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Saturday, February 11, 2012

File-Sharing Services Fear Seizures

It seems that the entertainment industry may finally win thanks to American police co-operation. Information storage websites started to pull their file-sharing services due to the fears that the authorities will seize domains and arrest owners.

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A number of large file-sharing services, including FileSonic, FileServe, and Uploaded, have abruptly stopped sharing of entertainment content and other software right after the American Justice Department shut down MegaUpload.

Now the file-sharing sites’ owners fear of being arrested like the founders of MegaUpload. Everyone knows that cyberlockers allow Internet users to easily upload, store and share big files on their servers in the Internet cloud. The type of content usually uploaded to the web includes films, music, gaming applications, program instruments, and multimedia presentations. However, the problem remains: file-sharing services can’t invent an effective method to prevent pirates from using the service.

Recently, FileSonic started establishing formal distribution agreements with musicians who would have shut out the large record labels while giving content creators more cash. But such contracts would be frozen if the government was to pursue copyright violation actions against FileSonic. The service is based in the United Kingdom, and it seems that it is doing its best to get rid of unauthorized content. Last month, it started scanning user uploads in order to stop illegal files from going on the website.

The alarming fact is that action isn’t being taken due to the cyberlockers’ fears of a civil lawsuit, as well as the fact that the entertainment industry started using the FBI and police as their weapons of choice. If a founder of a file-sharing service gets arrested, they could face jail sentence for ages while extradition hearings and the final case is heard in court. In case of being extradited to the United States, it could appear much worse.

Anyway, it looks like the content industry effectively has been given police authority to enforce its flagging business model. It might have been OK if the United States only meant to enforce its corporate law on its own citizens, but it keeps trying the same tricks in foreign parts. Indeed, the US authorities could list the IP address of any UK file-sharer and demand him to be extradited to the US for sentencing. Bad news for the whole world, then…

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