Switzerland based file sharing company RapidShare has published a 3 page document about how they will help prevent pirates from using its cloud storage services. The document paints a picture of RapidShare as a responsible cloud storage service provider who “protect the intellectual property and copyright interests of creators”.
Following the fate of Megaupload in January, commentators have been wondering who is next for the chopping block. Companies that follow a seemingly similar business model to the now deceased Megaupload include RapidShare, MediaFire, 4shared and Rapidgator. These companies are easy to find, just search for any popular CD, DVD or game on Filestube.com to get lots of download links emanating from these sites. Yes, including RapidShare.
However RapidShare say they are not concerned by the Megaupload closure and try and position themselves among more respectable cloud storage service providers like YouTube, Dropbox and SkyDrive from Microsoft.
In a statement RapidShare general counsel Daniel Raimer said "RapidShare has always embraced our obligation to protect the intellectual property and copyright interests of creators, today's announcement takes that obligation to a new level." He continued: "We want all stakeholders in the debate over online copyright infringement - customers, content providers, industry competitors, technology experts, policymakers, regulators, and others - to understand that RapidShare recognizes that piracy is a serious problem, that we're reinforcing our efforts to eradicate it, and that we're calling on other data logistics companies to do the same."
A key implementation detailed in the document is that user accounts will be terminated if there are a number of accusations of uploading copyrighted content. In some cases even user uploaded private files will be looked into by investigators. However the uploader gets 2 weeks notice of such an action, and is given time to either challenge the accusation or remove the files in question.
Two months ago, just one month after the Megaupload closure, RapidShare cut download speeds for free users. It said this action was a bid to fight piracy with it becoming the new preferred pirates file deposit. “RapidShare has been faced with a severe increase in free user traffic and unfortunately also in the amount of abuse of our service ever since, suggesting that quite a few copyright infringers have chosen RapidShare as their new hoster of choice for their illegal activities.” If you are cynical you might think that cutting speeds to free users might be a tool to get more people to sign up to the RapidShare premium services which are thrust into your face every time you go to the site. Kerching!
In March German courts ruled that RapidShare’s core functionality was within the law and the company has no responsibility to monitor uploaded files. Have RapidShare now done enough, or wriggled enough, to pacify Big Content providers and avoid the fate of Megaupload?