Print 36 comment(s) - last by derricker.. on Jan 25 at 12:41 AM

Big media is afraid to try to take down Google's ubiquitous video hosting site

FileSonic, UK-based Earnwell Ltd.'s file-sharing service, is afraid -- very afraid.  In the wake of the Megaupload takedown/arrests, FileSonic is making some major changes to its service, changes that disable sharing.

I. Fearful FileSonic Terminates Sharing

Before the changes FileSonic functioned almost identically to Megaupload.  Customers could enroll for free, but in FileSonic's case it was only a 30-day trial.  For those 30 days they could upload 10 GB, but saw their content throttled.  Customers could opt to enroll for $9/month, which would remove the throttling and allow customers to upload unlimited files 5 GB or smaller.

Like Megaupload, FileSonic claims to have a "zero tolerance" policy when it comes to violations of the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which forbids sites from participating in copyright infringement by hosting openly accessible copyrighted works.  It says it uses Vobile's vCloud9 software to scan uploaded files, including compressed files, to detect infringement.

But in the wake of the Megaupload mess, FileSonic apparently decided that it would simply have to cut sharing of files altogether, as it was apparently afraid that vCloud9 was not a strong enough protection.  The problem is, of course, lots of users share files for purposes other than infringement.

FileSonic changes

The site announced its decision via a banner, which states, "All sharing functionality on FileSonic is now disabled.  Our service can only be used to upload and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally."

We predict some cancelled subscriptions in the near future.

II. Fileserve Also Sounds Death Knell

In related news Fileserve -- another Megaupload competitor -- has begun to make major changes, which some say could be an indication that the company is preparing to pull the plug altogether.  One of the key complaints against Megaupload in the Grand Jury criminal court filing was that the service paid users to share in order to profit off of advertisements, a scheme they liken to infringement for ad profits.

Fileserve ran an almost identical service (which paid $25 per 1,000 downloads), but it has since closed this "affiliate program", scouring all traces of it off its homepage.

Users are also reporting that their accounts were removed.  When they tried to log in, they were greeted with a warning that their account had violated the Terms of Service, hence the deletion.  But customers say that the site appears to be deleting all customers who were in the affiliate program, not just the few who may have abused it.

Amid mass outrage, Fileserve looks ready to collapse.   Outraged customers/affiliates are claiming in forums posts that the service "is a scam", thanks to Fileserve' unfulfilled promises of payment, and that the site "is finished."

As the site and its administrators are U.S. based, according to IP lookups some users took things a step further, even writing an admin that they were "Coming to kick your ass!"

III. YouTube is Magically Immune to Infringement Worries

It appears that there's much fear in the wake of the Megaupload takedown -- and perhaps for good reason.  While big media may be unrealistic in its expectation of converting infringers into filesharers, this is at least a major moral victory for rich movie studios and record labels, as file-hosting sites remaining a major source of piracy, behind the more traditional peer-to-peer networks and torrents.

This atmosphere of fear, uncertainty, and disinformation (FUD) is unfortunate, though, as it prevents legitimate sharing.

A handful of sites, such as RapidShare, are holding out, but it would not be surprising to see them collapse in coming months, either out of fearful admins or from Megaupload-like arrests.

The elephant in the room in all of this is YouTube.  Google Inc.'s (GOOG) YouTube is used by hundreds of millions of Americans, but it is also one of the biggest sources of shared infringed content online.

Despite anti-infringement warnings, similar to Megaupload, Fileserve, and FileSonic's, virtually any song you can imagine is available on YouTube, most of which were not posted by the copyright holder.

For example, let's say we want to listen to Young Jeezy's "Welcome Back", but it isn't available on the authorized Vevo channel, or else the Vevo version has censored profanity.  We simply search "Welcome Back", and lo and behold page after page of infringed song is available for our listening pleasure.

Young Jeezy infringed copies

The same goes for sporting events, TV clips, and more.  This content can easily be downloaded for offline viewing/listening via an array of browser extensions.  

