Closing Megaupload unlikely to even slow piracy down

Closing Megaupload unlikely to even slow piracy down

Summary: If you really think shutting down Megaupload is going to even slow down online piracy, think again.

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Megaupload may be closed, but online piracy will continue as usual.

Megaupload may be closed, but online piracy will continue as usual.

The U.S. Department of Justice working in conjunction with New Zealand's law enforcement agencies has taken down the popular file-storage and sharing site Megaupload. So, since Megaupload has been shut down, Internet piracy has gone down significantly, right? Right? Well, probably not, NPD market researcher Russ Crupnick said, "Only about 3 percent of the U.S. Internet audience relied on digital storage for legitimate purposes or piracy in the third quarter."

So where is the file piracy going on? The same place it always has been: over BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer software powered networks. According to Crupnick, "Peer-to-peer systems like BitTorrent, which have little central coordination and are harder to stop, still have about three times as much usage among consumers as digital lockers."

BitTorrent file sharing may account for far more than just 9% of Internet traffic. The latest research by Sandvine (PDF link), a broadband solution provider and analysis firm, shows that BitTorrent traffic took up 13.47% of all Internet traffic in the third quarter of 2011.

MPAA Senior Vice President Kevin Suh may claim that Lockers are "more user friendly." And, "I doubt there will be a wholesale shift" to torrents. But, the simple truth seems to be that torrents were, are now, and will continue to be the most popular way to share both legal and illegal files.

So, while Megaupload's closing has made headlines, it really couldn't have made that much difference to illegal file sharing. It has, however, lead to other digital locker sites, like FileSonic and FileServe shutting their virtual doors to file-sharing users.

Could Internet piracy be stopped? It seems it could only be done with the passage of laws like Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA). Which, as ZDNet columnist Stephen Chapman observes, "severely cripple (never mind completely obliterate) online piracy [but] would come at the cost of the current freedoms the Internet enjoys."

Despite the best efforts of the MPAA and the RIAA, the Internet spoke with one voice and SOPA and PIPA were shelved. For the time being at least the media companies have been stymied in their attempts to strangle the Internet in an attempt to block piracy. But, there will be further attempts to censor the Internet with an iron hand in the name of preserving copyright.

As always, I think the RIAA, MPAA, and friends would be better served by stopping their hysterical talk about how piracy is killing their businesses and work on changing their 20th business models based on physical objects-DVDs and CDs-to the 21st century when any and all content will always be just a download away no matter how much they may wish it wasn't so.

Pirate image by fuzzcat, CC 2.0.

Related Stories:

2011's Top Ten Pirated TV Shows

The death of online piracy: the end of the Internet as we know it

FileServe shutters in light of file-sharing site crackdown

Megaupload's Kim Dotcom in jail awaiting bail

How Anonymous took down the DoJ, RIAA, MPAA and Universal Music Websites

Topics: Browser, Enterprise Software, Piracy, Security

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  • RE: Closing Megaupload unlikely to even slow piracy down

    [b]As always, I think the RIAA, MPAA, and friends would be better served by stopping their hysterical talk about how piracy is killing their businesses and work on changing their 20th business models based on physical objects-DVDs and CDs-to the 21st century when any and all content will always be just a download away no matter how much they may wish it wasn???t so.[/b]

    While there are a great many things I do not see eye to eye with you on, this issue I definitely agree with you on.
    athynz
    • RE: Closing Megaupload unlikely to even slow piracy down

      @Pete "athynz" Athens

      Yeah.. I think this is the first time I agree with SJVN too. The war on Piracy is not a winnable war. You can do your best to keep it manageable but it will never be eliminated. Some experts feel a little piracy is good for the economy. I know for a fact that there have been several music albums and movies I have purchased because I was able to see it some other way online. Without that I would have never thought twice about making the purchase.
      bobiroc
  • RE: Closing Megaupload unlikely to even slow piracy down

