To users of systems like BitTorrent, file-sharing means just that – the sharing of files with others. But this weekend users of Filesonic, one of the Internet’s leading cyberlocker services, sharing files is currently a thing of the past.
According to a shock announcement by the site, all file-sharing functionality has now been disabled, leaving current users only with access to files that they have personally uploaded. Many hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of links all around the web have now been rendered useless, at least temporarily.
But the bad news for the site’s users doesn’t end there. In the last few hours, before file-sharing was disabled, Filesonic also ended its rewards program, meaning that uploaders to the site no longer earn money when people download their files. A moot point perhaps, since no-one will be downloading files anyway.
However, there is the matter of what will happen to the reward money that was sitting in uploader’s accounts before the rewards program was discontinued. Will it be paid out, or will it simply disappear? Many users fear the latter.
No File-Sharing at Filesonic
While there has been no official explanation from the site as to why the above actions were taken, all eyes are turned towards events of the last week – the closure of Megaupload and the arrest of its founder and management team.
Like Megaupload, Filesonic appears to be based in Hong Kong and it’s clear that the authorities there already worked with the US government to shut down Kim Dotcom’s operations and seize his assets there. Filesonic is also believed to have some US-based servers.
In December, Filesonic announced it had partnered with Vobile, a provider of content identification services. All uploads to the service were said to be being checked for copyright infringement before users were able to share them publicly, although it is unclear if this system was ever implemented by the site.
The events of the last week have turned the cyberlocker world upside down and there is quite literally panic among users and site operators. Stay tuned for our detailed report tomorrow – the Megaupload takedown appears to be a game-changer.