At last week’s Music & Copyright conference in London, Mega CEO Vikram Kumar claimed that Kim Dotcom’s new cloud-storage service isn’t being used for wide-scale piracy. But how about his old one?

Research from Boston’s Northeastern University has been trying to understand how much infringement was taking place on MegaUpload, along with five of its peers (FileFactory, Easy-share, Filesonic, Wupload and Undeadlink) by examining metadata from files stored on them.

The result is a report: ‘Holiday Pictures or Blockbuster Movies? Insights into Copyright Infringement in User Uploads to One-Click File Hosters’, which was first reported by TorrentFreak.

The topline finding: “We assess the status of these files with regard to copyright infringement and show that at least 26% to 79% of them are potentially infringing. Perhaps surprising after the shutdown by the FBI for alleged copyright infringement, we found Megaupload to have the second highest proportion of legitimate files in our study.”

In other words, the findings “empirically support the folk wisdom that OCHs are frequently being misused for illegal file sharing”. The MegaUpload finding is more nuanced too: only 4.3% of files analysed from it were certified as legitimate, versus 31% that were potentially infringing, and 64.7% that couldn’t be classified.

The headlines are being made by the report’s claim that around 10.75m legitimate files were lost by users when MegaUpload was shut down, but that compares to 77.5m potentially infringing files, and 161.75m where it’s anyone’s guess.

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