Megaupload Goes Down: Five Lost Music-Stealing Technologies

Categories: Fiesta!

napster.gif
It's true: Megaupload has been gone an entire week, and for the millions of people who used the site because they like their totally legal for-pay cloud storage to come equipped with fake download links and massive flash banner ads I'm sure things have been difficult.

For copyright holders, massive intellectual property conglomerates, and people who couldn't bear to see this man happy and successful, it was a victory, but nobody involved seems particularly eager to gloat. After all, in the ten years and change since people discovered they could get out of going to a public place and buying the Hanson album they secretly desired, the same high-profile shutdown routine has befallen these earlier facilitators of piracy.

1. Napster--1999-2001 One thing I plan to tell my grandchildren, as I'm taking them to school in a flying car I probably shouldn't be licensed to drive anymore: There was a time when I found it impossible to imagine a song as an individual file that could be in more than one place at once.

Napster rapidly disabused me of that notion. I can listen to "Buddy Holly" and "Underground" back to back without waiting for a Time-Life collection of Rockin 90s Hits to come out in that exact configuration? I can just have the good Wings songs? And they're all sitting in a big window that I can organize?

Napster was popular primarily because the music was free and its user base--teenaged Slashdot readers--was really cheap, but when I think about how music was consumed before I'm reminded that part of the reason file-sharing gained so much traction so quickly was that it was so much better.

2. KaZaA--2001-2005 Later on, KaZaA gained so much traction so quickly exclusively because we were all really cheap. I don't think there's ever been a less pleasant program to use--most people learned what malware was when KaZaA installed an entire suite of it on their parents' computer.

Eventually, given enough time and a computer sufficiently removed from the eyesight of people you respect and the auspices of the FBI, you could find the good Wings songs amid a swamp of viruses, corrupt files, and animal-centric pornography all named "Goodnight_Tonight.MP3.EXE," but if Napster was fast, efficient, and utopian in its vision of music collecting, KaZaA required people in the middle class to do a cost-benefit analysis between ruining their Windows XP installation and going to Sam Goody and buying Wingspan themselves. If music had been as easy to steal in 2005 as it was in 2001, the iTunes Music Store wouldn't have gotten nearly as much traction as it did.

3. ourTunes--whenever you were a college freshman Anyone in a dormitory before Apple broke this utility--which allowed you to download any songs shared in iTunes on the local network--probably used it in the first few weeks they were there, trying rapidly to figure out what music was still unpopular enough to enjoy. When I arrived at Mizzou in 2006 I had a lot of conversations that went, in their entirety, like this, and ended with a frantic ourTunes run:

Cool Guy: Hey, I heard Sufjan has a new album coming out. It's probably going to be okay, but I preferred Michigan.

Me: Yeah, Sue Fionn, she's great. How do you spell that?



Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
17 comments
Charlierunkel
Charlierunkel

Dear Hollywood, The Internet frightens you. But history has taught us that the greatest innovations were built on rejections. The VCR frightened you, but it ended up making billions of dollars in video sales. You get so comfortable with your ways of doing business that any change is perceived as a threat. The problem is, we as a society don’t have a choice: The law of human nature is to communicate more efficiently. And the economic benefits of high-speed Internet and unlimited cloud storage are so great that we need to plan for the day when the transfer of terabytes of data will be measured in seconds. Businesses and individuals will keep looking for faster connectivity, more robust online storage and more privacy. Transferring large pieces of content over the Internet will become common — not because global citizens are evil but because economic forces leading to “speed of light” data transfer and storage are so beneficial to societal growth. Come on, guys, I am a computer nerd. I love Hollywood and movies. My whole life is like a movie. Continued after the jump. I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for the mind-altering glimpse at the future in Star Wars. I am at the forefront of creating the cool stuff that will allow creative works to thrive in an Internet age. I have the solutions to your problems. I am not your enemy.Providing “freemium” cloud storage to society is not a crime. What will Hollywood do when smartphones and tablets can wirelessly transfer a movie file within milliseconds? The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of changing their views to fit the facts, they try to change the facts to fit their views. The fact remains that the benefits of Megaupload to society outweigh the burdens. But instead of adapting, you imported one of your action-conspiracy movie scripts into the real world. In my view, MPAA CEO and former Sen. Chris Dodd lobbied his friends in the White House to turn me into a villain who has to be destroyed. Due process? Rule of law? Eliminate me and my innovation and worry about the consequences later. Never mind that millions of Megaupload users lost access to cloud data like their wedding photos. Well done, Hollywood, everyone with similar innovations got the message. But wait … You did not read the end of the script. The people of the Internet will unite. They will help me. And they are stronger than you. We will prevail in the war for Internet freedom and innovation that you have launched. We have logic, human nature and the invisible hand on our side. As you should have known, our Mega services operated within the boundaries of the law. We had users that spanned from the military to Hollywood to lawyers and doctors. If you are unhappy with that, it is up to you to convince Congress to amend legislation. You tried with SOPA and you failed. As an alternative, you chose to lobby the Justice Department to ignore the law and stage a global show of force and destruction. The only parties a New Zealand court has found to have violated the law in this case are the local police and the FB

