Join 3,552 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The end of direct download file sharing?
January 23, 2012 9:08 AM   Subscribe

Four days after the shutdown of popular "cyber-locker" Megaupload, rival companies Filesonic and Fileserve have also disabled file sharing. The two companies also owned wupload, upload.to, and a number of other cyber-locker sites. Is this the end of direct download filesharing?
posted by reformedjerk (108 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is the internet still working? Yes.

Is this the end of direct download filesharing?

Then the answer to your question is: No.
posted by Fizz at 9:11 AM on January 23, 2012 [14 favorites]


I wonder if this presages people moving from sharing in public (through blogs and forums) to sharing in private (through club-like trackers, FTPs, and IRC channels).
posted by codacorolla at 9:14 AM on January 23, 2012


Porn forums the world over are crying out in agony.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:20 AM on January 23, 2012


I wonder if this presages people moving from sharing in public (through blogs and forums) to sharing in private (through club-like trackers, FTPs, and IRC channels).

I have the general impression that this already describes the backbone of the filesharing ecosystem pretty well.

Well, and, you know, "never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes".
posted by brennen at 9:22 AM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Every form of prohibition merely creates another underground or three.
posted by delfin at 9:23 AM on January 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


Going back to private trackers, hacked FTP sites (I've come across quite a few file dumps on rooted servers) and IRC. I havn't checked usenet is a while but I am guessing there is still a bunch there.

This just raises the barrier to entry, which is really all it is meant to do. You can't stop everyone, just make it harder to pirate than to buy.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:23 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Every form of prohibition merely creates another underground or three.

This fall HBO presents "Bandwith Bandits" from the producers who brought you Boardwalk Empire.
posted by Fizz at 9:25 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


To be honest, I was always amazed that those sites were able to hang on for so long, particularly after they became searchable through third party (?) sites.

Now, that said, I'd be willing to bet they're currently just waiting for the Megaupload copyright verdict.

And/or relocating to someplace without a US extradition treaty.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:27 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


You can't stop everyone, just make it harder to pirate than to buy.

Or easier to buy than pirate.
posted by DU at 9:27 AM on January 23, 2012 [59 favorites]


Megaupload and its ilk always struck me as really skeezy. Like, Internet pawn shop skeezy.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:29 AM on January 23, 2012


The warez scene really would make a decent series.

I confessed a while back I had never paid for a peice of software. It is actually no longer true, with the iOS app store it is easier to tap buy now than to figure out how to pirate the app. I figure things like steam have actually done more to stop pirates than shutting down sites or copy protection.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:30 AM on January 23, 2012 [25 favorites]


Yeah, the owners of these sites are probably getting ready to take their money and run. If they actually do become strictly user-storage sites, they'd never compete effectively with companies like Dropbox.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:30 AM on January 23, 2012


If you don't own your own webserver, don't want to open your machine up to viruses/haxors and understand enough to know that sending big files through email isn't the ideal, then how else are you supposed to do it?
posted by DU at 9:31 AM on January 23, 2012


And by "it" I mean "share completely legitmate files that happen to be large".
posted by DU at 9:32 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, sending files... what is the easiest way to send large files to grandma these days?
posted by Winnemac at 9:33 AM on January 23, 2012


You can't stop everyone, just make it harder to pirate than to buy.

Or you can make it easier to buy than to pirate, which is what the iTunes store did, more or less, for music. We haven't quite gotten there with other media yet, but it can't be far off.

This is what I don't understand about many music pros' support for SOPA and its ilk; nobody who would pay for your music is pirating it anymore. It's not 1999.
posted by uncleozzy at 9:33 AM on January 23, 2012


I wonder if this presages people moving from sharing in public (through blogs and forums) to sharing in private (through club-like trackers, FTPs, and IRC channels).

Oh, great, we're going to have to live through 1997 again; I knew there was a reason they were playing Savage Garden in the grocery store.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:33 AM on January 23, 2012 [15 favorites]


I confessed a while back I had never paid for a peice of software.

I have, but I wasn't forced to.
posted by DU at 9:33 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


A great and terrible blow was struck! No more shall kids download their games, demos, and mods without knowledge of bit torrent, but instead they shall forever be stuck with sports, homework, and other such things.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:37 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The big question now is what happens to Dropbox. Dropbox can easily be used to share pirated media too, either with friends or the public. But it's mostly not used that way, so it's not an obvious target. I think the answer could actually be reasonable; services that are mostly used for legal, useful purposes get a pass (and DMCA safe harbor) and sites that are clearly only for sharing unlicensed material are prosecuted. Because honestly, MegaUpload is a pretty hard business to defend.
posted by Nelson at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


"And/or relocating to someplace without a US extradition treaty."

