A cyberlocker, also known as ‘file hosting service,’ is a third-party online service for storing and sharing files. It permits the users to upload files, which can be accessed over the internet, after providing a username and password. Cyberlocker offers cost-efficient storage space which makes it a convenient tool for work as well as personal data sharing.

However, cyberlocker often poses as a threat because it aids in sharing pirated materials and spreading copyright infringement. Also, unlike BitTorrent, it is challenging to monitor such activities on a cyberlocker. Hence, it is hard to detect such illegitimate users.

In this article, we will get to know what a cyberlocker is, what it does, how it can be used and why it is treated as controversial.

What is a cyberlocker?

Cyberlocker is an online service used for hosting user files and provides a password-protected online hard drive space for storage. It is also known as ‘cloud storage service’ or ‘online file storage provider.’

Cyberlockers can be accessed over the internet from any part of the world. They provide a very cost-efficient storage space as well as aids in retaining one’s anonymity.

The storage capacity offered by the cyberlocker varies from user to user. It provides free as well as paid services. The size ranges from a few hundred megabytes (for free services) up to 2 or more gigabytes (for paid services).

What are the uses of cyberlocker?

Cyberlockers are widely used for various purposes. Some of them are.

Storage of personal files

Like cloud storage, users can store their data like photos, music files, videos, documents, etc. in a cyberlocker. It primarily helps in storing and sharing large files over the internet.

For syncing and sharing files

File syncing operation synchronizes the folders present on each of the devices (computer or mobile) of the user and makes it appear as a single folder, irrespective of the device it is being viewed from.

Users can share their files publicly or keep them password-protected. File sharing feature helps a user to overcome the pain of sending multiple files as an email attachment.

On sharing the password with the intended receiver, it allows the latter to access the data in no time.

Content caching

Content providers of companies having a significant internet presence often face bandwidth congestion issues. They prefer using services specialized in distributing cached or static content.

Some of the popular cyberlockers in use are

Since you are now aware how much beneficial it is to have such a vast online storage space, which can also be used for syncing and sharing documents, you must be keen to know the names of some famous cyberlockers in use.

Well, I’m here to help you out.

Some of the favorite cyberlockers organizations are mentioned below.

These online file-sharing systems offer varying storage space and additional features. Each of them differs in its style of function, though they have the same primary intention of file storage and sharing.

Though these cyberlockers provide us with so many benefits, yet they have a controversial cloud hovering over them.

There was a similar site, named MegaUpload.com, shut down by the U.S government in January 2012 and from then on; the cyberlocker services are viewed with uncertainty and controversy.

Let’s find out why.

Why is cyberlocker so controversial?

The greatest opponents of cyberlocker are the copyright authorities. Cyberlocker is a convenient, cost-effective, sophisticated method of storing and sharing files online.

Anyone can store large files of movies and music (.avi and .mp3) there, and others can easily download such copyrighted materials.

The cyberlockers, unlike BitTorrent, are difficult to monitor as they employ one-to-one connectivity which is usually unnoticeable by the surveillance tools.

Thus, it helps in maintaining anonymity and hence is a haven for people to continue such criminal activities of copyright infringement.

When complained, the site operators say that it is tough for them to track the massive number of files stored online. They claim that they do not deliberately enable users to store or share illegal content.

Thus, in spite of having many legitimate users, cyberlockers have turned a platform for sharing and storing pirated materials.

Copyright holders often file lawsuits, but they do not work out well because cyberlockers have many legal users and this greatly impacts on its use, purpose and definite motive.

Therefore, most of the times, the cyberlockers escape from punishment.

For example, RapidShare has already won such a lawsuit in Germany. Also, it is hard to isolate such services when they have the support of large internet giants.

The piracy-based business model of a cyberlocker can be chalked out as follows:

  • Earn subscription from users who pay to access pirated content
  • Obtain ad revenue from users downloading pirated materials
  • Lure users to upload more pirated contents by offering them a share of the profit made by following the above two steps.

How to deal with this problem?

Responsible internet business must take actions to reduce illegal activities as much as possible. Some of the ideas it can work upon are as follows:

  • Repeated infringers must be banned from further use of their service with deletion of all the files. Or, it can make them use their service only for personal use thus limiting the sharing features.
  • Advertisements or programs enticing users to upload more pirated content must be taken down.
  • Cyberlockers must figure out ways to identify links known for sharing copyrighted material. By identifying such links, which are publicly shared on cyberlockers, they must delete them or make them private to avert copyright infringement.
  • Private files stored online should be treated as files stored personally on one’s computer to avoid illegal sharing of data.

One can also think of using the Amazon’s cloud storage. but, here, the uploader of a pirated file will have to pay for every user who downloaded it unlawfully.

Conclusion

Cyberlockers are online hard-drives to store and share different kinds of files. They offer both free and paid services. The storage size depends on the type of plan you choose, which ranges from a few hundred megabytes to 2 or more gigabytes.

It is an excellent service for syncing and sharing files. It helps one to get rid of sending multiple email attachments and offers easy sharing between different users, either by sharing the password or providing the links.

Though there are legitimate cyberlocker users, many people use it as a tool for piracy and illegal sharing of copyrighted materials. This tarnishes the image of the cyberlocker and controversy arises over its authenticity.

People illegally start making money by pirating contents through cyberlockers and puts different organizations in a problem by compromising their copyrighted materials.

Cyberlockers must work on how to reduce such illegal activities and design a plan to distinguish between legitimate and unlawful users. Appropriate measures must be adopted to maintain its integrity and so remove all doubts and controversies from people’s minds.