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Cut the Net, cut our freedom

On Jan. 19, Megaupload was shut down by the federal government; just a day after many major sites across the Internet protested the anti-piracy acts by blacking out their content. Megaupload was a major file sharing site that accounted for 2-3% of the entire Internet’s bandwidth. The government’s decision is an attempt to cut down on the piracy of copyrighted material in the United States.

According to an article on www.billboard.biz, the files of users hosted on the servers that Megaupload rents could potentially start to be destroyed as early as today.

While the circumstances of this elimination were, we will admit, unwise on the part of the owner of the company, such as paying third-party websites incentives for hosting copyrighted material that received large amounts of downloads, the majority of the site’s content was perfectly legal according to a statement released by the company shortly after the site was shut down.

In the aftermath of this knee-jerk attempt at curbing online piracy, many other sites including FileSonic, FileServe and BTjunkie have either shut down or greatly altered the sharing functionality of their services.

People who were using these sites to steal copyrighted material have just moved on to similar file-sharing services to continue their pirating ways.

On top of that, users who were using the sites as a legitimate file-sharing service have been blocked from retrieving their data and are being forced to use much less efficient services to achieve the same tasks.

Many users preferred Megaupload because of the ease of use, generous server space to store files (200 gigabytes and the ability to upload files up to two gigabytes in size for non-paying users) and fast upload and download speeds.

All these services could be improved for a small monthly fee.

The point we are trying to make is that the scope of the Internet is far too great to effectively end piracy once and for all (at least not at this point in time). The methods that the US government are employing to slow pirates down are simply not working. The collateral damage of these broad accusations is hurting legitimate tools that greatly increase the functionality of the Internet across the world every day.

The fact that a celebrity endorsed file-sharing site (just check out the controversial Megaupload Mega Song on YouTube from a while back; yes, that is Kanye West telling us what an amazing tool for Internet users Megaupload is) got completely shut down in order to cut down on a small percentage of piracy that is happening on the web is a scary precursor to the future of our much coveted Internet freedom.

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