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RapidShare Threatens Suit Over Piracy Allegations

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the sticks-and-stones dept.

Piracy 183

Hugh Pickens writes "PC Magazine reports that RapidShare, named as a contributor to digital piracy by a MarkMonitor report, has threatened to sue for defamation. 'This defamation of RapidShare as a digital piracy site is absurd and we reserve the right to take legal action against MarkMonitor,' says RapidShare in a statement. 'RapidShare is a legitimate company that offers its customers fast, simple and secure storage and management of large amounts of data via our servers.' MarkMonitor, a Web site that specializes in 'enterprise brand protection,' says in their study that the most-trafficked domains engaged in digital piracy included three sites — rapidshare.com, megavideo.com, and megaupload.com — that combined yielded 21 billion pageviews per year. RapidShare acknowledged that copyrighted files do get uploaded to its site, however 'these users are in the absolute minority compared with those who use our services to pursue perfectly legitimate interests.' RapidShare says that it does not open and view the files of its users, and contains no search function so that other users may look for content."

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FP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859442)

That was rapid! :)

Understandable (1)

Sumbius (1500703) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859458)

It's true that RapidShare is used for piracy but the same applies to other similar sites too. They could start combing and limiting their uploaded content but taking in account their huge amount of uploads that wouldn't be an easy process. Also, the contents of the uploads can't be figured out just by reading the names. Trying to control the content uploaded would only cause people to switch to another similar services.

Re:Understandable (4, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859492)

Plus it wouldn't work. Soon it'd be full of encrypted RARs of filenames like aiegflaeaergfaer.rar, or possibly sales_reports.rar... no way anyone could tell what they are unless they are a member of the private forum where the link and decryption password are posted.

Re:Understandable (2)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859666)

Uh, that's like saying because of some new initiative police employ failed because it only drove murder down 80% and not 100% in that you're setting the bar for success way too high.

If something you describe came to pass, the RIAA/MPAA/others would have won because it would reduce sharing dramatically by restricting it to a select few rather than the world at large. I've encountered several password protected downloads before, and I gave up rather than waste the time hunting down the password or anything else. And such a shift towards encryption/password_protected sharing would make the copyright associations happy that, in the general public's perception, that it's far more convenient and easier to buy the damn thing.

I wouldn't want to be on such a internet, personally.

Re:Understandable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859790)

These measures (encrypted RARs, encrypted file lists, convoluted file names) are already in place for a significant part of the illegal stuff on rapidshare. It is also trivial to use: type a password, check a box, rename the file.

Re:Understandable (1)

dintech (998802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859928)

Anyway, didn't youtube start out as a haven for piracy? Keep going I say, maybe you'll be work something as a legitimate business one day.

Re:Understandable (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859876)

P2P is infested with password protected rar files. In most cases they're just scams to motivate people to visit drive-by attack sites or sign up for some dodgy service. There is nothing more frustrating than to download something to discover it's one of these.

Someone only has to be stung once by these scams (or waste time downloading a worthless file) and they'll be averse to do it again. So they do represent a deterrent. It's kind of funny and ironic that scammers and criminals are doing more to deter piracy than the RIAA / MPAA.

I expect the effect would be as chilling if it happened on RapidShare. Even if every file becomes encrypted .rars then it obviously makes it more of a bind to download the file and at the end of it you may discover it's just a scam anyway. At least with a .avi or whatever you can immediately view it and guess it's quality and legitimacy.

I think what P2P really needs is a way to combine file hosting services like RapidShare with distributed search & comments / ratings. How this happens is an open question, but one which clearly needs to be addressed. For example perhaps the file host holds an encrypted file that the seeder decrypts and renames on its way through. So the host has no idea what's in the file but everyone else just sees the contents. Of course if the legitimate content providers didn't have their thumbs up their asses they would realise that people don't like wading through a sewer and many would be delighted if there was a legitimate and cheap alternative.

Re:Understandable (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860206)

There is at least one site out there that keeps a DB of P2P distributed files by their hashes on the various systems, lists common filenames for them, descriptions and reviews. I just wish I could remember the URL to link it. They of course had the problem with trolls that any site with user-generated content does, but something like it but with better moderation would work well, I think.

