In common with every file-sharing service, RapidShare is used by some of its members to host infringing material.
While RapidShare itself has no search engine, there are many third-party websites that facilitate piracy by linking to copyrighted works stored on file-hosting sites. These websites are the real problem, RapidShare believes.
This is one of the messages that RapidShare’s Chief Legal Officer Daniel Raimer is presenting at the Technology Policy Institute forum in Aspen today. Raimer joins a panel on Copyright and Piracy and informs TorrentFreak that he plans to counter the image that file-hosting sites are a problem.
Raimer believes it’s important to stress that “legitimate” file-hosting services are merely offering a technology, and are not the ones facilitating piracy.
This is also the point the company made in its advice to the U.S. Government earlier last week. Responding to a public consultation on the future of U.S. IP enforcement, the company emphasized that linking sites are the real problem.
“Rather than enacting legislation that could stifle innovation in the cloud, the U.S. government should crack down on this critical part of the online piracy network,” the company wrote.
“These very sophisticated websites, often featuring advertising, facilitate the mass indiscriminate distribution of copyrighted content on the Internet and should be the focus of US intellectual property enforcement efforts.”
In addition to a crackdown on linking sites, RapidShare also believes that the U.S. Government should continue to push for voluntary industry agreements to counter piracy, instead of writing more legislation.
These agreements have already been reached in the advertising business and among payment providers, and file-hosting services should not be overlooked RapidShare notes.
“[The U.S. should] continue its work to secure voluntary industry agreements to address repeated online piracy and counterfeiting and include cloud storage and file hosting companies in these efforts,” they wrote.
Earlier this year RapidShare published a “responsible practices” document for the file-hosting business, which they believe could be a basis for an industry agreement. While the major music labels said at the time that RapidShare’s suggestions didn’t go far enough, Raimer told TorrentFreak they are the absolute limit for the file-hoster.
Raimer is convinced that when file-hosting companies take their responsibilities seriously, and when law enforcement goes after linking sites, copyright holders should have little left to complain about.