Kim Dotcom and the Magaupload saga are well known to us, it was a huge case that saw the site and sites like it being closed down due to their use by many users to share files illegally. Yet for all the good that the U.S. Government did with shutting the site down, they also hurt legitimate users of the site by deleting their files too. Until now, we have had no impression of what the ratio of legal and illegal files were. Research from Boston’s North-eastern University thinks they have the answer.
By testing samples of 1000 files from random sections of various cyber lockers such as FileFactory, Easy-share, Filesonic, Wupload and Megaupload they were able to determine the scale of the problem in terms of piracy and legitimate files. They then published their results in an article titled “Holiday Pictures or Blockbuster Movies? Insights into Copyright Infringement in User Uploads to One-Click File Hosters”.
For Megaupload they discovered that around 31% of all uploads were infringing, while 4.3% were clearly legitimate. When you multiply that out to fit the estimated 250 million uploads, we can calculate that around 10.75 million uploads were non-infringing. This is before we take into account the other 65% of the data, of which the legal copyrighted status couldn’t be determined, so 10.75 million is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
Optimistic estimates, assuming that the unaccounted data was legitimate could mean that 69.3% of the users were perfectly legal, meaning around 175,500,000 million non infringing files were destroyed. There is no doubt that the site was used for illegally sharing files, but the question of how many is clearly still up for debate and it could help the District Court to make its mind up on allowing former users to retrieve their files.
Thank you Torrent Freak for providing us with this information.