The VICE Channels

    To Avoid Copyright Concerns, Mega May Be Blocking Indexing Sites

    Written by

    Derek Mead


    Kim Dotcom's new Mega cloud-based file storage system is already off to a roaring success. The service hit one million users in just one day, largely on the basis of the site's encryption system. That system is an attempt to wash Mega's hands of any copyright infringement, as the company itself has no way of knowing what the locally-encrypted files its hosting actually are.

    In essence, Dotcom is arguing that he can't be held responsible for what Mega's users share because Mega has no possible way of knowing whether or not it's illegal. Mega's already received more than a hundred copyright notices, but that's a relatively small number considering Mega users are already sharing more than 50 million files in their 50 GB free accounts.

    But there's one problem with that plan: What happens when sites begin indexing Mega download links, just as sites do with torrents? The whole point of Mega is that, while it's a file-sharing platform, only the people who a sharer hands their encryption key to can download the files. In the grand scheme of sharing, Mega is designed to be more like sharing a CD amongst friends rather than putting your 98 Degrees album to be indexed on Kazaa. That appears to be Dotcom's intention, but it should still come as no surprise that indexing sites have already popped up.

    One such site that's getting a lot of attention right now is mega-search.me, a French site that apparently has been blocked from indexing Mega links. From a pop-up when you enter the site (Google Translated from French):

    Due to a script developed by Mega to delete all files indexed Mega-search, the engine is temporarily unavailable. A solution to overcome this problem will be made shortly.

    It's not conclusive evidence that Mega is blocking indexing sites, but MegaSearch did allege as much on Twitter. If Mega is doing so, it's a smart move. Mega's encryption system is top-shelf, to the point that Dotcom has offered more than 10 grand to anyone who can crack it, but its inherent flaw from Mega's standpoint is people making those links public. After all, it's hard to allege that the site doesn't know what its users are sharing if the web is full of links to copyrighted content on the site.