Deus ex Machina
It is hard to tell what is going on behind the scenes, and if these file-hosting sites are pulling the shutters out of fear or as a result of direct threats of prosecution by the authorities. But there is a telling pattern as all the folded file-sharing websites were located in countries easily accessible by western (US) authorities. Strangely enough, too many active cyberlockers are hosted in the Netherlands. Are the file-sharing laws there as liberal as the cannabis freely available in that country? :)
|letitbit.net||not serving USA|
|vip-file.com||not serving USA|
|turbobit.net||not serving USA|
|shareflare.net||not serving USA|
Out of the top 15 file-hosting websites of 2011 (see our older investigation) only six are still in business as usual — see the table above. On top of those like filesonic and fileserve that have stopped file-sharing, there are a few that only operate outside USA, like letitbit.net and its affiliate sites. If accessed from e.g. Greece they allow files to be downloaded, but the same URL accessed from a USA IP address will return 'file not found' or the message 'Our service is currently unavailable in your country'.
Is it high noon for cyberlockers? I wouldn't imagine so. There are literally hundreds of websites serving the file sharing and downloads industry, and if the kingpins have fallen, there are more than enough in reserve to take their traffic. I have observed an increase of downloads hosted on rapidshare and uploaded.to as well as other smaller sites. The survivors are rebranding themselves as cloud storage and are distancing themselves from piracy promotion reward schemes that attracted the wrath of the authorities.
If you are using Crack Tracker to discover and remove illegal downloads of your software, and you are located in the USA, there is a complication. Running crack tracker from a USA IP address will give you the impression that your piracy problem is less severe than it actually is, as some of the big file-hosting sites are not serving USA (see table above).
One way to work around this problem is to use a proxy server for your internet access, so it will appear that you are accessing the warez search engines from Europe instead of the USA. All you need is to find a public proxy server in a European country and edit your Internet Explorer settings for the proxy IP address as seen to the right. Another possibility is to tunnel your whole internet access through TunnelBear or similar services.
It is all fluid in the file download world, but we haven't seen the death of the download piracy yet...