YouTube even has a pay-for-play affiliates program, similar to Megaupload's and Fileserve's.  

Of course like these file-sharing sites YouTube hosts a vast array of legitimate content as well.  But it is hard to argue the fact that YouTube is getting favored child status, allowed to commit the same offenses that others are imprisoned for.  It's reasonably clear why this is -- the government (and big media) are afraid of the public outcry that would occur if they took down YouTube.  Plus big media has tried to take down YouTube before -- and failed.

But this policy of unequal enforcement smacks of Mafioso techniques.  The small and the weak are shaken down, while the strong are allowed to do what they please.  One must wonder how long such an inherently unequal and corrupt system will be able to sustain itself, before something will snap (perhaps a takedown of YouTube) and the public reacts strongly, as they did with SOPA.

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What about skydrive ?
By kensiko on 1/23/2012 10:06:21 AM , Rating: 2
We can share files pretty easily with skydrive and it's free.

If all file servers will shut down, we will switch to skydrive, this will be harder to closes, I guess :P

RE: What about skydrive ?
By Flunk on 1/23/2012 10:32:47 AM , Rating: 3
I think you missed the point of this article, Microsoft is one of the biggest players so of course they're not a target.

RE: What about skydrive ?
By jonmcc33 on 1/23/2012 11:36:03 AM , Rating: 2
I think you missed the point. SkyDrive is cloud storage. Although you can share files, it doesn't work with mass download applications like JDownloader. It would be a waste of time. Not to mention the 25GB total storage limit per account.

RE: What about skydrive ?
By xytc on 1/23/12, Rating: 0
RE: What about skydrive ?
By cubby1223 on 1/23/2012 5:46:35 PM , Rating: 2
Okay, so you agree that only the content producer should have the right to sell and license his work to others.

How do you protect that right?

RE: What about skydrive ?
By xytc on 1/23/2012 6:20:39 PM , Rating: 2
With a law that forbids selling, not a law that forbids copying.

RE: What about skydrive ?
By sCeege on 1/23/2012 6:50:41 PM , Rating: 2
Well how does a content provider make money? Sell one copy of something and letting everyone share that for free? That seems very unprofitable. Unless you sell that one copy at some insane sum.

RE: What about skydrive ?
By ClownPuncher on 1/23/2012 7:49:52 PM , Rating: 2
Louis CK did a pretty good job at it.

RE: What about skydrive ?
By xytc on 1/23/12, Rating: 0
RE: What about skydrive ?
By vanadiel on 1/23/2012 8:51:55 PM , Rating: 2
I think the question is : if you have the right to sell and license, should that come with the right to protection?

Everyone keep cheering the free Western market, but at the same time enacts legislation to make it less free.

RE: What about skydrive ?
By jonmcc33 on 1/23/2012 11:30:05 AM , Rating: 2
File size limits are 100MB. Although you can use WinRAR to split archives you have an overall total limit of 25GB on SkyDrive. These sort of limits are counterproductive towards the mass file sharers/pirating.

RE: What about skydrive ?
By invidious on 1/23/2012 2:05:07 PM , Rating: 2
The number one rule of blank is: YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT BLANK!

Pretty good philosphy to apply here. If its under the radar enough to not be noticed you probably shouldn't be broadcasting how great it is. Next thing you know its going to be the latest craze and will be taken down.

RE: What about skydrive ?
By jonmcc33 on 1/23/2012 2:55:06 PM , Rating: 2
SkyDrive is not an option for mass file sharing or pirating. Look into the details and you will see.

The end is coming closer
By aurareturn on 1/23/2012 11:03:49 AM , Rating: 2
I think the people that keep preaching how people will find other ways to share. Well, no body is going to share anything if they are going to be arrested. Piracy isn't going to last forever.

Piracy is never going to end but it sure won't be nearly as easy as it's now which is what content/software developers want anyways.

