MegaUpload takedown didn't slow pirate downloads, just moved them offshore

Downloads to U.S. users coming across longer distances, more expensive links

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The federal takedown of MegaUpload was a major win for copyright enforcement advocates and a major loss to the Internet.

Literally. The Internet lost between 2 percent and 3 percent of its total volume of traffic in just one hour following the Jan. 19 raid that shut down the world's largest file-sharing service, according to a new report from DeepField Networks called File Sharing in the Post MegaUpload Era.

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Before its staff were arrested and servers shut down, MegaUpload files accounted for between 30 percent and 40 percent of all the file downloads on the Internet.

That's not as much traffic as you'd think. According to network-management vendor Sandvine Networks Global Internet Phenomena report from October, 2011, real-time entertainment contributed far more traffic to the Intertubes than file sharing.

Real-time entertainment, which is mainly video and TV, not online gaming, made up 53.6 percent of all the traffic crossing the wired Internet in North America during 2011. Web browsing took up 16.6 percent and file-sharing came in third, at 14.3 percent according to Sandvine's numbers.

Right after the raid, Sandvine released an analysis of MegaUpload's traffic, showing it was responsible for .98 percent of all the traffic on all wired Internets in the U.S.

Sandvine predicted that, with MegaUpload shut down, users would switch to other, similar, sources, including Rapidshare, zShare, Hotfile and MediaFire.

That became tougher in the weeks since MegaUpload went down. Torrentfreak reports at least nine file sharers changed rules on the files they'll accept and several sites have shut down completely.

Uploadbox.com and X7.to shut down, according to ABCNews,

Filesonic and Fileserve banned third parties from downloading any file, to discourage anything but one-to-one exchanges. Uploaded.to banned anyone with a U.S. IP address from using the service in order to avoid infringing U.S. law. VideoBB and VideoZer ended programs similar to one under fire at MegaUpload, which rewarded members for uploading popular files, according to TorrentFreak.

Photo Credit: 

Reuters/Nigel Marple

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