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MediaFire CEO: We Don't Depend On Piracy 185

Posted by Soulskill
from the everyone's-entitled-to-an-opinion dept.
New submitter libertyernie writes "Although FileSonic has disabled sharing and Uploaded.to has blocked access to the U.S., the CEO of Texas-based MediaFire is not concerned about government action against his company. 'We don't have a business built on copyright infringement,' says Derek Labian. 'Like many other cloud-based sharing services like Box.net and Dropbox, we're a legitimate business targeting professionals.'"
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MediaFire CEO: We Don't Depend On Piracy

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  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Monday January 23, 2012 @02:42PM (#38795007) Journal

    "We try to steer clear of things that would attract scrutiny," Labian said. "If people are pirating on our service, we don’t want those people to use it."

    So what you're openly admitting is that you just don't know the extent of piracy on your service? I probably would have said "no comment" rather than risk the Eye of Sauron ... er RIAA/MPAA's gaze. From what I gather, it could 0% it could be 100% of your service based on pirates sharing files with each other but since you don't know it's okay? Unless you have some sort of Youtube-like fingerprinting going on, I'd just keep your mouth shut.

    Another reason Labian said he wasn’t worried about the government stepping in is because the company maintains a "good relationship" with various government bodies, including "Homeland Security, ICE, and the FBI."

    Right but those are just the enforcers, your real problem is the MPAA and unless you're paying elected officials more than they are you could be next.

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday January 23, 2012 @02:48PM (#38795135)

      So what you're openly admitting is that you just don't know the extent of piracy on your service?

      Yes, so they can claim common carrier status... seems pretty smart to me. If you have any idea at all, you are screwed.

      Right but those are just the enforcers, your real problem is the MPAA

      As long as they respond to take-down notices and do not ACTIVELY seek traffic based on piracy as MegaUpload did (judging by emails they had to turn over) they, and companies like DropBox, should be fine.

      • So what you're openly admitting is that you just don't know the extent of piracy on your service?

        Yes, so they can claim common carrier status... seems pretty smart to me. If you have any idea at all, you are screwed.

        Right but those are just the enforcers, your real problem is the MPAA

        As long as they respond to take-down notices and do not ACTIVELY seek traffic based on piracy as MegaUpload did (judging by emails they had to turn over) they, and companies like DropBox, should be fine.

        ISPs aren't common carriers.
        In other news, the "24 hour evaluation period" WaReZ sites talked about in 1996 is also bullshit.

        • ISPs are or at least should be common carriers. And just like ISPs should be providing access to dumb pipes, filehosts should have dumb servers and be protected from liability.
          • ISPs are or at least should be common carriers. And just like ISPs should be providing access to dumb pipes, filehosts should have dumb servers and be protected from liability.

            Well, they aren't.

            • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, 2012 @04:36PM (#38796749)

              I think people are confusing "common carrier" for telecommunications and "safe harbor" for intellectual property. (a VERY rough summary follows) Common carriers have to treat all content using their telecommunications system the same and cannot have tiered access to different content but in exchange are not liable for serving illegal content they didn't create. Safe harbor refers to a lack of liability of your users posting or saving information to your services as long as you don't solicit such posts by the user. So a website gets safe harbor but not common carrier protection. My cell phone company (which does not provide hosting) does not get safe harbor protection, but does get common carrier protection.

            • Well, some [sonic.net] ISPs [broadbandreports.com] are [ca.gov]. Just depends on how they structure things legally. Should it be easier for ISPs to stand up and refuse to censor and snoop on their customers? IMO, yes. However, AFAIK, AT&T still retains common carrier status despite their well documented spying [wikipedia.org] efforts, so...

          • by JWW (79176)

            Yes they should be.

            Senator Al Franken has sponsored Net Neutrality legislation to allow them to be treated as such.

            Of course, he's also sponsored PIPA which would force ISPs to filter every packet.....

            • by lgw (121541)

              The enitre concept of "common carrier" is a telephone thing. What you want is "safe harbor" instead. These are legal terms, and so mean whatever they want to mean.