    You've sort of missed the issue here. It wasn't so much the piracy that got Megaupload shut down, but rather the making a bunch of money by uploading pirated content. It's the same reason why you can burn CDs for your friends, but if you burn CDs and open a record store you get burned.
    Aerowind
  • I'm wondering whether the right question was being asked

    The low stats on MegaUpload/Rapidshare/Filesonic as opposed to bittorrent...were they based on data transfer quantities, or individual hits? Generally speaking, file hosting piracy is for smaller stuff, such as individual songs. Since a song is roughly 5MBytes, and Xvid rips of movies are 700MBytes (generally above most file hosts' upload limits and thus the domain of bittorrent transfers), one would have to download roughly 140 songs from MegaUpload to equal the same amount of download traffic in order to equal the same amount of download bandwidth expended for a movie on bittorrent. However, a downloaded movie and a downloaded song both account for a single act of copyright infringement.

    It all depends on how you count.

    Joey
    voyager529
    • RE: Closing Megaupload unlikely to even slow piracy down

      @voyager529 I would definitely choose file locker instead of bitTorrent to download big movie file, and that is what many people are doing now. Because downloading from locker is so much easier and download time is very predictable and download speed is not slow. What many people do is, make a big list of links of movies they want to watch, pay for 3 days or 1 week membership fee, and download them in one go.
      mymisc
  • RE: Closing Megaupload unlikely to even slow piracy down

    Here's what I want: to be able to pick-and-choose and watch new US shows in any country on the planet on the same day (or next day) as the US from my TV or computer; have the video file saved on my hardware for, let's say, a month after the season ends (so I can watch the entire season at once, or with someone else, if I wish); and pay an amount of $19.95 for the full season of a show. I'm sure as hell not happy to wait over a YEAR to watch a new season on DVD, and have to avoid fan site communities, TV sites, blogs, etc. to prevent spoilers. Big (Dumb) Media needs to shape up and change their business model, pronto.
    avoidz
    • RE: Media needs to shape up and change their business model,

      @malexf

      Yes they do. They have spent so much time, money, and effort to avoid the digital age and instead they should have devoted those resources into making it a manageable, affordable, and profitable business. They had too many years with big old school CEOs and COOs with their old school thinking and ideas that they were untouchable. Then services like Napster woke them up and instead of finding a way to make it work for them they decided to attack it and try to stop it.
      bobiroc
    • RE: Closing Megaupload unlikely to even slow piracy down

      @malexf What right do you have to any of that? You don't own the copyrights. You didn't create the content or pay the production costs. It seems to me that you have no rights to view the show that are not granted to you. The people that did the work to create the show and the people that risked capital to cover the costs incurred in creating the show get to decide when, for how long, and at what time you will be permitted to view the show. It is their show, not yours. You should not have the right to act as if you own the show.
      bsrasmus
      • RE: Closing Megaupload unlikely to even slow piracy down

        @bsrasmus This Snoby Hollywood attitude is the problem. Customer is always right. Your show is worthless without the audience so bow down and provide the viewer with what they want if you want that $ 9.99 to help pay for your broke ass. This is why people rather steal it because they aren't being told what to do in addition of having $49 shoved up their ass.
        hessman99
      • RE: Closing Megaupload unlikely to even slow piracy down

        @bsrasmus

        The point is, the hackers and pirates give better service. MUCH BETTER SERVICE! What malexf is saying is that he would gladly pay for the content to receive it in what he/she considers a reasonable format and time frame. Big Media is not willing to sell to him at any price in the time frame he would like, but the pirates are willing to share (what they have recorded) for free, and in that same time frame.

        Put another way, amateurs are providing a valuable service for free that the studios are too lazy to provide, even for a profit. And then the studios bitch about it.
        mlashinsky@...
  • RE: Closing Megaupload unlikely to even slow piracy down

    The RIAA and the corporations it fronts for has been lying about their losses for years:
    arstechnica com/tech-policy/news/2008/10/dodgy-digits-behind-the-war-on-piracy.ars
    GreyGeek77
  • Fileserve is Up and Running

    Fileserve is back. Obviously not intimidated for very long, a few days.
    TechnicolorMan