Last week Paramount Pictures’ identified five leading cyberlocker services as prime targets for future action. One of the services, UK-based PutLocker, has spoken with TorrentFreak refuting claims that it is some kind of “rogue site”. Another spotlighted file-hosting site, Wupload, has taken drastic action in the last few hours by announcing it has left the file-sharing business.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Hollywood studios aren’t going to be satisfied with the shutdown of Megaupload alone. They want more.
“We continue to make criminal referrals,” said Paramount Pictures’ Alfred Perry during a conference last week.
Perry, Paramount’s vice president for worldwide content protection, went on to list five other hosting services in the MPAA’s spotlight – FileServe, MediaFire, Wupload, PutLocker and Depositfiles. At the weekend MediaFire insisted that they aren’t run by some criminal gang and today we’ve spoken with Putlocker to get their take on Paramount’s statement.
“In any other industry, a person making this type of statement could be sued for libel. Funny how that works,” PutLocker Operations Officer Adrian Petroff told TorrentFreak.
“PutLocker takes a strong stand against copyright infringement and in the past year and a half we have taken down hundreds of thousands of infringing files and blocked the accounts of hundreds of repeat offenders,” adds Petroff. “PutLocker always cooperates with copyright holders and law enforcement agencies at home and abroad to uphold the rights of content producers and distributors alike.”
PutLocker, a service with offices in the UK, has only been existence for a little over 18 months but during that time it has grown quickly. From a standing start the service had reached around 800,000 visitors a day by early January 2012, and like many other comparable services benefited greatly in traffic terms after Megaupload was shut down. It now brings in around 1.6 million visitors every day.
Petroff told us that the company exists to enable legitimate users to quickly and easily upload large files and access them anywhere in the world, filling a gap in the market that not even GMail with its 25mb attachment limit can match.
“Less than 2% of the files uploaded to our servers are flagged as infringing which is a strong indication of the amount of legitimate usage we provide to the online community,” he told us.
Another of the issues that has become a hot topic since January is the rewarding of cyberlocker users when others download their content. Despite Megaupload discontinuing its program many months ago, the fact that it once had such a program is referenced heavily in the US government indictment. On February 1st 2012 (and in common with many other similar services) PutLocker also shut down its affiliate program.
Other sites in the crosshairs of the MPAA are Wupload and FileServe. Today we can report that following the Paramount statement on Friday, both file-hosting services have taken the most drastic of actions.
“All sharing has been disabled,” Wupload said in an announcement. “Wupload is not a file sharing site. If you uploaded a file, only you can download it and it can’t be shared with anyone else.”
Having temporarily blocked 3rd party sharing in January, FileServe appeared to re-enable the feature, only to switch it off again in the last few hours. As of now, it appears that FileServe too are no longer in the file-sharing business. (read more here on Wupload and FileServe)
Petroff told TorrentFreak that these are worrying developments.
“Who needs SOPA when a studio exec can make a wish/hit list and sites ‘voluntarily’ shut down?” he questioned.
From our discussions with PutLocker it seems clear that while maintaining existing popular features such as not throttling free users or putting limits on the number of files people can download, the service intends to move onwards and upwards with upgrades and additions.
“We are currently in a middle of a major site overhaul which will introduce a wide array of unique features that will help PutLocker secure itself as a leader in cloud storage and collaborative sharing platform for regular users, and businesses alike.”
“At the same time, we are always looking forward to working with content producers, distributors and their agents to diversify their distribution strategies and uphold intellectual property rights,” Petroff concludes