MPAA: Megaupload Shutdown Was Massive Success

In a filing to the Office of the US Trade Representative the major movie studios describe how successful the shutdown of Megaupload has been. According to the MPAA the file-hosting industry was massively disrupted, with carry-over effects to linking and BitTorrent sites. Nonetheless, the movie group says the work is not done yet and lists The Pirate Bay, Extratorrent, isoHunt, Kat.ph and several other file-hosting and linking sites as remaining threats.

megauploadResponding to a request from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), the MPAA has submitted a new list of “notorious markets” they believe promote illegal distribution of movies and TV-shows.

The document dates back to September but unlike previous years it hasn’t been published in public by the MPAA. TorrentFreak managed to obtain a copy nonetheless, and there are a few things worth highlighting.

As one of the main instigators of the Megaupload investigation the MPAA tells the U.S. Government that as a direct result of the takedowns many other “rogue” sites were rendered useless.

“This year’s seizures of Megaupload.com and Megavideo.com by the Department of Justice illustrate the extent and impact that hosting hubs have on the online landscape,” MPAA’s Michael O’Leary writes.

“When these two websites were taken down, many linking websites, custom search engines, and custom streaming scripts that relied on the sites for content became inoperable. Some websites were abandoned by their operators, others lost traffic, while still others shifted their business model.”

More indirectly, the Megaupload shutdown also impacted other file-hosting businesses and their customers. Several sites disabled file-sharing and discontinued their affiliate programs which, according to the MPAA, resulted in a lowered availability of copyrighted content.

“For example, Wupload.com, which was featured in MPAA’s filing last year, disabled file sharing. Affiliate programs that paid uploaders for content were also discontinued or removed by many hubs. Further, infringing content was purged by operators in bulk, which was followed by uploaders who deleted their own files to prevent the hubs from profiting on the uploads without paying incentives.”

“In sum, the impact of these seizures was massive and the hub landscape is still recovering,” O’Leary concludes.

The MPAA is right in their assessment that the Megaupload shutdown greatly impacted the file-hosting business, as we’ve pointed that out on TorrentFreak in the past. However, the group ignores the chilling effect it may have had on many legitimate businesses.

Interestingly, recently published research suggests that shuttering Megaupload may have even had a negative impact on box office revenues. In a recent blog post MPAA’s head of research Julia Jenks said the short paper is “not clear or compelling,” but it’s an indication that the Megaupload shutdown might not be all that positive for the industry itself either.

In addition to discussing the Megaupload effects, the MPAA also notes that other law enforcement operations have been successful. The movie industry group specifically mentions the private BitTorrent tracker Demonoid.

“The BitTorrent landscape was measurably impacted by both regulatory and law enforcement efforts over the last year. For example, Demonoid.me (Alexa 938) went offline after Mexican officials arrested the site’s operator and coordinated seizures of the website’s servers with Ukrainian officials.”

Aside from summing up these ‘successes’, the MPAA reiterates that there is still a lot of work to do. The movie group calls out several websites including many popular BitTorrent indexes, file-hosting and linking sites including:

BitTorrent sites: ExtraTorrent.com, isoHunt.com, Kat.ph, Rutracker.org, Thepiratebay.se, Torrentz.eu and Xunlei.com.

Download/streaming: Extabit.com, Netload.in, Putlocker.com, Rapidgator.net, Simdisk.co.kr, Uploaded.net and VK.com.

Linking sites: 1channel.ch, Free-tv-video-online.me, Movie2k.to, Seriesyonkis.com, Solarmovie.eu and Telona.org

Later this month the USTR is expected to publish its own overview of “notorious” websites. The report will include many of the MPAA recommendations, as well as those URLs that were submitted by the RIAA.

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