by Mike Masnick
Mon, Apr 23rd 2012 10:10am
Popular cloud service provider Dropbox has announced the ability to share stuff in your Dropbox with a link. This is not a revolutionary offering. It's actually pretty common and can be quite useful for simple sharing of files. But, as Mathew Ingram noted, this is exactly part of the reason that Megaupload was accused of criminal conspiracy. For example, the fact that Megaupload did not provide a "search" feature to find all the content in its cloud, but merely let people link in, was seen as a way to "hide" the fact that infringing material was available. I am assuming -- given the way Dropbox operates -- that it, too, is not intending to provide a search engine. It's good to see Dropbox confident enough that it won't be shut down on questionable criminal charges -- but it certainly continues to raise questions about what the government considers evidence of criminal conspiracy... and how that could create a chill on companies who are, perhaps, less well established than Dropbox. Update: As some have pointed out in the comments, the specific feature is more about viewing content via the link, not downloading. Sorry, we should have been clearer. However, again, this fits with the Megavideo style offering of providing access to content without necessarily downloading it. Still appears to be exactly the part that so concerned the Justice Dept...
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