greeted with a message that says, “Our service is currently unavailable in your country. Sorry about that.”
Many cyberlocker services – such as FileJungle, UploadStation, and FilePost – are also ending their affiliates or rewards program, as according to allegations found in the indictment against MegaUpload the site’s affiliates and rewards program encouraged users to upload material that was copyright infringing. The allegations found in the indictment cite an email which apparently shows staff members discussing cash payments for people who upload “full popular DVD rips” and “software with keygenerators (Warez)”.
While many players in the digital storage locker industry are shutting down or modifying their services to avoid the fate of MegaUpload, some are simply not worried.
Switzerland based RapidShare – which existed in the shadow of MegaUpload – posted a note to its Facebook page assuring users, “there is no reason to be concerned”.
“We distinguish ourselves from services like Megaupload in many major issues and we aren’t threatened in any way,” RapidShare wrote. “One of the main differences between RapidShare and Megaupload is that we never wanted to escape from the legal access of any administration. RapidShare AG was founded in Switzerland, was always based at the address cited in the imprint and was always managed with an authentic name without any anonymous intermediary companies.”
Derek Labian, CEO of digital storage locker MediaFire, told VentureBeat that he is not worried about the authorities coming after his company because it doesn’t “incentivize piracy.”
“We don’t have a business built on copyright infringement.” Mr. Labain said. “Like many other cloud-based sharing services like Box.net and Dropbox, we’re a legitimate business targeting professionals.”
Mr. Labain stressed that MediaFire “[tries] to steer clear of things that would attract scrutiny”, telling VentureBeat that “pirates” are not welcome to use their services.
He further went on to describe MegaUpload, and its flamboyant proprieter Kim “Kim Dotcom” Schmitz, as “shady”.
“We don’t have a business built on copyright infringement.” Mr. Labain explained.
“Like many other cloud-based sharing services like Box.net and Dropbox, we’re a legitimate business targeting professionals.”