That could happen, and probably will to some extent, since there's a proven demand for such sites. But it would depend heavily upon foreign "partners" of the leg breaking variety.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2012


If you are online at the same time as the person you want to send files to, use FileTea.

It's basically fancy browser-based peer to peer file sending. As long as your browser window is open and you have a net connection, they can download the file directly from you.
posted by AbsoluteDestiny at 9:39 AM on January 23, 2012 [24 favorites]


Megaupload and its ilk always struck me as really skeezy. Like, Internet pawn shop skeezy.

Which is largely why it was useful.


The RIAA, MPAA, etc. simply do not have the resources to track down even a small fraction of those who consume pirated media, much less to prosecute a small fraction of those people. It's simply logistics. This is one reason they go for the lowest-hanging fruit when targeting people with lawsuits and settlement demands. I mean, I read about 'so-and-so was sued for sharing 26 songs on Kazaa' and I think 'who the hell still uses Kazaa in 2011?' Well, the kind of people who don't know any better.

When your service gets big enough that even Grandma down the block has heard of it, that's when the industries start paying attention. Happened to Napster, happened to Kazaa, happened to a lot of others. Megaupload's issue wasn't that it was in any way unique in what it offered, but that it was becoming too familiar; when will.i.am is talking about you on YouTube, it's time to duck and cover.
posted by delfin at 9:39 AM on January 23, 2012


If you don't own your own webserver, don't want to open your machine up to viruses/haxors and understand enough to know that sending big files through email isn't the ideal, then how else are you supposed to do it?

Surely, you must have meant "...without having to learn anything."
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:44 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nothing will happen at all. There is a market for these types of sites/services and there's a lot of money to be made.

People have been through this several times already (Napster, Kazaa, E-Mule, Limewire) and the only one that was really felt was the closing of Napster way back in the day. Since then every time not only a replacement, but actually something better came along.
posted by patrick54 at 9:44 AM on January 23, 2012


Surely, you must have meant "...without having to learn anything."

No, I didn't mean that. If I didn't want to learn anything, I wouldn't have asked how to do it.
posted by DU at 9:52 AM on January 23, 2012


"And/or relocating to someplace without a US extradition treaty."

Until a US extradition treaty (to, say, British standards) and denying connectivity to any nation without one are prerequisites of getting packets routed from your country to the US.
posted by acb at 9:57 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah, sorry DU - I was sort of referring to John Q. Public, not you personally. John Q, he doesn't want to know anything but still wants to do everything.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:58 AM on January 23, 2012


I wonder if this presages people moving from sharing in public (through blogs and forums) to sharing in private (through club-like trackers, FTPs, and IRC channels).

Partially...I know the piracy site I frequent has turned en masse to Usenet after the Megaupload closure.

However, I think for most users this doesn't point to a a move from public sharing to private sharing so much as what feels like more fundamental shift: a move away from the "download and watch" model to the "find streaming video on one of the dozens if not hundreds of illegal streaming services that have popped up in the last year or so" model.

There will always be people who want to download a 3 gig HD BluRay rip for their big-screen TVs, but I think a lot of users will be perfectly happy with a site that streams SD versions of Justified or Sherlock or whatever Hulu, et al, doesn't have.
posted by Ian A.T. at 10:06 AM on January 23, 2012


I'm beginning to wonder if Apple has a significant hand in this: Megaupload, Filesonic, WUpload, and Upload.to are also where a lot of the completely legal ROMS, mods, and themes for Android were being stored, too. And now it seems like half the links on XDA, Rootzwiki, and the like are invalid overnight, including most of the ones available through aggregators like Multiupload.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:08 AM on January 23, 2012


That's not Apple's hand, it's the ROM and mod community being too cheap / illegal to host stuff at a proper place.
posted by Nelson at 10:10 AM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


So, sending files... what is the easiest way to send large files to grandma these days?

There's hope.

Bit Torrent launched Share recently. I haven't tried it yet, but I thought it was a pretty neat idea. Client is a little rough right now. Also I have some concerns about security because they don't seem to talk about it, but this can be easily worked around (for nerds, not for grandma) by encrypting before sending.

