Dubious uses of anonymous file hosting January 8, 2011 cliffski I saw that a well known ‘anonymous’ file sharing site won on appeal their right to continue ‘unknowingly’ hosting copyrighted movies, music, games etc, this week. A great victory against ‘the evil megacorps’ that already have too much money blah blah. Except of course, that the site in question is a huge company, one of the biggest online users of bandwidth, and likely all of it’s ‘sticking it to the man’ directors are millionaires. Undermining the system from within? I have no problem with people using online dropboxes. Quite a few contractors in my industry use them to transfer finished art assets to customers, for example. And every time someone, fairly reasonably points out that 99.99999% of rapidshare/megaupload etc’s content is copyrighted, they always wave their arms at the odd graphic designer who uses their site for legit reasons. I think the solution is simple. Continue for it to be legal to host file drop-boxes, with the normal DMCA takedown procedure, but make it non anonymous. Ensure you need to buy a one-off account, for maybe just $1, with a proper bank account. A traceable one, basically. One that, if *horror of horrors* someone uploaded a copyrighetd movie/game, they could easily be traced by their bank details, and prosecuted for damages. I’m sure people will say ‘what about whistleblowers’, and yay, what a great point. By all means, allow anonymous uploads. Cap it at 10MB a day. 1 MB is a comrpessed copy of War & peace. Exactly how many classified documents do you need to upload in a day? You can still leak those emails to the press, you just can’t upload Spiderman3_HD1280_RiPpEdByMe_3434.rar. There is absolutely no justification to allow unlimited uploads to a server you run in the multi-gigabyte range from someone anonymous. Especially in the form of password-protected rar files. Try going along to one of those self-storage places and saying “I want to store 4 lorryloads of stuff in your warehouse, and I want the only key. By the way, yes I look a lot like the guy who stored stuff here every day for the last 2 weeks, and every single time it turned out to be stolen goods, but clearly it won’t be this time, honest guv!” At some point, hopefully, the era of ‘anonymous file hosting’ will be put to rest by lawyers. I doubt it though. Lawyers are good at earning themselves money, not seeing the right thing done. I won’t shed a tear if one of those companies gets a huge business-destroying fine though.