File-sharing services have faced a ton of scrutiny in recent years, as public opinion on these platforms is generally positive; these services are perfect for sharing illegal content among Internet users. About a decade ago, warez sites were a pain in the neck for government officials around the world, but that period came to an abrupt end a few years ago. By the look of things, file sharing services won’t be around for much longer either.
Department of Justice Shuts Down Sharebeast
Gone are the days where platforms such as Napster, Bearshare, and Nucleus were the favorite file sharing applications on the Internet. More recently, file sharing platforms such as Rapidshare, Megaupload, and others have become the premium choice for sharing both legal and illegal content with other people.
In the United States, Sharebeast has been one of the largest file-sharing services in the past few years. While the battle against illegal file sharing is far from over, the shutdown of Sharebeast is seen as a victory for the Department of Justice and the RIAA. After seizing the domain Sharebeast.com, a formal “FBI Anti-piracy” warning was put up on the main page.
RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman stated the following:
“This is a huge win for the music community and legitimate music services. Sharebeast operated with flagrant disregard for the rights of artists and labels while undermining the legal marketplace. Millions of users accessed songs from Sharebeast each month without one penny of compensation going to countless artists, songwriters, labels, and others who created the music. We are grateful to the FBI and the Department of Justice for its strong stand against Sharebeast and for recognizing that these types of illicit sites wreak major damage on the music community and hinder fans’ legitimate listening options.”
Considering Sharebeast was allegedly the largest file sharing platform in the United States, it is no surprise to find out the service was mostly used for sharing copyrighted material, including games, movies, and TV shows. The downfall of the Sharebeast platform is social media, as the platform’s Twitter account history is littered with announcements about new downloads for copyrighted material.
Furthermore, domains related to Sharebeast have been shut down as well. According to details provided to Ars Technica, the RIAA alone reported over 100,000 infringing files to be found on and hosted by the Sharebeast platform. Despite best efforts to contact Sharebeast owners and to get the files removed, requests fell on deaf ears, to much chagrin of the RIAA and Department of Justice.
File Sharing Platforms to Address bad rep With Blockchain Technology?
Platforms such as Sharebeast are giving other companies in the file sharing space a very bad reputation. There are plenty of legitimate reasons to use file sharing services, as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft’s OneDrive are commonly used among professionals and individuals to collaborate on projects.
The main reason why file sharing platforms have such a bad reputation is due to a lack of transparency. While there is a case to be made for customer privacy, which also extends to uploaded and shared files, some level of transparency towards government instances and copyright groups might not be a bad idea.
One way to achieve that level of transparency comes in the form of blockchain adoption. Given the disruptive nature of this technology, it can be tweaked to suit the needs of platform operators. For example, file sharing platforms could opt to disclose information through meta tags associated with files, including size, file type, and how many times it has been accessed.
Files that are accessed a few hundred times per hour are most likely to be some form of illegal content. Once such a file has been flagged as a potential risk, a warning could be sent to the RIAA and the person hosting the file, to ask for further clarification. Assuming the user can prove the file is legal and genuine, there should be no reason for concern.
Transparency is a scary word for people involved in the file sharing industry, but it is up for debate as to how this transparency could be offered. Companies can opt to disclose as much or as little information as they deem necessary. Plus, the RIAA can adopt blockchain technology as well, to issue copyright in the form of digital tokens associated with certain content. Once those tokens show up on file sharing platforms, content can be taken down quite easily.
What are your thoughts on using blockchain technology to provide more transparency by file sharing services? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Ars Technica
Images courtesy of Sharebeast, FBI.gov, Shutterstock