I think in terms of real life the closure of these sites means very little. There's lots of storage and lots of bandwidth, just a lack of good client tools. Microsoft or Amazon or some Y Combinator startup or whatever will build products eventually to fill the void. It's too obvious a problem for it not to get solved.
posted by tracert at 10:11 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


At this point, I'm waiting for the theories that Apple was involved in the assassination of the Archduke Ferdinand.
posted by entropicamericana at 10:15 AM on January 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


They hosted Android ROMs on these services for the fat, fat download affiliate commission. If these sites are paying up to $35/1000 downloads, that's likely their primary source of money for project maintenance costs.
posted by amuseDetachment at 10:16 AM on January 23, 2012


It's weird the way filesharing has evolved. During the heyday of Oink it seemed like a given that the real high-volume/high-quality sharing was going to be done via really closed-off, secure, invitation-only private trackers, but it's crazy just how brazen and out in the open everything has gotten. Maybe it was a reaction to the Oink bust, people figuring there was no percentage in building a safe walled garden if it was just going to get torn down, and instead transferred the risk to the people who were skeezy and sleazy enough to build sites like megaupload in the first place.
posted by anazgnos at 10:18 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not saying a totally law-abiding person like myself would do this, but wouldn't it be, theoretically, really easy to share all of your new iTunes purchases with a few close friends via a shared dropbox folder? And iTunes doesn't do anything to prevent it anymore, although they are perfectly capable of tracking a song file to see where it started and who it went to.

Wouldn't lots of you, if you were not such upstanding citizens, have a small group of friends and a shared Music folder that you use for this purpose?
posted by rusty at 10:18 AM on January 23, 2012


rusty, that's why some people are speculating that Dropbox is a future target.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:21 AM on January 23, 2012


tracert: "I think in terms of real life the closure of these sites means very little. There's lots of storage and lots of bandwidth, just a lack of good client tools. Microsoft or Amazon or some Y Combinator startup or whatever will build products eventually to fill the void. It's too obvious a problem for it not to get solved."

I'm not sure how "official" an RFS is, but I imagine it's YCombinators "Request for Startup"?
That said, uh, I think you're more right than a mere quip. RFS 9: Kill Hollywood
(opening paragraph - yes, that's the literal title of the RFS)
Hollywood appears to have peaked. If it were an ordinary industry (film cameras, say, or typewriters), it could look forward to a couple decades of peaceful decline. But this is not an ordinary industry. The people who run it are so mean and so politically connected that they could do a lot of damage to civil liberties and the world economy on the way down. It would therefore be a good thing if competitors hastened their demise.
posted by symbioid at 10:25 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure ftp isn't going anywhere.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 10:26 AM on January 23, 2012


Return of Archie.
posted by symbioid at 10:30 AM on January 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure how "official" an RFS is, but I imagine it's YCombinators "Request for Startup"?

They seem serious.Then someone calls PG an ass which may be the harshest comment ever on HN.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:31 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


As I understand it, Megaupload's administrators opened themselves up to prosecution by not removing content when asked by copyright holders. They merely deleted the link to the file in question. Many other links were left in place, rendering their action irrelevant. They are also accused of not banning copyright infringing users. Thus, DMCA comes into play.

More seriously, they paid their most prolific users, either with cash, or with discounts for premium services. Linking themselves with copyright infringing users opens them up to racketeering charges under RICO laws, which I assume New Zealand has.

A site like the Pirate Bay doesn't host any content and, as far as I know, does nothing to reward people for linking to popular trackers.
posted by UrbanEye at 10:39 AM on January 23, 2012


Ian A.T.: "I know the piracy site I frequent has turned en masse to Usenet after the Megaupload closure."

Filesharing sites serve better retention for older stuff than Usenet. For the newest scene released stuff, yes, but even the best Usenet server won't have some obscure-o piece of cracked shareware from 3 years ago.

Regardless, cat's out of the bag and there is a huge market void now that Megaupload is gone and some of the others are shaking in their boots.

If it was me and I had a massive botnet that's sitting idle, why not use them as some sort of distributed cloud hosting with a web front end to serve ads? The reliability of a single client would be shit, but it could be factored into some sort of parity/redundancy system. Encrypt the data on the zombie system so the end-user of the zombie wouldn't know they are actually hosting CS5-warez.info-Cr3W.rar

oneswellfoop: "rusty, that's why some people are speculating that Dropbox is a future target."

I imagine Dropbox is too smart to let this happen. They will bend-over and let whomever scrape their customers for pirated material under some change in the TOS. Dropbox wants to be sold, not yet at the price they'd fetch currently. Kind of like how Skype has been cloned a thousand times over but still got sold to MS only because of brand-name.