Twenty years from now, you will read on Wikipedia about how piracy ran rampant on the internet from the 90s to the 2000s.

RE: The end is coming closer
By ebakke on 1/23/2012 11:31:35 AM , Rating: 5
Piracy isn't going to last forever. Piracy is never going to end...
Which is it?

RE: The end is coming closer
By jonmcc33 on 1/23/2012 11:49:34 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know but that's the funniest thing I have read in a long time. Reminds me of that Dave Chappelle skit about Rick James and the couch.

RE: The end is coming closer
By djc208 on 1/23/2012 3:35:35 PM , Rating: 2
A link to pirated content in an article about pirated content. Classic!

RE: The end is coming closer
By Shig on 1/23/2012 5:28:57 PM , Rating: 3
Piracy is a very simple equation.

If availability decreases and price increases, piracy increases. (RIAA / MPAA physical legacy model)

If availability increases and price decreases, piracy decreases. (Internet digital distribution model)

This has been proven time and time again. Piracy is obviously wrong, but trying to shut down and censor the internet won't work.

RE: The end is coming closer
By macca007 on 1/24/2012 2:45:01 AM , Rating: 2
You mean,
A few months from now you will see people swapping discs/usb sticks at their local market,swap meet,behind school shed,friends house. lol
If it can be seen or heard it can be recorded although maybe crappy quality. If it's free youth who don't have disposable income will get it,There is no end to piracy.
Stop being greedy and make price fair,Drop limited use bullshit and release same day worldwide. A lot of people go on net to download latest tv show simply because all their friends overseas are already onto season 2 and talking about it while others miss out. Even with paying big money each month for cable tv some shows are still a year behind people get pissed off and just download it instead to watch straight away.

RE: The end is coming closer
By MrBlastman on 1/24/2012 10:40:16 AM , Rating: 2
I guess you never used BBS's back in the 1980's... :)

RE: The end is coming closer
By derricker on 1/25/2012 12:41:42 AM , Rating: 1
Yes it's coming, more and more days pass and more and more we see stupidity spreading, please do not infect us with your bullshit.

Misleading comparison with Youtube
By daffydkjones on 1/23/2012 1:26:54 PM , Rating: 3
Youtube has a strong Content ID protection system. Those Young Jeezy videos in the screenshot - although the content owner did not upload or authorize them, the content owner is making money off the video - click on each of the links, the video is recognized as being the Young Jeezy song, and his record company makes money off any ads shown on the video, as well as the affiliate link to purchase the song.

Content owners can choose to either block their content from being uploaded, or to allow this and get all the money from the ads. Filesonic etc did not allow this choice - content owners got nothing from the illegally shared files.

I hate the way the MAFIAA are riding slipshod over the internet, but don't draw Youtube into the crossfire, they aren't doing anything wrong.

RE: Misleading comparison with Youtube
By JasonMick on 1/23/2012 2:18:13 PM , Rating: 2
Youtube has a strong Content ID protection system. Those Young Jeezy videos in the screenshot - although the content owner did not upload or authorize them, the content owner is making money off the video - click on each of the links, the video is recognized as being the Young Jeezy song, and his record company makes money off any ads shown on the video, as well as the affiliate link to purchase the song.

Content owners can choose to either block their content from being uploaded, or to allow this and get all the money from the ads. Filesonic etc did not allow this choice - content owners got nothing from the illegally shared files.

I hate the way the MAFIAA are riding slipshod over the internet, but don't draw Youtube into the crossfire, they aren't doing anything wrong.

I'm not arguing with that.

My point is that:
1. You can pick an artist -- e.g. Young Jeezy, Deadmau5, etc.
2. You can pick a specific song.
3. You play the track
4. You rip the track using any host of software programs or browser add-ons.
5. You now have the track on your physical machine -- the same as if you megaupload, p2ped, or torrented it.

I personally know several people who are YouTube affiliates who attest that yes, "infringer" uploaders do get revenue from YouTube for unauthorized posting of tracks (infringed), including leaked tracks. And they seldom get any sort of warning.

