Casualties of Un-Passed SOPA – Another One Bites the Dust
Despite the rightful outcry against the far-too-wide-ranging antipiracy bill SOPA, and its subsequent failure to pass, at least a handful of now defunct file-sharing sites would be hard-pressed to agree that the bill had no effect. On Monday, Feb 6, the major file-sharing site BTJunkie shut down, deciding its file-laden servers weren’t worth the risk of armed commandos storming its headquarters at the direction of the FBI. The travails of the eccentric mogul Kim Dotcom and the fall of his Megaupload empire proves that although the SOPA’s nails were clipped, its reach is still formidable.
BTJunkie was well-known for the search function it gave surfers to locate Bit Torrent downloads, and its millions-monthly user base made it a perilously-large target in the SOPA-scope. Although there have been outcries against the Megaupload action, it is probably less controversial than it at first appears, given the criminal history of the founder. This fact serves to quell the possible circumvention of due process under the federal rampage seemingly took place; however, for the other file-sharing sites, it was enough to scare them into action. It might have been nice had they stood their ground and watched it unfold – after all, file-sharing is still legal, right? But one might think differently if the prospect of 100 cops knocking on the door is conceivable in your line of work.
This comes less than three weeks after the file-sharing site Filesonic.com removed the ability to download files not uploaded by the same user (the site retains its uploading feature, however), and the Chinese server Uploaded.to banned access to the United States altogether. Even the Chinese are wary of the FBI’s long-reach, apparently, and it’s starting to look like the most successful future file-sharing site may have to come out of North Korea.