I've been seeing it take hold in companies as a tool that is fairly foolproof. In my company we've allowed certain usergroups access to Dropbox to easily share marketing materials with their vendors. We do have FTPs with mapped drive letters available for our users but Dropbox is so much easier for the teams.
posted by wcfields at 10:40 AM on January 23, 2012


It's weird the way filesharing has evolved. During the heyday of Oink it seemed like a given that the real high-volume/high-quality sharing was going to be done via really closed-off, secure, invitation-only private trackers, but it's crazy just how brazen and out in the open everything has gotten. Maybe it was a reaction to the Oink bust, people figuring there was no percentage in building a safe walled garden if it was just going to get torn down, and instead transferred the risk to the people who were skeezy and sleazy enough to build sites like megaupload in the first place.

I was a hanger-on in the early MP3 ripping scene (I never did much ripping or downloading, but liked hanging out in IRC and talking about music), and the out-in-the-open sharing has always seemed strange to me. Then again things were different back then in terms of supply. You relied on people with a CD/Vinyl collection to rip and upload stuff you wanted because legit digital distribution of music files was at best a fringe scenario. People had different music collections, and could therefore contribute different parts to a larger library of music. Your taste was defined by what you uploaded, so you were a bit of a curator in addition to a customer.

Having a good community also made it a pleasant experience to hang out in your channel and shoot the shit while also taking care of the day-to-day business like requesting rips. Gigantic, open air fileshare always has struck me as sketchy. I know what my fellow scene members are getting out of being part of the community, but I have no idea what some anonymous dude uploading 4 gigs of music a day is getting out of it. Are there viruses hidden in there somewhere? Is he scraping ad revenue off of it somehow? I'm not being nostalgic and saying that it will be good to go back to walled gardens, but I am saying that that model has its benefits.
posted by codacorolla at 10:41 AM on January 23, 2012


It sounds as if Rapidshare and Mediafire are in this for the long haul. Their business model seems to be general compliance with DMCA takedown requests and not paying uploaders. It seems a decent number of the uploaders prefer to use referral sites in order to make a limited amount of money off of downloads but sooner or later people people will migrate to sites like mediafire for uploading or park their stuff on Russian sites that just don't give a shit whatsoever.

There are enough people out there that don't care about monetizing their uploads that I don't see a major decline of online piracy any time soon. At worst the barriers to entry will be slightly increased.
posted by vuron at 10:45 AM on January 23, 2012


To be honest, I was always amazed that those sites were able to hang on for so long, particularly after they became searchable through third party (?) sites.

Yeah, me too - I had never heard of Megaupload until the bust, and I'm amazed to find out how openly they'd been operating. Are these all a bunch of kids? How can they not know how this works? The rights mafia has been pulling these stunts for decades now. You can share all the data you want, but you can't make money at it. They only have one weapon, but it's a doozy: if you have an address and a bank account, they will sue you and take the money. If you want to survive, keep your head low and run a decentralized, non-profit peer-to-peer sharing service. You'll be fine. Start up a centralized, for-profit, brand name service, though, and you will be stomped. It's that simple.
posted by Mars Saxman at 10:53 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Are these all a bunch of kids?"

Nope

"Despite the legal controversy brewing around his website—and a previous conviction for insider trading—Mr. Dotcom didn't lay low or hide anonymously behind his computer.

Rather, Mr. Dotcom openly enjoyed a lavish lifestyle. He owned at least 18 luxury cars—including a 1959 pink Cadillac and three cars with vanity license plates that read "HACKER," "MAFIA," and "STONED," according to U.S. officials—flew helicopters, and personally funded the city of Auckland's 2010 New Year's fireworks celebration."
posted by UrbanEye at 11:06 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, UrbanEye. Is there a variant on backpfeifengesicht meaning "person who cries out for a fist"? He sounds like the douchebag king of douchebags.

How could he be that flagrant and never think he'd get caught? And if he did think he'd never get caught, how could he start hosting things in the US, giving them jurisdiction?
posted by Sangermaine at 11:17 AM on January 23, 2012


Kim Dotcom's house.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:25 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


So wait- Mr. Dotcom? Did they get Grizz too?
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:26 AM on January 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


I figure he thought the corporation would get fined and shut down, or worst case scenario he just wouldn't be able to travel to the US. I guess he never figured they would show up and cut down his safe room door to get him. Smart People Problems, think you are too smart to ever face any consequences.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:32 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The big question now is what happens to Dropbox. Dropbox can easily be used to share pirated media too, either with friends or the public. But it's mostly not used that way, so it's not an obvious target.

