Tech Still One Step Ahead: New Service Downloads Torrents Directly To Dropbox

from the it's-unstoppable dept

Update: Well, that didn’t take long. Dropbox has already blocked Boxopus.

Every time some sort of file sharing service is shut down or someone else is arrested, we hear the regular crew of supporters of the existing copyright regime declare victory. But, every time, people just shift to some other service and move on. None of it leads people to suddenly spend money again when they hadn’t before. TorrentFreak recently had an article about a service calls Boxopus, which uses Dropbox’s API to automatically download content from torrents to a Dropbox file. Think of it as torrenting in the cloud. From a user perspective, there are plenty of advantages, including the fact that the content is then available on all your synced devices. Of course, there’s also the fact that for an end user, it’s somewhat anonymous — since Boxopus is the “downloader” rather than the user themselves. So if the content is infringing, it’s more difficult to track them down (though, I would imagine not impossible, if someone got access to Boxopus’ logs). Apparently, a number of services have already implemented this as a download option. Of course, this probably just means that Boxopus will soon be targeted as a “problem” even though it has plenty of non-infringing uses, and actually could be quite handy for all kinds of authorized activities in a more cloud-centric universe.

Either way, what strikes me about this is a simple fact: the technology always advances. It sees areas where people try to stop it, and figures out a way to route around it. Whether or not people like this, it exists, and tons of other, similar offerings will likely exist in short order. You can fight the tide — as some seem to want to do — or you can look at ways that you might take advantage of tools like this. Only one of those is a winning strategy.

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Companies: dropbox

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Comments on “Tech Still One Step Ahead: New Service Downloads Torrents Directly To Dropbox”

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PaulT (profile) says:

“Of course, this probably just means that Boxopus will soon be targeted as a “problem” even though it has plenty of non-infringing uses”

Actually, I’m more concerned about this:

“uses Dropbox’s API”

I wouldn’t be surprised to see them try to shut down Dropbox and other similar services for having an API that doesn’t magically filter out infringing files. This would seem to be the kind of thing that will send their lawyers into a panic, and we know by now that logic and legitimate uses for a product go to the wayside when a record industry lawyer smells some billable hours.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I would’ve said the same thing could be said about Megaupload.

I think Megaupload is towards the top end of the things they could succeed in taking down. The lifestyle and reputation of Kim Dotcom certainly made it easier for them.

Far more people rely on Dropbox than relied on Megaupload (basically because Megaupload never promised to keep your files backed up securely for any length of time).

The other point is the type of people that rely on Dropbox. We’re talking about lots of “silent majority” types who have never really entered into the copyright debate up till now. We’re talking local history circles, church choirs and the local organisers of political parties here – it’s a whole different demographic.

Anonymous Coward says:

Dropbox has already faced question

I recall when Mega “conspiracy” and other file sharing services were called into question, Dropbox was on the list with Rapidshare, i.e. existing in a grey zone for now. Rapidshare actively filters files and they are required to search the web for links to content. Dropbox seems to be a little murkier but there’s no doubt they will be called into question, probably requiring some sort of system to block copyrighted material. Ideally, Hollywood doesn’t want you to sync files between your pc and phone because they’d like us to buy copies for both. That idea proves Hollywood is not on the same planet as everyone else.

Ninja (profile) says:


I’ve been following the Tribler project (a taxpayer funded bittorrent client) and things seem quite promising. They pioneered many of the features most clients use nowadays such as efficient decentralization and bittorrent cloud search. And they have anonymizing features under development. While the client itself needs some serious code cleaning (last time I checked its size was of several Mb) the contributions its providing to the community are just plain awesome.

And I’m talking about torrents only, TF has an awesome article on a service to download from Usenet via HTTP:

It’s a lost battle for the MAFIAA.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

They choke off new innovation?
They scream like old men for people to get off their lawn, when no one has actually stepped on their lawn?

*switching to the dealing with a small child voice*
See there are files available via bittorrent that are perfectly legal.
The big mean cartels like to pretend those don’t exist.
They threaten to take away all of the money from everyone else, because they think they are more important than anyone else.
They are bullies.

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