In recent days thousands of files have been removed from Kim Dotcom’s Mega, some based on bogus (DMCA) takedown notices. In some cases it takes just minutes before Mega disables access to users’ files, claiming they’ve received a takedown notice from a copyright holder. Ironically, Mega also removed access to Kim Dotcom’s own music. The big question is whether there’s a rogue copyright holder on the loose, or if Mega is actively policing the Internet.
With the newly launched Mega, Kim Dotcom and his associates are doing all they can to be “good corporate citizens.” However, there are signs that under the current setup users rights are being trumped to accommodate copyright holders.
TorrentFreak has received reports from people whose perfectly legal files were locked in their Mega accounts for alleged copyright violations. In all cases this happened after these users published links to the files elsewhere on the Internet.
A quick look on some of the Mega indexing sites shows that these are not isolated incidents. Thousands of publicly shared Mega files are now dead links but while many of these pointed to copyrighted material, there’s also quite a bit of collateral damage.
Mega-search.me, one of the larger Mega indexes, became a repository of dead links overnight. The site in question allows the public to post links to files shared on Mega. It currently lists nearly 8,000 links, but apart from the most recent submissions these are “no longer available” on Mega.
The censored content includes copyrighted music and movies, but also free to share software such as Ubuntu and copies of Kim Dotcom’s very own music. Interestingly, this mass removal of files appears to contradict Kim Dotcom’s statement earlier today that Mega receives just 50 DMCA takedown requests per day, unless of course there is additional proactive work underway.
Baroque Metal band DecaY from Lyon told TorrentFreak that the music they shared on Mega also fell victim to the mass takedowns.
“I am quite shocked that they would take out my insignificant 100% legal content in the blink of an eye,” the band’s Jeremy Allison says.
Certainly, something is not right.
To test how quickly a file is removed by Mega we decided to post some previously uploaded legal content to Mega-search.me ourselves. Our uploads included a few Dan Bull songs, a clip from the Pirate Bay documentary TPB-AFK, a video explaining fair use and Kim Dotcom’s single Mr. President.
Quite shockingly, the files were pulled down by Mega in a matter of minutes, claiming they had received copyright infringement notices for each of them.
We are in receipt of a takedown notice affecting the following public link
in your account:
Please be reminded that MEGA respects the copyrights of others and requires that users of the MEGA cloud service comply with the laws of copyright. You are strictly prohibited from using the MEGA cloud service to infringe copyrights. You may not upload, download, store, share, display, stream, distribute, e-mail, link to, transmit or otherwise make available any files, data, or content that infringes any copyright or other proprietary rights of any person or entity.
Furthermore, please be reminded that, pursuant to our Terms of Service, accounts found to be repeat infringers are subject to termination.
It didn’t stop at one email either, as can be seen below.
Unfortunately no information was provided about the alleged copyright holder who sent the notice. TorrentFreak replied to the email asking for clarification, but we have yet to receive a response from Mega. So what’s going on here?
It appears that someone or something is checking all uploads on public indexes such as Mega-search.me to pull down all the links that are added. This clearly happens automatically and without any verification of the copyrighted status of the file.
The big question, however, is where these bogus takedown notices come from.
Is there a rogue copyright holder ordering Mega to remove thousands of files just minutes after they are posted? And does Mega then process these takedowns notices in near real-time without verifying the content?
Or could it be that Mega itself has put indexes such as Mega-search.me on a blacklist to prevent copyrighted material from spreading, perhaps in an effort to prevent potential bad press that comes with it?
Whatever the case, the end result is that users can’t access perfectly legal files stored in their Mega accounts until a counter notice is processed. This prevents them from sharing their own work in public and also makes it impossible for them to download it to their own computers.
Mega account issue
TorrentFreak reached out to Kim Dotcom through various channels for a comment on the issue, but we have yet to hear back. Readers are welcome to upload legal Mega links to Mega-search.me themselves to see what’s going on.
Update: Mega-search.me now blames Mega for taking the links down.