FreeDrive has been forced to shutdown its publicly available swapping space. See:
News: File-swapping site breaks under DOJ pressure by By John Borland and Lisa Bowman.
FreeDrive's Public Share utility allowed subscribers to publicly post files of all types--both illegal and legal--for anyone to download. People could find the files by searching keywords on public searching services such as AltaVista. Once they found the file name located on the FreeDrive storage system, they could join FreeDrive and download the software.
However, the public system opened the company to charges that pirates were using it to distribute software.
Three months ago, Falter said he received a phone call from the DOJ and a large maker of office automation software, notifying him that pirates were using his system to store illegal software. After consulting with company executives and attorneys, Falter said he decided to close the public system. He would not identify the software company.
"There is no easy way to stop this other than to shut down the public sharing," Falter said, adding that he hoped the closure would "stem the tide of software piracy."
Falter said the move would affect just 1 percent of the 11.5 million members who use its service. Most FreeDrive subscribers use a private sharing system, where people can get files only if they've been invited to do so. That system will stay up and running, Falter said. FreeDrive, like its rivals, collects revenue largely from advertisements shown to those visitors.
Until the closure, FreeDrive was one of the few online storage companies that had allowed its members to open their files to the general public. Other companies decided against it because of the liability. Competitor MySpace.com spokesman Ari Freeman said his company considered starting a public sharing system but didn't because of the "potential problems behind it." Instead, the company has a password-protected service.