Kim Dotcom claims his cloud storage site Mega has signed up more than 3 million users and hosts 125 million files, just one month after launching.
In a tweet posted on February, 19, he said: “Mega launched 1 month ago: 3M+ users, 125M+ files, encryption unbroken, most bugs fixed, mobile apps & sync client coming soon.”
Dotcom also announced that the US was among the top five countries using the site last week.
Mega is the successor to Dotcom’s file-sharing site Megaupload, which US authorities shut down in January 2012 for hosting allegedly pirated content.
Dotcom was arrested for running the site and is now on bail in Auckland, New Zealand. The US Justice Department is seeking to extradite him to the US to stand trial for alleged copyright infringement.
Mega is similar to Megaupload as it allows users to store and share large files, but the site also employs user controlled encryption technology (UCE), which gives users control over who can view and access their files.
Dotcom believes this technology will protect him from being found liable for future infringements committed by Mega users, as the site’s administrators cannot see what files are being shared.
Adam Rendle, an associate at Taylor Wessing LLP in London, said that rights owners are likely to be just as concerned about Mega’s success as they were about Megaupload’s, particularly because UCE could make it harder for them to detect and identify infringement.
Gerard Kelly, a partner at Mathesons Ormsby Prentice in Dublin, said Mega shows just how quickly alternative file-sharing sites can be set up in reaction to litigation or criminal enforcement initiated by rights holders.
“Those that are determined to infringe copyright can find new facilities to do so, and infringer transition to new websites can happen within a very short period of time,” he said.
“The concern for rights holders is that this will result in ’chasing one’s tail’ in seeking to stamp out illegal file-sharing, with the cost of court proceedings accumulating for an industry that is, by its own admission, already under economic pressure from such activity.
Kelly also points out that the new Mega model will require a re-think of traditional IP enforcement strategies, including persuading service providers to engage in open peer-to-peer networks. But he is confident rights holders will find a way to adapt.
Rendle added that there is no guarantee that Dotcom will be immune from prosecution.
“Rights owners could argue that Mega’s administrators are merely relying on ’Nelsonian blindness’ to try to avoid being implicated in users’ activities. If the wider circumstances are in the rights owners’ favour, they would look to demonstrate that [Mega’s] operators are encouraging, condoning or participating in users’ infringements and are therefore liable.”
This article was first published on 20 February 2013 in World IP Review
Kim Dotcom, Mega, Megaupload, piracy, user controlled encryption