According to copyright holders, One-Click Hosters (OCHs) such as Megaupload are frequently used to host and distribute copyright infringing content. This has spurred numerous initiatives by legislators, law enforcement and content producers. Due to a lack of representative data sets that properly capture private uses of OCHs (such as sharing holiday pictures among friends), to date, there are no reliable estimates of the proportion of legitimate and infringing files being uploaded to OCHs. This situation leaves the field to the partisan arguments brought forward by copyright owners and OCHs.
In this paper, we provide empirical data about the uses and misuses of OCHs by analysing six large data sets containing file metadata that we extracted from a range of popular OCHs. We assess the status of these files with regard to copyright infringement and show that at least 26 % to 79 % of them are potentially infringing. Perhaps surprising after the shutdown by the FBI for alleged copyright infringement, we found Megaupload to have the second highest proportion of legitimate files in our study.