ElenSorpio
ElenSorpio

I am a long time enjoyed Megaupload. And I was very disappointed by this news. Although because of this I have found a way to quickly locate files on file hosting. This is http://www.usemeplz.com. I like his work. It's quick and easy.

dude
dude

RIP Scour! Searching for pron and tunes has never been the same. On the other hand, Hotline can stay lost forever.

ZingWooo
ZingWooo

How about a big middle finger salute to the feds! Boo yah!privacy-toolz dot com

Civil Ape
Civil Ape

RFT i love you guys...but heyWhat about the tons of legal-legitimate content stored on MegaUpload and similiar sites....that greatly outweigh illegal uploads. You dont shut down an entire Mall because one cart vendor was caught selling knock-off handbags. Nor do you begin calling that mall "The Black Market"....to pigeon hole all these technologies as "music stealing" technologies is near sighted and misleading. FBI+Viacom made the same exact allegations against YouTube...remember. Even the disingenuous "racketeering" charge used to sway public perceptions. 

Can i make a new title suggestion Megaupload Goes down: Five lost Cloud Computing Technologies. 

Oh
Oh

ourTunes was awesome. Direct Connect was popular, too, at my university before it got shut down. The speeds! The SPEEEEDS! SO.... MUCH..... FIBER!!!

Endless Dan Moore
Endless Dan Moore

What if the mall's creaky cloud-computing store, swaddled in porn ads, was an obvious front for its profit center in knock-off handbag sales—so obvious, in fact, that the owners of said mall were e-mailing each other about where to find particularly great handbags?

Kiernan Maletsky
Kiernan Maletsky

I hear you, and I know the issue is an overall attitude and not necessarily Megaupload in particular, but don't you think there are better, cleaner options for sharing files that make it harder for people to break copyrights? 

Jason Rosenbaum
Jason Rosenbaum

Yeah, the iTunes service certainly was something. It is not out of the realm of possibility that I could have discovered some of my favorite bands with that service. Or maybe not...

Civil Ape
Civil Ape

Then they should have their day in court. What about due process?!  What if the original makers of those handbags had been swindling the public for decades selling $1 bags for $500...would you view the mall differently? There's a larger conversation on digital content and how its consumed.  If there was no middle man(conglomerate record companies) between artist and consumer taking such a huge chunk of the pie maybe the record business would be able to handle the shift in ways(cough...spotify) consumers share their product. How would feel if mega upload was trying to implement such a system?

Civil Ape
Civil Ape

Yeah. You are right, we need middle ground.I just don't like the language that's being used by some to describe the technology behind these sites. We are at the start of a national/global conversation on the subject.I believe it can be used to distract from the benefits of such sites/tech + confuse the less tech savvy.This may be an overstatement to some, but I believe easy-reliable ways for everyone to share large volumes of files is terribly important to the vitality of the web. We need to give these sites room and time to grow, especially the ones making an attempt to police illegal content. Judgement is coming down too fast and before full debate.

Civil Ape
Civil Ape

we don’t need to ask why students are sharing — their lives are posted online; it’s how they keep in touch with friends. The fact is few are uploading scores of torrent files to P2P sites — they’re afraid to because they know it’s against the law. What they are doing is sharing an album or playlist with a friend, the same as they would in person, except now they’re doing so via sites like Dropbox. Rather than railing against such sharing, music companies could be taking advantage of it. As with mix tapes in the past, a shared playlist incites further investigation in to the artists it includes. Connecting that to social media can be a powerful tool — suddenly a fan can share a few songs with a friend, who can check out the profiles of the bands they like, become fans of that band themselves, and further share the music with other friends, building a base of passionate fans. And passionate fans support the artists they love. With moneyand  sharing.......excerpt from ypulse(dot)com articled "internet piracy.." 1-24-12

Civil Ape
Civil Ape

we don’t need to ask why students are sharing — their lives are posted online; it’s how they keep in touch with friends. The fact is few are uploading scores of torrent files to P2P sites — they’re afraid to because they know it’s against the law. What they are doing is sharing an album or playlist with a friend, the same as they would in person, except now they’re doing so via sites like Dropbox. Rather than railing against such sharing, music companies could be taking advantage of it...........http://www.ypulse.com/internet...http://blogs.riverfronttimes.c... 

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Clubs

Loading...