Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Boxopus blocked by Dropbox over piracy possibilities

Boxopus, which we wrote about over the weekend, has been disconnected from Dropbox's APIs. Boxopus allowed users to download torrents using its servers, depositing them directly into their Dropbox accounts.

As we alluded to earlier, it was obvious that this service could run afoul of Dropbox's terms of service, and it apparently has. After multiple sites picked up on the story, the user count at Boxopus rose above 50,000.

It didn't go unnoticed by Dropbox, though. Although any illegal downloads using the Boxopus service would have to first be committed, and then proven, and although in-and-of-itself Boxopus is a neutral provider, mention BitTorrent to anyone and 9 out of 10 times they will think piracy.

Boxopus received the following email from one of Dropbox’s engineers on Tuesday:

“It’s come to our attention that latest Boxopus features could be perceived as encouraging users to violate copyright using Dropbox.

“Violating copyright is against our terms of service, so we are terminating your app’s API access. Once your access is revoked, any API calls your app makes will fail.”

Since Dropbox explicitly approved an alpha version of Boxopus a few weeks ago, the move came as a shock, and an expensive one, as well.

Boxopus founder Alex told TorrentFreak, “Once the alpha version was approved we were pretty sure that Dropbox was okay with it, so we put our efforts into optimizing the service. It took us 3 months to finish the product with a team of 5 people, which was a $30,000 USD investment."

Boxopus recognizes that that people use BitTorrent to share copyrighted files, but that was not what the service was designed for, Alex said.

“Many people see BitTorrent as a synonym of piracy, however, a lot of interesting legal stuff can be found in BitTorrent networks and this is what Boxopus is made for.”

While all that's true, it would seem obvious that much, if not most, of the downloads done via BitTorrent are illegal. With that, Dropbox has unceremoniously dumped Boxopus, and the company is now in search of a different cloud storage "partner" and, given that, a different name.

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