Megaupload has been offline since it was raided in 2012 and the original file-hosting platform is not coming back. That doesn’t prevent anti-piracy outfit Link-Buster from sending takedown notices to Google, targeting URLs of the long-defunct site. Other sites which are long gone, including Hotfile and FileServe, are on their list too.
More than seven years have passed since the file-storage empire of Kim Dotcom collapsed, with Megaupload being the prime target.
Since then, the New-Zealand based entrepreneur and several of his colleagues are still waiting to hear whether they will be extradited to the US.
During this time, US authorities initially held the iconic Megaupload.com domain name in their possession. However, the domain ended up in the hands of domain broker RegistrarAds last year, marking the end of an era.
By now, even the most die-hard Megaupload fans have moved on. While their files may still be stored in a backup somewhere in the US, to serve as evidence for a possible criminal trial, they took their losses and flocked to other sites and services.
This is totally understandable. It’s been more than seven years after all. However, not everyone is willing to let Megaupload.com go that easily. Ironically, some copyright holders still see it as a threat, an evil ghost of the past perhaps.
A quick glance through Google’s transparency report shows that “copyright infringing” Megaupload.com URLs are still being reported on behalf of several rightsholders. This, despite the fact that they are no longer listed in search results.
In February, more than 100 URLs of the defunct file-hosting service were targeted by the anti-piracy outfit Link-Busters. The company kindly requested Google to remove these links, which no longer exist.
These puzzling notices were all sent around the same time on behalf of a variety of copyright holders including game publisher Feral Interactive, book publisher Penguin Random House, and software developer AudioRealism.
What’s interesting is that Megaupload is not the only defunct file-hosting site that’s being targeted. The same notices also list thousands of links to Hotfile, FileServe, and FileSonic, which all folded years ago.
Hotfile, for example, shut down in 2014 following an $80 million settlement with the MPAA, which later turned out to be $4 million. FileSonic went offline a few months after the Megaupload raid and FileServe is no longer around either.
Clearly, none of these defunct sites are a threat.
While the latest Megaupload.com URL was reported to Google roughly a month ago, Link-Busters’ notices continue to target Hotfile links as recent as this week.
It’s unclear where the anti-piracy company found these URLs as they are no longer live or indexed by Google. Perhaps some old database was accidentally revived, or perhaps it’s a matter of nostalgia. In any case, it’s pretty pointless.