Sharing is daring: File-sharing service Sharebeast shut down by US Department of Justice
The front pages of the websites that once housed vast, illegal music libraries now show nothing but the imposing FBI Anti-Piracy takedown image.
The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) chalked up this shutdown as a major victory for the industry that it represents.
“This is a huge win for the music community and legitimate music services,” RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman said. “Sharebeast operated with flagrant disregard for the rights of artists and labels while undermining the legal marketplace.”
“Millions of users accessed songs from Sharebeast each month without one penny of compensation going to countless artists, songwriters, labels and others who created the music,” he continued. “We are grateful to the FBI and the Department of Justice for its strong stand against Sharebeast and for recognizing that these types of illicit sites wreak major damage on the music community and hinder fans’ legitimate listening options.”
The RIAA alone reported more than 100,000 files for takedown and said that Sharebeast distributed "a massive library of popular albums and tracks" before they were even released through legitimate means.
To users of the site, however, the demise of Sharebeast called for a funeral rather than a celebration.
While no official user data was released, the FBI estimated that Sharebeast was the largest file-sharing website that was based in the United States. The site’s largely inactive Facebook page has 226,500 ‘likes.'
The last major seizure of a file-sharing website occurred on January 19, 2012, with the takedown of Megaupload.com, which the DoJ said was costing copyright holders $500 million. The founder of the site, Kim Dotcom, relaunched the website as cloud storage service Mega.co.nz in January 2013, on the anniversary of the original site’s takedown. He currently resides in New Zealand and is undergoing proceedings to be extradited to the United States.