Last week, U.S. law enforcement authorities convinced a federal judge in Virginia to shut down the Megaupload file-sharing site pending a criminal trial of its owner, “Kim Dotcom”, and other employees on charges of criminal copyright infringement. Working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice, New Zealand police arrested Dotcom at his Auckland mansion, seized millions of dollars worth of expensive cars, and froze bank accounts holding $11 million in cash. The U.S. will now try to extradite Dotcom to the U.S. to stand trial.
A couple days ago, I wrote an article for NCS trying to set out the facts about why the government went after Megaupload so aggressively and what laws the government has charged Doctom with violating — they didn’t need SOPA or PIPA to do it. I also offered some opinions, the main one being that the Megaupload shutdown really doesn’t have anything to do with freedom of speech or censorship and instead has a lot more to do with temporarily impairing our ability to get something for nothing. I also made this prediction:
“If this case is successful, we will likely see a severe short-term restriction on our ability to download albums for free — because other file-hosting companies will be taking more aggressive steps to prevent the uploading and downloading of copyrighted content. In fact, they’re probably taking steps to do that right now.”
Well, sho’ nuff. Today, the FileSonic on-line file storage site has terminated the ability of users to share files among themselves. The site now sports a banner on its home page stating: “All sharing functionality on FileSonic is now disabled. Our service can only be used to upload and retrieve files that you have uploaded personally.”