MediaFire CEO: Unlike Megaupload, our business model isn’t built on piracy - from what I'm hearing there's just no way Megaupload could make that claim, and hopefully that will end up being the key difference.
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on January 23, 2012


Kim Dotcom was certainly a douchebag and it's pretty clear that megaupload was intentionally set up in a manner to facilitate and profit from filesharing but it seems like there is always going to a demand for these types of sites and that basically they'll just push more and more traffic to slightly more reputable hosts or sites that just don't care and are beyond the reach of US authorities.
posted by vuron at 11:35 AM on January 23, 2012


I'm a bit surprised at the amount of support here for a for-pay pirate - back in ye olde Days that sort of thing was considered scumbag behavior even by hardcore file traders.
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


To be honest, I was always amazed that those sites were able to hang on for so long[...]

Megaupload and its ilk always struck me as really skeezy[...]

I had never heard of Megaupload until the bust, and I'm amazed to find out how openly they'd been operating[...]
etc..

This vague air of skeez is exactly what the IP holders and their federal lackeys are counting on. Kim Dotcom is not a very sympathetic person and he has a criminal record. He's likely incapable of expressing his case in a manner that would draw public support.

But what exactly would you say that megaupload does that youtube does not do? The main difference in my eyes is that youtube lets its users speak to each other. We have some content holders' assertions that megaupload failed to respond to DMCA claims in a timely fashion.

Why isn't the main topic of this thread the lack of due process involved? Why aren't we discussing the fact that SOPA was a red herring and that the government already claims the powers we feared that they were taking for themselves?
posted by fartron at 11:38 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm not being nostalgic and saying that it will be good to go back to walled gardens, but I am saying that that model has its benefits.

I think other people have said this, but I think basically the barrier to entry, in terms of competence or difficulty level, it just needs to stay slightly ahead of what everybody's Dad can figure out. The past few years there's been no technical barrier at all, and maybe the reason people focus so much about the "immorality" of filesharing is because there's been literally nothing else standing in the way of total unchecked piracy than morality.
posted by anazgnos at 11:40 AM on January 23, 2012


Uploaded.to seems to be employing the approach of just shutting the doors to US-based IP addresses. It seems to still be business as usual if you have a non-US-based IP address.
posted by birdherder at 11:42 AM on January 23, 2012


I *like* to think that the reaction to SOPA/PIPA was not just an attempt to defend the Megauploads of the world. I'm probably wrong though.
posted by Artw at 11:43 AM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Does anybody use Usenet these days for legitimate reasons?

Been years since I fired up a newsreader; years since I even had an ISP that offered an nntp server as part of the package.

If the pirates all move to Usenet, will Usenet survive the spotlight? Harder for the MPAA etc to attack because it's decentralized, but still: a much coarser mesh than a torrent swarm.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:48 AM on January 23, 2012


For many, more like an attempt to defend the non-Megauploads of the world from being treated like the Megauploads of the world.
posted by delfin at 11:49 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Opera Unite is another method I've used to share large files.
In other news, this morning at around noon, filepost seems to have taken their servers offline.
posted by Obscure Reference at 11:49 AM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm looking forward to the first long-form essay on Kim Dotcom, especially after reading that he's also the world's top scorer at Modern Warfare 3. Like BitCoin, he's a real-world example that leaves Reamde looking as obsolete as a 90's Wired article.
posted by chortly at 11:50 AM on January 23, 2012


Or you can make it easier to buy than to pirate, which is what the iTunes store did, more or less, for music. We haven't quite gotten there with other media yet, but it can't be far off.

ITunes did not make it easier to buy. It locks you in to that horrid experience known as the iTunes store, gouges prices, puts the product into apple's stupid lossesless format, is of low quality and is generally a piece of shit. Plus once one does the math, that $1 song you just bought netted the artist anywhere from 5 to 8 cents, while Apple takes 33 cents and the rest going to the label and RIAA.

Fuck that, it isn't easier than pirating. Again lets look at the suceesses of Louie Ck and artist releasing albums as either low cost download, hifi with either donations/pick your price model or low cost album downloads. Copying 0s and 1s for an album does not cost 10 bucks or more.
posted by handbanana at 11:51 AM on January 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I fileshare exclusively via sneakernet.
posted by defenestration at 11:52 AM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


ITunes did not make it easier to buy. It locks you in to that horrid experience known as the iTunes store, gouges prices, puts the product into apple's stupid lossesless format, is of low quality and is generally a piece of shit.

