Dropbox blocks Bittorent startup Boxopus from using its service.
Dropbox has blocked startup Boxopus from accessing its API amid fears that the file-storage service will promote online piracy among users.
Boxopus was released to the general public in June, and allowed users to download torrent files directly into their Dropbox account. Initial reviews were positive, and demonstrated that the software provided a much-needed tool for torrent users.
The software worked by connecting directly with a user’s Dropbox account. When the user then wanted to download a torrent, they could simply drag and drop the file into the Boxopus window, and the torrent would download straight into Dropbox, skipping the user’s hard drive. The service allowed users to download torrents from any computer, and share downloaded files directly with friends and family using Dropbox’s public folder system.
Although most users praised Boxopus for their innovation, Dropbox, were less than delighted. According to TorrentFreak, a Dropbox engineer sent the following email to the Boxopus team:
“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.”
Although Boxopus is neutral technology and hasn’t come out for or against file-sharing, Dropbox fear that being associated with notable file-sharing service Bittorrent in any way could tarnish their reputation.
Boxopus staff revealed that they have no idea why Dropbox made the sudden decision, especially since they had approved an alpha version of Boxopus a few weeks before the official release.
Founder Alex explained to TorrentFreak that Dropbox’s actions have made their product obsolete, and lost them tens of thousands of dollars:
“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… This behavior makes it hard to believe that developers are treated fairly and innovation is welcomed at Dropbox. It seems like legit and pre-approved applications may be blocked simply by someone’s will although they act within the scope of company’s terms and international laws.”
Torrent users looking for a way to sync their downloads through Dropbox can still do so, as web designer Guillermo Esteves demonstrates, however the process is more complicated.
Most torrent clients give you the option to copy torrent files from a specific folder on your computer. You can set up your torrent client to automatically download torrents from your Dropbox folder by finding the correct option within your client software under “Preferences” or similar. Once the set up process is complete, your torrent client on your home computer will automatically download any torrents you add to your Dropbox file, even if you are elsewhere.