Do the record companies get some cut of the standard affiliate fees as you claim? I cannot confirm or deny that.

It does clearly post the artist and links to buy the track legally, so I would assume they:
a) Get some cut of the fees.
b) Get additional downloads via the links (more revenue).

So does YouTube funnel some revenue to the content creators? Sure.

So basically, your argument is that if music labels got a cut of the ad fees and had links to legitimate downloads placed next to the illegally shared files Megaupload and Fileserve, et al. would be fine? Because that's essentially what you're advocating?

My point is that yes, this is a slightly more progressive approach, but it likely will not satisfy big media in the long run as someone else is still getting part of their affiliate fees (or so they would argue).

Further, sporting events (good example -- UFC bouts) are often posted on YouTube in parts and available for at least a day. Yes YouTube complies with the DMCAs and takes these down. But in these cases the content creator gets NO revenue for the duration the video is live.

Is YouTube as extreme in terms of sharing infringed content as Megaupload? Not at all. Does it share a lot infringed content? Absolutely.

My point is that the hammer may drop on YouTube as it has dropped on these others.

Personally I think all of it is ridiculous, but I can appreciate big media's fantasy scenario:
+No online access except from official outlet.
+You have to pay for each listen
+Payments are scaled based on the number of listeners you have in your room.
+No physical media are allowed.
+All files are heavily coated in DRM.
+If you try to break the DRM and make a backup copy (physical media) you can be sent to prison and/or fined $150,000
+If you illegally share you can be sent to prison for life and/or be fined $1M USD.

I'm no big of Megaupload (I never used it myself), et al., but I feel that RIAA/MPAA's logic for justifying takedowns/fines/arrests is a slippery slope argument, which eventually lead them to try yet again to takedown or drastically modify services such as YouTube and SkyDrive.

By priusone on 1/24/2012 3:01:59 PM , Rating: 2
Have you ever tried to watch a feature length movie through youtube? It's a lot harder to do than just downloading the entire flick through megaupload.

Yes, music, music videos, sports clips, and news casts are available on youtube, but I kinda gotta think that the Motion Picture Association of America is probably, slightly, more interested in getting rid of a website that makes downloading movies as easily as megaupload made it.

I don't know anyone who ever really used megaupload for music or music videos. And for that matter, no one I know used youtube for movies and full length TV shows (which, yes, there are some on there, but having them broken into chunks is annoying)

But be careful youtube! They will come after you! Because if they take down megaupload, boy howdy, you're sure to be next... or... something.

Sensationalist Journalism
By gyranthir on 1/23/12, Rating: 0
RE: Sensationalist Journalism
By tamalero on 1/23/2012 11:48:41 AM , Rating: 2
Just wondering, how will you be able to monitor billions of files, and most of them with shady or generic names?
a movie could be easily disguised as myphotoswithmyexpart1.rar

RE: Sensationalist Journalism
By MozeeToby on 1/23/2012 1:16:45 PM , Rating: 2
Also Megauploads and etc are file and warez sharing havens, while they do have legitimate uses, the sites barely track and do not manage the content that is on them.
Why should they? This ruling is essentially saying that offering a service which says "you give me a stream of 1's and 0's, I'll give you the same stream back later" is illegal.

RE: Sensationalist Journalism
By priusone on 1/24/2012 3:26:28 PM , Rating: 2
I understand why the idiots rated you down, but at least this way, the idiots can downrate someone else, too.

I would say that Tudou is way more closely related to youtube is that they both offer videos from sources not created by them.

