Earlier this year TorrentFreak reported on the contents of a letter sent by former Rapidshare CEO Bobby Chang to the entertainment industry.
In addition to offering collaboration and noting that the site would increasingly terminate the accounts of persistent copyright infringers, the company noted that it would begin pursuing third party sites who use the Rapidshare trademark to ‘promote’ or encourage copyright infringement.
“We are extending our efforts to proceed against linking-sites, against so-called Rapidshare search engines and against individuals who abuse our trademark to distribute copyright protected content,” wrote Chang.
Just weeks later Rapidshare demanded that site owners should stop abusing its trademark, and went on to file several World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) disputes against others, hoping to take control of their domain names. Now it appears that those complaints have borne considerable fruit.
According to WIPO records, Rapidshare has successfully taken control of more than two dozen domains with ‘rapidshare’ somewhere in the URL including;
The full list of transferred domains goes on for a while, and Rapidshare has already filed more than a dozen new disputes against search engines and link sites including rapidshareindex.com and rapidshare1.com.
While it is easy to see where Rapidshare’s trademark could be considered infringed by a domain which includes ‘rapidshare’ in its URL, not all domains did. A claim against another domain, rapidbay.net, was denied.
Firstly it was decided that not only is the word ‘rapid’ commonly used in the English language, but it is also in use by many businesses round the world unconnected with Rapidshare who wish to give the impression they are fast at what they do. Secondly, the word ‘bay’ was considered to be nothing like ‘share’ and therefore would not cause an Internet user to make a connection to Rapidshare.
While Rapidshare will be pleased that it has largely succeeded with these complaints, the domains it has taken control of represent just the tip of the iceberg. Time will tell if the file-hoster continues its aggressive actions against those it believes are not only abusing its company trademark, but also connecting it to copyright infringement.