Is Megaupload’s closure a warning to other similar websites or do they stand to gain?
Megaupload allows its customers to upload files on to a website and share its with anyone on the internet to be downloaded. The US Justice Department shut down the company's website on January 19 for copyright infringement charges.
In a Hollywood style operation involving helicopters luxury cars the New Zealand police on Thursday arrested Kim Schmitz a German national and the multi millionaire owner of Megaupload, who is accused of promoting piracy.
In what can be termed as retaliatory attacks, hackers have attacked and defaced several websites in protest against the anti piracy legislations and arrests.
The Hong Kong-based Megaupload has claimed that it has over 150 million users and 50 million visitors per day which amounts to about 4 per cent of all global Internet traffic.
What does this mean for the dozens of other similar websites and thousands of other customers.
M Fereira, a Srilankan national who owns a Megaupload premium account told Emirates 247 that he will now think of joining any other alternate filesharing service such as Oron or Depositfiles.
“I had paid up for an annual membership some months ago. In fact I used to subscribe to Rapidshare but shifted to Megaupload since they had better links. I used the service mostly to download movies,” said Fereira.
A premium account with Megaupload started with $9.99 for a month. The website had various plans including a onetime payment for a lifetime platinum account.
According to experts the lawsuit and indictment against Megaupload is to remind the internet community and sites that infringe on copyrights violation that they can be held accountable and face legal consequence.
But will the efforts succeed? “Look at the number of torrents available for free on the internet. Just look at the links n Pirate Bay. I download at least five moves every week through torrents. I doubt if they will ever be able to stop this,” said Alvin Desouza from Mangalore in India who has been living and working in Dubai for the last three years.
The entertainment industry including the Hollywod and the music industries have been lobbying haed with the US Congress to crack down on Internet piracy and content theft. Google and Facebook have spoken against the current draft while Wikipedia last week went on a day long blackout in protest against the US legislation.
Megaupload is dead but here are some of the leading alternates to file-sharing
Anyone can log an and create free account and upload and share files on Rapidshare. A Rapidpro membership will cost Euro 9.99 for a month and Ruro 99.90 for two years wherein the uploaded files will never expire (as long as you are a Pro member) and will have not have to painfully wait for 90 or 120 minutes for the downloads to start.
The free service lets users upload all types of files. Free users can upload as many files as they want but not more than 2GB per file. With no storage limit the files will have a limited storage life and will be deleted after a period of time. There is no direct download facility for free users. However buying a pro account for $9 per month gives users with a maximum file size of 4GB and unlimited storage and direct fownload of 100,000MB per month.
According to Mediafire 150 million people are using the service every month to share 760 million files.
Fileserve, one of the top rated file-share services, lets users upload unlimited number of files as large as 2GB for free. By paying $9.99 a month or $59.99 a year, users get unlimited personal storage and unlimited parallel downloads at maximum speed. With Fileserve, users can also make money online whereby an uploader earns $25 for every 1000 downloads with no payout caps, for downloads from all around the world. “All you have to do is upload files to your account and share files with friends and family and we will pay you for every download,” the website says in its promotion.
With depositfiles free users can store files for unlimited tim. But download speed is very slow and the largest possible file has to be 2GB or less. Pro users paying $11.95 per month can has faster download speeds.
Free users using the service can upload five files at a time and up to 400MB each. Files have a short shelf life and download speeds are slow. Registered users on the other hand can upload files up to 1GB in size, and have 250GB of storage. It costs Euros 9.95 for 30 days to be a premium user. Pro users will be able to uploads up to 2GB, with unlimited storage and much faster upload speeds.
Gaining in popularity Dropbox gives its users 2GB of free storage.
Pro users can upgrade to 50GB for $10 a month or 100GB for $20 a month. Filescan be shared using the personal folders or through email invitations to Dropbox. Founded in 2007 the website claims to have 45 million users.
YouSendIt one of the pioneers in cloud collaboration service offers 2GB of storage for free users. Each file has to be 50MB or less. Only five uploaded files can be shared per month. Pro users can pay either $4.17 per month or $9.99 per month with a sharing option of ten files per moth or unlimited files for the latter. Pro usrs have unlimited storage space. It claims to have over 20 million registered users in 193 countries.
Free users can upload files as big as 2GB and have a storage space of 750GB. No simultaneous downloads are allowed. Premium users will have to pay $9 for 30 days or $55 for an year anc can upload files as large as 10 GB and avail unlimited downloads and speed.
Free users can upload files as large as 300MB per file. Links can be emailed to any user. Uploaded files are stored for a miximum of 30 days unless they are downloaded at least once every month. For $9 a month and $55 an year users will be able to use premiu facilities that include high speed downloads, unlimited parallel downloads, and direct downloads.
The free image and file sharing site allows 50GB of storage. Files upto 2GB or less can be uploaded. The files have no limited shelf space.