Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Future of Filehosting as We Know It - 2012

The last week has been momentous for the internet. SOPA, PIPA, OPEN, ACTA, all going through congress, and in the mist of that, MegaUpload takes a fall as many of its employees are indited to the USA for trial.

With the seizure of MegaUpload, millions of users (legitimate and copyright breakers) have been halted in their tracks with the now absent cloud storage. Not only that, but in fear of facing similar charges, many big-time filehosts have either disabled services or mass-banned accounts with any copyright infringements against them, effectively known as the MegaUpload Effect. FileServe shut down thousands of accounts just this week, to show compliance with their TOS and copyright laws. Filesonic took it to the next level; disabling all sharing of files between users, so you can only access your own content. Should this be permanent, there will be thousands of terabytes of data lost to the internet. FileServe instead, has kept the files around, just removed the accounts that uploaded them. A shady practice, it stops users from uploading more infringing content, but allows them to continue to get hits from existing content. This will most likely be exposed should they receive any federal investigations.

Most, if not all, filehosting services have completely gone away with incentive programs / rewards programs. The days of making money for sharing uploads is coming to a close, in fear of breaking US law.

Is this all just a bunch of hype in the wake of MegaUpload's scandal? Or will the policies instituted by US law hyper-extend to the entire internet?

Up until a week ago, all of the filehosts and their "cyberlockers" were pretty unknown to the media. They were very popular among warez sites, but had a strong legitimate user base as well. Many legitimate users are probably in outrage right now after their services have

1) been shut down

2) become severely restricted

Not much can be done for those users. A hard lesson learned if they lost precious files.

Unfortunately, only time will tell. One thing is for sure; 2012 will be a ground-breaking year for the internet.  


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