Not that this will matter to you, but none of this is remotely true.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:55 AM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


If the pirates all move to Usenet, will Usenet survive the spotlight?

Can't happen.

For one, Usenet is ALREADY your one-stop headquarters for exabytes of copyright violations and has been for some time.

For two, a quality Usenet feed is pay-to-play, largely thanks to that asshole Andrew Cuomo. Very few other than dedicated pirate types will pay for what they figure they can find on the web for free, which will limit the userbase significantly.

For three, knowing to look on Usenet for files in the first place (let alone fiddling with .rars and .pars and such) is beyond the realm of what Joe Average will figure out, neatly avoiding the problem.
posted by delfin at 11:56 AM on January 23, 2012


The funny thing is that Germany would not have extradited "Kimble":

Wikipedia: "Some countries, such as France, Germany, Russia, Austria, the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Japan, forbid extradition of their own citizens either by law or by treaty. "

So I guess the 20 Million Dollar NZ Mansion was a big mistake for Kim.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 12:07 PM on January 23, 2012


Usenet won't last for long. ISPs already don't run servers; most servers live by selling subscriptions for people to pirate media. And the underlying protocols and encodings are just awful, the only reason it's used is because the pirates took over an existing infrastructure and repurposed it.

It's remarkably easy to download something via Usenet now if you have access to an NNTP server. NZB files are exactly like Torrents, only the download is more reliable. Only you're paying a company for the download. Those companies won't last once they get any attention.
posted by Nelson at 12:08 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Death of Usenet Predicted: Film at Eleven!
posted by Justinian at 12:26 PM on January 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


(For you whippersnappers, the Imminent Death of Usenet has been predicted for roughly 25 years).
posted by Justinian at 12:31 PM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Entropicaamerica:

Please elaborate, because you statement of "uh ah" is hardly a substantial rebuttal. Apples cut is clearly in its TOS when setting up selling media, Arstechnica has had many articles on musicians pay, as well as average label cut and the costs given to the RIAA. In addition, you are still locked into a shitty platform with overpriced copying of zeros and ones and formats not conducive to many non apple devices.

Your serve.
posted by handbanana at 12:34 PM on January 23, 2012


For you whippersnappers, the Imminent Death of Usenet has been predicted for roughly 25 years).


yeah, I've been using it for over 20 years, but you can't deny it has been in a slow decline for a long time. It is propped up by giant usenet providers now, like giganews, that are just gateways to the .bin newsgroups.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:36 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can't happen.

Yeah, there'll never be sites that conveniently package .nzb's the user simply needs to click on then watch their app download, par, unrar, then delete the archive files without further user interaction.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:38 PM on January 23, 2012


Death of Usenet Predicted: Film at Eleven!

Now is the September of our discontent made glorious October by this son of Dotcom
posted by Copronymus at 12:45 PM on January 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


I got somebody not-tech-savvy up and running with Usenet in a single email last night. I already had accounts, and sabnzbd is dead simple to install and use.
posted by mad bomber what bombs at midnight at 12:48 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


active double post
posted by mrgrimm at 12:50 PM on January 23, 2012


Yeah, there'll never be sites that conveniently package .nzb's the user simply needs to click on then watch their app download, par, unrar, then delete the archive files without further user interaction.

I loved Newzbin too. That is, until Verizon yanked their free and surprisingly robust NNTP feed and I turned elsewhere rather than go pay-to-play.

I'm not suggesting that the powers that be will never go after Usenet; quite the contrary, they did it in 2010, during which a display of galactic levels of chutzpah took place.

Chris Elsworth, the main operator of Newzbin, had said repeatedly during the case that he had no knowledge of infringement occurring on the service, and that Newzbin's categories for "CAM," "screener," "telesync," "DVD,"R5 retail","Blu-ray," and "HD DVD" did not suggest any evidence of infringement. .

Church bells, man. O_o

But Newzbin was squashed flat in May 2010 and back online three weeks later. Usenet isn't a Completely Decentralized Wonder Tool but it's sufficiently so to be hard to squash entirely.
posted by delfin at 12:54 PM on January 23, 2012


As I understand it, Megaupload's administrators opened themselves up to prosecution by not removing content when asked by copyright holders. They merely deleted the link to the file in question. Many other links were left in place, rendering their action irrelevant.

How MU worked is that if you tried to upload a file, and another user had uploaded the same file, it would just point your 'file' at the previous one. You could, say, instantly 'upload' a CD. Pretty convienient.