      • by Kjella (173770) on Monday January 23, 2012 @03:37PM (#38795919) Homepage

        The problem is that it's like selling knives to people and the most common thing people do is stab each other with them. You can try keeping up appearances and say we're only selling a tool, but sooner or later someone on your staff is going to crack and say "Yes, our tool is used for stabbing. You know it, I know it, we all know it's the 800lb gorilla in the room we can't talk about." Even if you're legitimately trying to minimize the illegal potential, admitting that your awkward stabbing weapon still could be used for stabbing is an admission. And that you didn't sell an even duller knife even though it'd be useless as a knife too, you are still saying you didn't do everything you could to stop stabbers. In short, you can't talk about them. I guarantee that if you do, their lawyers will find more than enough rope to hang you with when things are taken out of context and interpreted in the most cynical way.

        • Don't most people use knives to eat food with?

          Gun's would make a better analogy. Their are some types of Guns that are illegal, ( automatic weapons) because it is almost impossible to use them for legal purposes ( other then perhaps target practice if you are someone who enjoys that kind of thing) . But just because something MIGHT be used in an illegal fashion is not justification for preventing it's reasonable legal use.

          on the flip side of the argument there are lagitimate legal uses of all kinds of ban

          • by Fnord666 (889225)

            Their are some types of Guns that are illegal, ( automatic weapons) because it is almost impossible to use them for legal purposes ( other then perhaps target practice if you are someone who enjoys that kind of thing)

            Automatic weapons (and silenced weapons) are not illegal per se, at least not in the US. You still have to pass a background check and you have to pay the appropriate taxes, but other than that...

          • Their are some types of Guns that are illegal, ( automatic weapons) because it is almost impossible to use them for legal purposes ( other then perhaps target practice if you are someone who enjoys that kind of thing) . But just because something MIGHT be used in an illegal fashion is not justification for preventing it's reasonable legal use.

            Ummm, There are a lot of uses for Automatic weapons. Predator hunting comes to mind, and no not the movie, Hogs, Big cats, etc.

            It is kinda funny, the National Firearms act was passed to regulate what were considered "gangster weapons" however, farmers had been using automatic weapons for some 20 years to control varmints and predators on their ranches. Heck they banned silencers in the same law but in many countries silencers are mandatory for hunting because it reduces the decibels of the gun shot to below

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          And the knife could ALSO be used to cut a rope thus saving you from a kidnapper and thanks to the Betamax case one doesn't have to prove something is ONLY used for one purpose, just that it does have legitimate uses. I've personally used Soundcloud, MegaUpload, and MediaFire for delivering files to customers as well as for delivering audio tracks to musicians I was collaborating with. These files were made by me and these services worked just fine for the purpose and were free so there you go. what is gonna

        • by Solandri (704621)

          The problem is that it's like selling knives to people and the most common thing people do is stab each other with them. You can try keeping up appearances and say we're only selling a tool, but sooner or later someone on your staff is going to crack and say "Yes, our tool is used for stabbing.

          Depends on how the people store their files. If they're stored as plain files, unecrypted, then yes your knife analogy is somewhat apt. (From what I've been reading, this appears to have been the case at Megaupload

      • by nurb432 (527695)

        Yes, so they can claim common carrier status... seems pretty smart to me. If you have any idea at all, you are screwed.

        No, that is no longer the case. If you exist at all you are screwed. The only question is when and how hard.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      All we can say for certain is that every pirate starts with Google.

      Also I'm bored with all this MPAA/RIAA demonising. It's obvious that all this is just an excuse for top-down control of the Internet, one of many recent laws designed to control the people. Your "real problem" starts when you do things which increase freedom for others and your "real problem" ends when you do as you're told. This changes according as the pressure from people interested in preserving freedoms for the common man, whether that'

    • by vlm (69642)

      "We try to steer clear of things that would attract scrutiny," Labian said. "If people are pirating on our service, we don’t want those people to use it."

      So what you're openly admitting is that you just don't know the extent of piracy on your service?

      I read it as his service looks at the hosted files to verify they are not pirated material, which would imply his service is inappropriate for internal business use, which is too bad. I'd like a "business fileserver" provider for a little project I'm working on. Obviously I can roll my own with a virtual box provider like linode and sshfs but it would have been nice to just cut someone a check to handle backups and upgrades and general maintenance for us.

      • Never trust your cloud backup provider. Encrypt. If they can't read the file, you don't have to worry about them peeking.
        • by makomk (752139)

          MediaFire claim to delete encrypted files unless you're on one of their paid plans on the assumption that you're probably hiding pirated content in there. Expect other providers to follow suit.

    • by mvar (1386987)
      I dont know MediaFire's business, but could someone clarify this for me - is a company that sells storage obligated to keep an eye on its clients' files for copyright infringement?
      • by tepples (727027)
        Not unless it pays commissions for uploading files that become popular downloads.
    • So what you're openly admitting is that you just don't know the extent of piracy on your service? I probably would have said "no comment" rather than risk the Eye of Sauron ... er RIAA/MPAA's gaze. From what I gather, it could 0% it could be 100% of your service based on pirates sharing files with each other but since you don't know it's okay? Unless you have some sort of Youtube-like fingerprinting going on, I'd just keep your mouth shut.

      Saying no comment implies that you are guilty in the eyes of public opinion. It would be stupid for any legitimate organization that is trying to attract business customers to do that.

      Businesses are going to be wary of dealing with file hosting websites after the megaupload take down. They will want to stay away from shady services that primary focus is dealing with copyrighted content because they risk losing their files. If Mediafire sells itself as a legitimate business, it will be good publicity and

      • by gorzek (647352)

        Exactly right. Under the DMCA, no one is required to take down infringing material proactively--in fact, if it's found you do this, you can be in more trouble for what you don't catch. Instead, you take a reactive approach and take things down when you get DMCA notifications. Then, you can be in compliance with the law without having to devote vast resources to policing your site, as others are policing it for you.

      • by Shagg (99693)

        Businesses are going to be wary of dealing with file hosting websites after the megaupload take down.

        Which is exactly why it was taken down. File hosting sites provide competition to the RIAA/MPAA distribution cartel.

  • by JorDan Clock (664877) <jordanclock@gmail.com> on Monday January 23, 2012 @02:43PM (#38795033)

    Like... Professional pirates?

  • Hmmmm (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arcite (661011) on Monday January 23, 2012 @02:45PM (#38795085)
    He might want to find a non-extradition country to relocate too....
    • by stanlyb (1839382)
      Better idea: Buy an island, and establish a non-extradition country, i mean island.
      • by jgagnon (1663075)

        You still have to get your Internet connection from somewhere. Good luck with that if all you do is cause headaches for your ISP.

  • by ae1294 (1547521) on Monday January 23, 2012 @02:48PM (#38795131) Journal

    "MediaFire CEO: We Don't Depend On Piracy"

    - But it sure helps the bottom line!

    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      When asked about the Googling issue, Labian said that MediaFire is a âoeprivate serviceâ and the only reason Google indexes a MediaFire page is when it has been shared by a user on a third-party site. He said MediaFire isnâ(TM)t at fault for this and said Google should look into the issue.

      Helping the bottom line indeed.
      Robots.txt would make their service much more private

  • ... they claim they aren't doing anything wrong, but completely change their services anyways.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's what happens when poorly drafted, overly-broad, draconian laws are written.

      "We don't do X, but we didn't think our competitor, Y, did either, and they completely disappeared from existance before so much as a single hearing had taken place, so we'd better scale back anything that we think might even *possibly*, in the worst light, be construed as anything kinda sorta like X!"

  • by ohnocitizen (1951674) on Monday January 23, 2012 @02:50PM (#38795181)
    I wonder how many more companies will decide it necessary to block access to the US as ever more draconian actions are taken by our government?
    • by Tasha26 (1613349)
      Do all dot COMs fall under US jurisdiction or am I missing something here? Would Megaupload.ru have suffered the same fate?
  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Monday January 23, 2012 @02:52PM (#38795211)
    Legitimate business is kindof an oxymoron when dealing with copyright issues. There's no such thing as a "legitimate" business... only "Has many lawyers" and "has no lawyers".
    • by P-niiice (1703362)
      Or, has contributed 250000 to my campaign and taken me on a trip to hawaii vs. has not contributed 250000 to my campaign and taken me on a trip to hawaii.
    • by TheSpoom (715771)

      I just read his quote with a mafioso accent and it all sounded right.

  • I certainly hope they don't plan on taking down Mediafire as I have over 2 years of work related files uploaded there. I paid for that storage. If they are going to go after every file storage site, what alternatives do we have?
    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      If your files are completely legitimate, there's no reason why you shouldn't just get a shared hosting account.
      • by gorzek (647352)

        Shared hosting services often stipulate that you can't use them as file storage services--you have to actually be serving websites with them.

        But really, if you are paying Mediafire to host your files, what's wrong with that? I just wouldn't use them as my only copy--only a fool would trust a cloud service with their one and only copy of anything.

    • by Goaway (82658)

      Why would you put work-related files on a hoster full of full-screen popups and blinking animgif ads?

      That's gotta look pretty bad to your clients.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Obviously you have something to hide, citizen. Please place your hands in the yellow circles and await a police action.

    • by AJH16 (940784)

      Things like this make me so very glad I run my own server with some friends of mine for less than the combined cost of our personal web-hosting, file hosting and voice comm bills per month. Don't have to deal with this crap and can run my server my way. Granted, I get that it isn't an option for everyone. That all said, Megaupload was really asking for it when you look at the indictment, so I'm not too worried about them all going away, but it is frustrating to not know which ones might be following simi

      • by Goaway (82658)

        but it is frustrating to not know which ones might be following similar practices.

        I think it's pretty easy to judge what kind of business they are just by looking at their ads.

        In the case of MediaFire, blinking animgifs all over their pages, and full-screen YOU HAVE WON AN IPHONE 4 popups.

        • by AJH16 (940784)

          By that criteria, my ISP's e-mail service must be serving up kiddie porn.

  • A legitimate business targeting professionals.

    Targeting them with animated GIF ads and "YOU HAVE WON AN IPHONE 4" popups?

    Likely story, there.

  • that the sure way to draw attention on your business, is by uploading a song on youtube and to make sure it praises the services offered by your business. What a coup de grâce or fireworks finale before exiting the scene!
  • by Sez Zero (586611) on Monday January 23, 2012 @03:22PM (#38795677) Journal

    Alarms always go off when someone tells me that.

    Similarly, different kinds of alarms that go off when some one says, "I'm not a slut."

    • by AJH16 (940784)

      What if they say "I'm not a slut, I'm a legitimate business woman"?

  • It seems to me that one of the paramount services these types of companies offer is file security. If I put up a file to be shared among a group, I probably want to restrict access to that file to a specific group. Most often this is handled by requiring either a direct link or a password. If I am sharing confidential business information with a vendor or client, (say, graphics for an ad campaign that include pre-release pictures of the product), I don't want just anyone to download it. Implicit in this

  • by KingAlanI (1270538) on Monday January 23, 2012 @03:25PM (#38795735) Homepage Journal

    "I am shocked, absolutely shocked, to learn that there is copyright infringement going on with this filesharing website."

    though seriously, this seems to be the standard argument that the overall service is OK because it has legitimate uses.

  • Yep. MediaFire is my file host of choice for lots of nonproblematic stuff
    I am glad to hear from them about this.

    Less annoying to free users, which ironically made me more willing to get premium. (With MediaFire, me having premium does benefit nonpremium users downloading my stuff)

  • Mediafire surely doesn't host any pirated software [mediafire.com], movies [mediafire.com], or music. [mediafire.com]

    Oh, and these were just the first ones I came across, by googling terms like "MS Office site:mediafire.com"
    • by Jeng (926980)

      Hmm, wonder if those links will still be active tomorrow?

      If they are, I will not be surprised at all when they get prosecuted.

    • Ah, but you see it is OK for them to host those particular files as no sane person would actually want them polluting their hard drive!
    • by Zorque (894011)

      I think what their CEO is trying to say is that they aim to be legitimate, and will actually... you know, respond to DMCA requests, unlike MegaUpload who had sort of a "wink, nod" approach to pirated materials.

  • In this new brave world it doesn't matter if you are legit or not. All they have to do is point a finger at you and you are gone.

    Due process is no longer in effect.

    It was fun while it lasted. This is just the beginning.

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