File sharing website MegaUpload has recently been shut down because they were hosting copyrighted files and therefore participating in copyright infringement. This has caused other file sharing websites to shut down over similar fears.

I can definitely see the possibility of copyrighted files being shared on Ubuntu One. Does Ubuntu One have to fear the possibility of being shutdown at some time in the future?

MegaUpload Shut Down by the Feds, Founder Arrested http://torrentfreak.com/megaupload-shut-down-120119/

Cyberlocker Ecosystem Shocked As Big Players Take Drastic Action http://torrentfreak.com/cyberlocker-ecosystem-shocked-as-big-players-take-drastic-action-120123/


From the "Acceptable use and conduct" section of the Ubuntu One Terms of Service:

All usage of the services must be legal and not infringe any third party's rights. You must not take any action or use the services in any way that might bring Canonical into disrepute, affect the ability of Canonical to provide the services, be illegal, or encourage illegal activities. You may not use the services in any manner that might be libellous or defamatory (more info on what that means), that contains threats or incites violence towards individuals or entities, or that violates the privacy or publicity rights of any third party. Some services have usage limitations as indicated at https://one.ubuntu.com/plans, and you may not exceed these. As part of the services, you may store data on Canonical's servers or those of Canonical's suppliers. You should ensure that this data is not in breach of any applicable law and does not breach any individual's data protection or privacy rights. You shall indemnify Canonical in full for any loss, cost or damages suffered by it as a result of your use or misuse of the services.

I'm not a lawyer, but I think that makes it pretty clear that Canonical does not allow for Ubuntu One to be potentially used for piracy on a large scale.

At any rate, I don't think Ubuntu One is in any danger as file-sharing is not its primary purpose: synchronization between your own personal machines is. I'm not a user of file-sharing sites like Megaupload, but in their case (from what I understand) their site was primarily meant for sharing vast quantities of files between anonymous users. If Canonical's primary plan for Ubuntu One was to facilitate piracy, then they would be more likely to become a target.

  • 1
    Also, something worth adding is that in the court order, Megauploads employees are quoted rewarding, approving of and even going out of their way to help piracy.
    – jrg
    Jan 24 '12 at 12:01
  • Surely MegaUpload had a similar clause stating that all uploaded material must be legal? Also, they claim (though I don't know of any concrete proof) that the majority of files uploaded were legal. Jan 24 '12 at 12:50

I asked Ubuntu One about the MegaUpload situation and the Ubuntu One cyberlocker. Is it possible, etc. Their response is attached below. I don't know how many people use Ubuntu One for file sharing via the sharing capabilities. I know I share our family photo's and home videos with my family and share the URL with them for easy distribution.

I agree that Ubuntu One does not market itself as a file sharing service. It has a legal music store, etc. I don't believe it would be targeted. Regarding Deja Dup, I use it. Of course it gets backed up to my removable drive as well as my Ubuntu One Cloud.

I feel secure in the way Ubuntu One is marketed that they would not be a target of any government action. Also, Ubuntu One states that will take down after notification copyrighted material. This is part of Megaupload's issue. They did not remove files, just links.

- - Their response:

"Ubuntu One is not necessarily a file sharing service. We sync your files between your devices. If you wish to share a photo, you own, with a friend their is nothing wrong with that. I imagine this is similar to sending email with attachments, We have strict policy about sharing copyrighted material. It is not allowed and will be taken down as soon as we are notified of such an incidence.

I would definitely backup all data on your computer, and data on Ubuntu One, Ubuntu One is a file sync service not a backup disaster recovery service. changes made locally are synced to all devices and cloud storage. This can be unexpected for someone expecting a static backup of that file they just deleted. We are working on versioning and un-delete and hope to have it available this year.

One good back up solution is Deja Dup in 11.10 it allows yo to upload to your Ubuntu One cloud space and create statin backups."


There is absolutely no chance that Ubuntu One will be shutdown by "the feds", if you are referring to government agencies in USA. Ubuntu One is not located in the USA, but in the United Kingdom. However, Europeans are also under pressure, and there are initiatives like ACTA that might make things difficult in the future. I would consider it unlikely that Ubuntu One would be shut down. However, if you use your U1 account in an inappropriate manner, you should expect your account to be shut down by Canonical.

  • 1
    Actually, the fact that they're not based in the USA doesn't seem like good protection in itself from shutdown by our government. If we look at the Megaupload case, Wikipedia states it is based in Hong Kong, and a Slashdot comment pointed out that many Megaupload employees who otherwise had nothing to do with the USA were still placed under arrest or indicted for breaking our laws. Jan 24 '12 at 9:26
  • @WarriorIng64 Many were indicted for breaking laws in their localities, not in the US.
    – Marco Ceppi
    Jan 24 '12 at 13:32
  • As far as I can tell, megaupload.com was hosted by Amazon in USA. That's what counts. Jan 24 '12 at 22:33
  • They had 630 servers hosted in The Netherlands with Leaseweb. No idea if they hosted it elsewhere too though :)
    – Rinzwind
    Jan 26 '12 at 9:42

I read where the US claims Dot Com and Dot Net web addresses give it jurisdiction because the registry is physically located in Virginia.

So regardless where in the world it is hosted or the files are located, if it is a dot com or dot net address, it's US jurisdiction. Verisign administers those Top level domains.

  • Yes, that's probably true. They can at least shut down the domain name. I don't know if they've done anything else. For servers in the USA, they can probably shut down the site itself. Jan 26 '12 at 10:29

If Hollywood or the FBI decide to shut down Ubuntu One, it does not really matter what Ubuntu One, Mark, the SLA or the Pope say. Everybody is at risk today.

  • 1
    Unfortunately true answer.
    – jrg
    Feb 3 '12 at 12:23

The basis of the indictment was that Megaupload's business model inherently promoted or at the very least condoned illegal activity.

Primarily, Megaupload and the Megavideo service were used to share zipped music albums, TV series and movies.

According to this Wikipedia article:

  • "In practice, the "vast majority" of users do not have any significant long term private storage capability."

    The difference here is obvious.

  • "Because only a small portion of users pay for storage, the business is dependent upon advertising."

    If you are familiar at all with television streaming websites you understand this part of the model well. These sites are often loaded with pay per impression ads and pop ups, and sometimes warez as well. I have yet to see any ads on Ubuntu One.

  • "Infringing users did not have their accounts terminated, and the defendants "made no significant effort to identify users who were using the Mega Sites or services to infringe copyrights, to prevent the uploading of infringing copies of copyrighted materials, or to identify infringing copies of copyrighted works"."

    Again, this is not the stated mission of Ubuntu One.

  • "An incentive program was adopted encouraging the upload of "popular" files in return for payments to successful uploaders."

    This is an obvious move to foster black hat activity.

So I'd wager Ubuntu One is pretty safe in its current iteration.

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