New in Piracy: When One Files Site Pretends to Be Another

What happens when one steals the identity of another?There are file sharing sites out there that claim to have a legitimate purpose. I can totally understand it. Making money as an ISP is really hard and very competitive, so offering file sharing services is one way to basically make money selling storage. But I have always wondered why they would be so popular, because its easy and very inexpensive to get an almost ever growing storage repository from some value based ISP. On the other hand, if you don’t want to share your file space with someone who is trying to share a file with you, then there is a point.

Or, you just might have something that you think would cost you too much in bandwidth to give away. That’s the case with the excellent and free game If Monks Had Macs… which was extremely popular back in the early 1990s, now given away for free from RiverText.

File sharing sites though present a problem because they make it very easy to share pirated items. Every content vendor I know who sells their products independently sends a steady stream of DMCA notices to these sites. To the credit of almost all of them I have interacted with, Meshbox has received polite and efficient responses from most of them.

But what happens when one files site allegedly pretends to be associated with another? That’s something that we discovered today on a site with links back to DepositFiles.  DepositFiles insists that the other service is not associated with it at all, yet almost all site links point back to DepositFiles, INCLUDING the links to contact DepositFiles for advertising opportunities. I see a few possible reasons for this -

  • This file sharing site has nothing to do with DepositFiles. There are a growing number of pirate loving search engine sites out there that have some plan for generating revenue. Usually, its through direct revenue generation through linking up with an internet ad site. The problem with this site is that it doesn’t appear to be advertising any other site besides DepositFiles.
  • This file sharing site is associated with DepositFiles. DepositFiles staff insist this site has nothing to do with them. But if it were, then there would be some benefits. After all, if this site is not associated with DepositFiles, then DepositFiles could disclaim all association with it, ignore any DMCA notices that come in about pirated content.

There is some benefit for file sharing services to distance themselves from copyright issues. In 2009, a German court found against Rapidshare in playing a role in music piracy as brought about by GEMA. GEMA’s reasoning is contrary to that of the Digital Millenium Act – and for good reason – DMCA has too many holes in it to deter IP theft.

I am looking forward to seeing how this issue with DepositFiles evolves. They now know about the other site. They know I know about the other site.  What will their response be? I will let you know.

About the Author

Chikako is Art Director at Meshbox Design (http://www.meshbox.com) and also assists with 3D content direction at Mirye Software. She is also the translator working on the Shade 10 documentation.