In what’s becoming the dark-age for cyberlockers, Ukraine-based Ex.ua just went dark after country authorities raided the site and seized equipment. According to an article on TorrentFreak, since being founded in 2009 it has been one of the most visited sites in the Ukraine and used to house 200 servers and over 6,000 terabytes of data.
Because the site was widely used to share copyrighted files, several international companies including Microsoft, Graphisoft and Adobe filed complaints against the service. After a six month criminal investigation, this resulted in the shutdown of Ex.ua today…
In addition, sixteen employees were taken in for questioning. At the time of writing it is unclear how many arrests have been made, if any. The authorities did confirm that the site was run by a Latvian citizen.
While Ex.ua bore many similarities the recently felled Megaupload except in a few major axis: the site also permitted users to search shares for particular types of files. Ex.ua permitted visitors to search their stores for files that were “MP3” or “video,” a capability which is quite uncommon for most cyberlockers. In 2010, the RIAA branded Ex.ua a “pirate haven,” and complained about its activities to the Office of the US Trade Representative.
With a multitude of file-sharing websites getting gunned down by authorities at the behest of trade federations like the RIAA and the MPAA it’s a dangerous day to be a file-sharing site in the cloud. Organizations that represent copyright holders in film, music, and software have been quick to make certain that they paint their target as rogue before they sic enforcers on them.
In the case of Megaupload, the sites administrators not only plead that they’ve been following provisions of the DMCA but the case FBI has made against them appears somewhat flimsy.
If convicted of the charges levied against them, operators of Ex.ua could face up to five years in prison.
[Photo credit: same TorrentFreak article about shutdown of Ex.ua]