But, if they're told to take down your file, they just remove that pointer. They can't kill the data without affecting the previous user, who may have every right to it. Dropbox works the same way, FWIW.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:55 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


yeah, I've been using it for over 20 years, but you can't deny it has been in a slow decline for a long time.

Usenet isn't dying, it is sailing West on white swanships while Kibo slumbers under the mountain waiting our direst need.
posted by Justinian at 12:57 PM on January 23, 2012 [13 favorites]


Usenet isn't dying, it is sailing West on white swanships while Kibo slumbers under the mountain waiting our direst need.

You cannot kill what does not truly live.
posted by Sparx at 1:03 PM on January 23, 2012


Usenet isn't dying

fluffy's not done playing with it
posted by pyramid termite at 1:05 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of course Usenet's dying. It's been on its deathbed for at least the 15 years I've been using it. Nobody could argue that.
posted by mad bomber what bombs at midnight at 1:11 PM on January 23, 2012


Plus once one does the math, that $1 song you just bought netted the artist anywhere from 5 to 8 cents, while Apple takes 33 cents and the rest going to the label and RIAA.

Well, as an independent artist releasing music on iTunes, I make about $0.67 per download. (I'd happily trade it for $0.05 per download to have access to a major labels resources, of course.)
posted by malocchio at 1:12 PM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


Usenet isn't dying

I still have my talk.bizarre t-shirt.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:13 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is simply dying so slowly we can't see it.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:14 PM on January 23, 2012


Time to bring back HotLink
posted by Mick at 1:38 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


In article <http://www.metafilter.com/111937/The-end-of-direct-download-file-sharing#4145406> Justinian writes:
>For you whippersnappers, the Imminent Death of Usenet has
>been predicted for roughly 25 years

It died about 8 years ago, when blogs and mailing lists
replaced it for conversations. What's left now isn't
Usenet, it's a horrible base 64 encoded flood fill movie
propagation network. Few people were around to notice.

--
ogicse!reed!minar

posted by Nelson at 2:12 PM on January 23, 2012 [10 favorites]


alt.comics.2000ad basically got spammed to death by a single troll, but there were still occasionally people who try and have conversations there despite the flood of crap until quite recently.
posted by Artw at 2:14 PM on January 23, 2012


But, if they're told to take down your file, they just remove that pointer. They can't kill the data without affecting the previous user, who may have every right to it. Dropbox works the same way, FWIW.

So, if MegaUpload had had 15 copies of the same pirated file, and the MPAA/RIAA sent them a take down notice for only one of the copies, would the DMCA have obligated Megaupload to take down all 15 copies or would they be in compliance only taking down the one copy listed in the take down notice and leaving up the other 14?
posted by nooneyouknow at 2:23 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Good question. Depends on your reading, I guess.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 2:33 PM on January 23, 2012


i am looking at that WSJ article on kim dotcom

it seems like they were kind of struggling not to break down and just start screaming "fat" over and over

it feels a little like a hit piece is what i am saying
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:34 PM on January 23, 2012


So, sending files... what is the easiest way to send large files to grandma these days?

Just my impression, or is WeTransfer catching on (where Yousendit & Co. kind of left off)?
posted by progosk at 3:08 PM on January 23, 2012


Based on the support requests I've seen, there are still quite a few people using Usenet for conversation. Particularly in the UK. I've seen ISP's that use it for announcements and support, some for-sale and swap groups, and lots of TV discussion.
posted by mad bomber what bombs at midnight at 3:43 PM on January 23, 2012


So I was at the store today and the clerk had an article about Kim Dot Com's mansion and I'm wondering if maybe he was a target not just for his activities, but as a message. Obviously we're seeing pull-backs from other similar companies.

But what I mean is to Joe Blow who thinks piracy is no big deal, nobody's getting rich off of it, certainly not the internet kind of piracy -- maybe those market stalls in China that sell pirated software, but not just sharing files... And then they see this guy who is getting filthy rich, and then they start to think -- hmm, I may like piracy, but I certainly don't want some guy to live in a fucking mansion because of it.

(because that's kinda my train of thought) -- but I'm also hip to the ideal, and the issues w/capitalism, etc...

So for the average non-techy person who sees that they might just be like "Maybe I'm wrong on this piracy thing..."

When it isn't really necessarily piracy per se that's the issue here so much as someone leeching off tons of money in the process. (which is where I agree that piracy is an issue, when actual money exchanges hands (beyond what's necessary to provide the basic services) and people start profiting off it).

