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Essay of the Day: Sharing in Compulsive Times

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
6th May 2012

By Franco Iacomella on STIR:

Recently, two of the most important and used storage and sharing files services in the web — FileServe and Wupload — changed their conditions of use making impossible to share information between regular users. Now both services only offer cloud storage for people to access files they personally uploaded. Millions of files stored in those services are now inaccessible and the links pointing to them are now dead. The reason for this drastic change is the legal pressure and persecution started by the traditional entertainment industry: big players like Paramount Pictures, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Universal and others built-up around the copyright property regimes.

The reaction of these large corporations against companies providing storage and file sharing services is a recent issue. Some months ago in an act of enormous symbolic violence, Megaupload’s website, the storage site storing the largest amount of files in the whole world, was blocked and blanked by the FBI and the Department of Justice of the United States of America. The owners of Megaupload were captured and arrested in New Zealand under charges of “massive piracy” and “conspiracy”. The day after the take down of Megaupload, 25 petabytes of information disappeared from the net and not even the customers (who paid a subscription) were able to access or retrieve the information stored in the Megaupload servers. Millions of daily users woke up on 19 January 2012 and realized that the imperial power of the United States, which until then had applied its military violence to raze villages and towns in the physical world, was now able to apply its power in the virtual geographies of the Internet.

Read the full essay “Sharing in Compulsive Times”.


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