US: More than 10 million legal files snared in Megaupload shutdown

Published on Russia Today RT, Oct 19, 2013.

When US law enforcement officials shut down the online storage locker Megaupload they also scrubbed nearly 11 million perfectly legal files that were saved on the site, according to a new study conducted by Northeastern University in Boston.

Before it was taken offline, Megaupload – with founder Kim Dotcom at the helm – attracted tens of millions of visitors each day. Users flocked to the site because it provided a venue for file hosting, although Megaupload quickly gained notoriety for the number of music and movie files freely available there without the consent of the copyright owner … //

… A specific look at Megaupload revealed that at least 31 percent of all uploads constituted infringing content. An estimated 10.75 million, or 4.3 percent, of the 250 uploads taken offline were non-infringing. The legality of the remaining 65 percent of files remains undetermined.

FileFactory was found to have the highest percentage of pirated files with 14 percent, and Wupload and Undedlink tied for the fewest at 0.1 percent.

The study did confirm that online storage lockers, also called “one click” file hosting services, are primarily used to access illegal content. There is ample proof, however, that US copyright enforcers removed a plethora of legal material. Tobias Lauinger, one of the authors of the paper, told TorrentFreak that the massive quantity of legitimate files was one of the reasons the research was necessary.

“What I find most interesting about our results is that they support what many people were already suspecting before: That Megaupload was partially being used for ‘illegal’ file sharing, but that there were also millions of perfectly legitimate files stored on Megaupload,” he said.
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