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By Joseph Menn and Sarah McBride
SAN FRANCISCO | Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:01pm EST
(Reuters) - The crackdown on file-sharing site Megaupload is expected to do little to reduce overall piracy of music, software and Hollywood movies, while potentially stifling emerging means of distributing content online.
In the wake of last week's surprising indictment of the digital storage company and seven executives, other companies have begun changing their policies even as Megaupload officers maintained their innocence in a first court appearance in New Zealand.
Filesonic.com stopped allowing people to download files that they had not uploaded themselves, while Uploaded.to blocked access from Internet locations in the United States.
However, just 3 percent of U.S. Internet users relied on digital lockers like Megaupload in the third quarter, according to NPD market research, compared with 9 percent who used peer-to-peer networks, which allow sharing of files among consumers' computers with little or no central organization.