Much fuss has been made over the supposed impact the US authorities have had on illegal filesharing/piracy, with their much publicised takedown of Megaupload. The US government, in its indictment against the Megaupload said that the company had raised US$175 million – partly from piracy – since its inception.
Going after Megaupload, one of the most popular sites in the world and one that uses a surprising amount of corporate bandwidth, might seem a strange choice. (As an example of its scale, Megaupload controlled 525 servers in Virginia alone and had another 630 in the Netherlands—and many more around the world.)
It turns out – according to a study conducted by DeepField Networks – that while the Megaupload takedown did have an impact on global web traffic, it did little-to-nothing to stem file-sharing traffic, web traffic that’s often looked at as the acts of copyrighted content pirates.
DeepField’s study is revealing on a number of levels, including explaining the amount of web traffic Megaupload accounted for. As the largest file sharing service on the Internet, MegaUpload downloads represented 30-40% of all file sharing. In the space of an hour, Internet traffic globally plummeted by an astounding 2-3%. Press releases heralded a major blow to the theft of intellectual property.
That being said, whatever chilling effect the Megaupload takedown had was only temporary. The main impact of the MegaUpload takedown? Well, file sharing has not gone away. It did not even decrease much in North America.
Mainly, file sharing became staggeringly less efficient. Instead of terabytes of North America MegaUpload traffic going to US servers, most file sharing traffic now comes from Europe over far more expensive transatlantic links.
So that’s why Lamar Smith was so adamant about SOPA only targeting foreign sites. Clearly, he knew the Megaupload takedown was coming, and as a result, foreign web entities would fill the hole — almost immediately — that a seized Megaupload left behind.
DeepField also offers graphics to back up their findings:
Did the law enforcement agencies — backed by politicians who have been bought and paid for by the entertainment industry — actually think this would stem the piracy tide they are trying so hard to fight?
Considering DeepField’s findings, this kind of headline easily fits the Megaupload takedown and the overall impact it had on file-sharing piracy.