Napster is to youtube as megaupload is to limewire. Which reminds me, why did they single out poor limewire and not the big, evil youtube? Sounds like someone is playing favorites, huh? Huh? HHuh

Youtube - can watch videos that range from music videos to rabbits flipping pancakes on its head. You can't upload and download rar's, iso's, zips, mp3, etc.
Tudou - I've watched full movies off this site. I haven't seen it used to host non-video rated files.
Megaupload - um, just about everything except the kitchen sink. But you can download Autocad and design one. When my buddies system crashed, since it was the hard drive, and naturally, the system restore is a partition, I went to megaupload and downloaded a copy of Windows Vista, oem edition. I guess I should have checked youtube, first.
By tamalero on 1/23/2012 11:03:01 AM , Rating: 2
Speaking of

how much of this "copyrighted content" uploaded is still legal due of "fair use"?

If I upload a trailer of a movie which is Advertisement and supposedly free to spread.. is it copyright thief too?

what about those files uploaded on purpose by VIACOM to cause problems to

By FITCamaro on 1/23/2012 1:11:54 PM , Rating: 2
See my attitude of youtube is that most of it is for a laugh or some other entertainment purpose. For the vast majority of things on Youtube, they're there to laugh at. Not intentionally infringe on IP.

Youtube already takes down videos when they're 100% copies of a TV show or movie.

Favored? Really?
By dagamer34 on 1/23/12, Rating: 0
RE: Favored? Really?
By StevoLincolnite on 1/23/2012 1:07:29 PM , Rating: 2
And it takes the most basic measures to block pirating of movies and TV shows; no video can be longer than 10 minutes.

You think the Media Company's care? They would shut down Youtube in a heartbeat if they could.
But... They would literally be creating an Internet *beep* Storm, one they will probably never forget or survive.

By Articuno on 1/23/2012 12:12:09 PM , Rating: 2
Megaupload was taken down because its owners and people who used its affiliate program were profiting handsomely off piracy. There are plenty of logs that state it's ignored safe harbor laws, DMCA takedown requests, edited the top downloaded files to hide copyrighted work without removing it, etc.

Anyone else shutting down their file sharing service is just running stupid, but anyone shutting down their affiliate program is smart (no one's going to download a legitimate file shared between a few people thousands of times). Of course people who were making bank off of it are going to complain though.

By cooljoebay on 1/23/2012 4:50:53 PM , Rating: 2
Filesonic and Fileserve must be ran by homos, since they are already bent over and ready to take a federal sodomy raping before it even begins.

But seriously. Who cares what they do. Their service sucked anyway. Other services will pop up. To show weakness is to open the door for tyranny. Youtube has become important because there are so many videos that aren't available anywhere else. For instance, one of my favorite singers that hasn't released almbums in years cannot be found anywhere. But someone had a lost video performance of them that is rare and impossible to get anywhere else.

File(sharing) is a god given right. It is regardless of what laws state. Laws were created by rich people. If they want people to buy their products or services, they should give up some of their riches to fund the poor people so they can buy those products and services. Thanks to piracy, people have a much better chance of being more educated, skilled, and ambitious. Rather than keeping certain talents in the hands of a company, it is better to allow everyone to exercise their abilities. Piracys has enabled this to happen. Else, companies say "pay the $500 or you get nothing". So, then millions of people that cannot afford anything would go empty handed. To me, the corporations have committed unethical crimes that surpass anything the common man has ever done wrong. Piracy will be the magic weapon that flattens Hollywood and the music industry. This we need to happen. What will be left? Since consumers now have HD technology in their hands, as well as high quality digital recording studios, we can begin seeing quality entertainment once again instead of the assembly line "crap" the corporations are dishing out.

By BobHart111 on 1/23/2012 6:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
this sucks but filesonic really did have a GRIP of infringing content on it...regardless I personally hated both filesonic, megaupload, AND most of all hotfile...I used to have alot of my stuff on FS, but then their service went down to crap…then switched to hotfile, who's servers crashed & lost ALL my files…then megaupload which omg i can’t believe what happened.

now I have all my files on:

…decent sized allowance, and it gives my users direct-links…which they far, it’s been better than sonic, MU and HF COMBINED!!!

the fuhrer
By senbassador on 1/23/2012 9:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
The Fuhrer will not be pleased.

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il

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