Online Piracy has been a huge problem since the birth of the Internet but has become more wide spread due to fast broadband connections. As most of you know the site MegaUpload was shutdown. I was very surprised and shocked to learn about this for many reasons. Sure, If you wanted to, you could find videos that were protected under copyright laws on the MeagaUpload site, but you can also find them on any other file sharing site including YouTube. If you search on YouTube you can watch unauthorized full episodes of shows as well as listen to unauthorized music and videos yet YouTube is allowed to continue to operate.
There have been a few times I have gone to access content on MegaUpload and was greeted with a message saying it was removed due to copyright infringement so to say that the company did nothing to stop it is just flat out false. Could they have done a better job at filtering their content? Sure, but couldn’t every site including YouTube do a better job as well? Yes. Shutting down the site was just a way for the government to send a message. A message of who is REALLY in control. The day before, the Internet and the people showed the power they had(with all the sites going black to oppose SOPA) and the government replied putting us in our place showing us who really has the power.
The fact is that as long as there are sites that allow users to upload and share content with each other, there will be online piracy. I mean really – what’s to stop me from uploading something illegal to my dropbox account and sharing the link? Or one of the other million file sharing sites out there? Is the government going to go after them all? Shutting them down one by one?
I for one used MegaUpload for many legitimate reasons. As an Android Developer/Themer I have ALWAYS preferred to store my files on megaupload (more recently multiupload so it gets uploaded to multiple sources at once including MU) because of it’s reliability and it’s fast download speeds. I store whatever roms I have worked on, used it to store previous versions of roms and themes I have worked on, used it to store all kinds of android related files and utilities. I used it to store my files for both school and work that I might need to access on the go somewhere (and my dropbox account is full). I used it to share pictures and home videos too large to email with friends and family. I’m sure there are a lot of other Android Devs that have lost their work or files they were storing on MU as well as many other legitimate users who lost their files due to the shutdown. If I wasn’t paranoid about losing data and didn’t have it backed up in multiple places I would be pretty upset. Hell, I am pretty upset that now the government has in their possession my personal files that were 100% legitimate and legal. Do they at least plan on releasing the data the was stored on MU legally? I highly doubt it…
I do think something has to be done about online piracy as I am both a musician and a developer and don’t really like my work to be stolen from me but I do think we need to go about it differently. Instead of shutting down these sites why not go after the people uploading the content? Or maybe work together with these file sharing sites to see if they can find a solution together, not shut them down and throw them in jail.