But yeah - that mansion sure is some sort of signifier in the battle for public minds, I think.
posted by symbioid at 4:05 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


After terrific year, music biz demands that world adopt "SOPA plus"
posted by Artw at 4:10 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm still quite baffled by what MegaUpload was doing that YouTube is not doing (I mean, apart from being owned by Google). If I upload an infringing video at YouTube id 1234 and somebody else uploads the same video at YouTube ID 9876, and a DMCA takedown notice is issued for ID 1234, Google is not obligated to search for all other copies of the content and remove ID 9876, are they? I mean, the burden is on the DMCA complainant to find these duplicates, right?

It's pretty clear that MegaUpload was de facto profiting from their service being used for piracy, but I still don't see how their service was illegal under US law. I mean, that was sort of the entire point of this SOPA furor, that ISPs and content-hosting providers oughtn't to be in the business of actively policing user-submitted content on the behalf of copyright holders.
posted by whir at 4:33 PM on January 23, 2012


One big difference is that DOJ doesn't have internal documents in which execs at Youtube talk about how they are deliberating profiting from pirates.

Remember, kids, don't take notes on criminal fucking conspiracies.
posted by Justinian at 4:40 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


uh, deliberately profiting. Not thinking about it, doing it.
posted by Justinian at 4:40 PM on January 23, 2012


Robert's Rules of Order brings down another racketeering case! But can MegaUpload really be said to be conspiring with an anonymous mass of people, none of whom Kim Dotcom et al knew personally, and who had no intentions to commit the crime at the time the service was created? (I'm genuinely curious about this, I don't know how the law works...)
posted by whir at 4:55 PM on January 23, 2012


i am looking at that WSJ article on kim dotcom

it seems like they were kind of struggling not to break down and just start screaming "fat" over and over


There's a lot of weird "look at how many cars he had in his mansion" type articles out now, like it matters. Especially weird coming from the Journal of all places.

I mean, Steve Jobs drove around without license plates because they offended his sense of aesthetics, for crying out loud.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:11 PM on January 23, 2012


I've noticed nearly every article I've read about this from any mainstream source has been filled with words that, even when not talking about Dotcom, insinuate fatness, and, of course, how much of a moral failure that is. Without coming out and actually typing "look at this lardass," pretty much every article does its best to imply it.

If he's an ass, he's an ass. If he really is a criminal, he's a criminal. How much longer, given all the handwringing about how big americans are getting, can journalists continue to use fat as a sure sign of moral failure, especially in a case where there is just so much else about this guy to find repugnant? I guess it's just easier to type a fat joke and share a laugh with your editor.
posted by Ghidorah at 12:43 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


In other news, this morning at around noon, filepost seems to have taken their servers offline.

For the time being, Filepost is still up and running. We'll see for how long.
posted by mattbucher at 5:15 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Conspiracy theories swirling around the MegaUpload takedown.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:01 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


While I'd doubt that was the reason the site was taken down, and while I wouldn't be surprised if the MegaBox idea started in-company as simply a bid for legitimacy and legal cover, it does sound like a good idea. The summary: musicians putting their own music up on this soon-to-be-launched storefront would get to keep 90% of revenues, plus even artists putting up music for free would receive payment through something probably similar to their already-in-place incentives program.

Obviously they should have launched this a year ago, or at least simultaneously with that youtube video.
posted by nobody at 6:22 AM on January 24, 2012


Yeah I doubt it too, it does jive with the people who have been saying that CEO Swizz Beatz was trying to push the company in a more legit direction.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:27 AM on January 24, 2012


STRONG smell of bullshit there. Still, I suppose people who want to believe will be impressed.
posted by Artw at 7:29 AM on January 24, 2012


Isn't Bandcamp already doing that?

I'd imagine megaupload could've simply partnered with more legit services like Bandcamp if they'd felt like steering advertising traffic towards anybody less profitable than online gambling, dating, etc.

In fact, they could've simply embedded an online label's player during all downloads if they'd sacrificed even a little screen real-estate. Do you like this music? If so, buy it from our partner! If not, pay us for the ability to shut it off! Or we'll try finding stuff you like if you tell us about yourself.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:41 PM on February 6, 2012


There are bitlockers like ifile.it that ban files by hash, whir, meaning pirates must compress, encrypt, or change one byte. I've always liked ifile.it, less spammy.

Also, there was some sports site called Firstrow seized shortly after megaupload, but they're back up now.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:14 PM on February 6, 2012


« Older David Grann of the New Yorker writes about the pow...  |  Hari Kunzru: Reading The Satan... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments