It appears that we’re living in a post-Megaupload era. Shortly after the site was taken down by authorities and the ensuing drama of Kim “Dotcom” Schmitz played out before our eyes, torrent site BTJunkie has decided to shut its doors.
While BTJunkie wasn’t forced into shuttering its service, the site voluntarily decided to quit. “This is the end of the line my friends,” the site now reads. “The decision does not come easy, but we’ve decided to voluntarily shut down. We’ve been fighting for years for your right to communicate, but it’s time to move on. It’s been an experience of a lifetime, we wish you all the best!”
BTJunkie began in 2005 and quickly became one of the most popular file-sharing services. Of course, this put it at risk to be held responsible for copyright infringement, something with whih other P2P sites have found themselves grappling. Just last year, LimeWire was shut down and forced to pay $105 million in copyright infringement damages.
And BTJunkie isn’t the only one shutting down to avoid litigation entirely: Uploaded.to (now unavailable in the U.S.), Filesonic, and FileServe are just a few of the sites that have suspended their services in light of the Megaupload’s defeat. The entire P2P sharing market seems to be cowering at the heavy-handedness of the FBI. After existing relatively unscathed by the legal system, authorities have toppled a giant of the industry to warn them about what happens to file-sharing services that don’t obey copyright laws.
Which once again begs the question — why do we need the types of anti-piracy regulations that SOPA and PIPA would introduce? There’s been a mass exodus of file-sharing sites, while others that remain available will only offer their single user file uploading and downloading applications. Piracy will never entirely flee the face of the Internet, but recent dramatics have made a noticeable dent – all without the fringe consequences of outright censorship that SOPA and PIPA bring to the table.