Shareaza also supports ratings and reviews on P2P files, although I'm not sure how it goes about it, or if it's a standard part of one of the underlying protocols it uses.

Re:Understandable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859966)

Uh, that's like saying because of some new initiative police employ failed because it only drove murder down 80% and not 100% in that you're setting the bar for success way too high.

No, it's more like this... imagine there's a building that people aren't supposed to enter, and there's two ways in. One of these can be secured, the other can't; the latter is minimally more cumbersome to use (you have to walk around the building first, which takes 30 seconds), so people are using the former. However, as soon as you secure that, people (all people!) will invest those extra 30 seconds and use the latter, which you can't secure. Given that, and given that your goal is keeping people out of the building, it's not obvious that securing the former is the right course of action.

Re:Understandable (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860164)

That doesn't restrict it much more than RapidShare does right now. They have no search mechanic and don't vet the contents of their files (though presumably they have some means to identify bad content or have it reported to them for removal, because otherwise I would have expected a massive CP bust against them simply because any way to anonymously share files over the internet through a third party is bound to end up with it's share...just look at the chans).

Re:Understandable (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859768)

I record sounds. One was a metal against metal. I recorded two. The second one was called "MetalicB" Want to guess what the first one was called?

Re:Understandable (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859846)

Let me guess... MetalicA...
Fortunately you misspelled metallic , otherwise you could have been in breach of someones trademark ;-)

Re:Understandable (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859848)

Incorrect, here is a simple explanation [slashdot.org] of how RapidShare could ,with a very high degree of success, detect piracy on their site that even a toddler can understand. They dont even have to check the filenames, just check the name of the uploader (has it uploaded piracy before? then this new upload is probably also piracy) and the referer header of downloaders (comes from a warez site? then file is likely piracy).

Think what you want about the morality of copyright infringement. But saying that the technology for rapidshare to curb piracy isn't there, is an insincere statement if you understand the basics of technology and computer algorithms.

Re:Understandable (2)

lattyware (934246) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859916)

And so you redirect all your traffic through a URL shorterner that changes the referer, or don't offer links, require that users copy paste them, and you make lots of new accounts. Trivial to work around.

Re:Understandable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34860042)

next time you want to explain these things to the idiots on slashdot, just give them one argument :

Youtube has implemented a filter and since there is hardly any copyrighted material on youtube anymore, we can assume that this works.

Re:Understandable (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860106)

Except Youtube actually has access to the content, while Rapidshare doesn't if the file is encrypted.

Re:Understandable (3, Insightful)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860268)

Your explanation fails the idiot test. As icebraining said - firstly Youtube have full access to the unencrypted data, it's relatively trivial to run some algorithm to compare it to a stored video/audio stream and you know what format the file is in to begin with. Rapidshare not only have the issue that users could just encrypt their files, but even unencrypted they'd need a reliable method to compare vastly more types of files. That's both technically complicated and incredibly costly. The alternative is that the people with a vested interest in preventing the sharing of illegal materials (the rights holders) do the police work and RS remove it when asked and... oh, wouldn't you know, that's what they already do. It's a much better situation, RIAA admittedly have to invest a little in chasing the content down, but compared to the millions they tell us in court this is costing them, it's a drop in the ocean to have some student checking download sites, meanwhile the rest of us get to use hosting sites for legitimate purposes without them being crushed by an unfair financial burden.

Re:Understandable (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860222)

Incorrect, here is a simple explanation of how RapidShare could ,with a very high degree of success, detect piracy on their site that even a toddler can understand

And that a toddler could circumvent if you actually put it into practice. Plus you would have a HUGE amount of false positives. Basically, you are assuming "Guilty until proven innocent" and deleting any "popular" file on suspicion.

Re:Understandable (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860480)

just check the name of the uploader (has it uploaded piracy before? then this new upload is probably also piracy)

So the pirates create a new account for each upload.

and the referer header of downloaders (comes from a warez site? then file is likely piracy).

So the warez site jumps via an HTTPS redirect, which causes the browser not to send the referrer header.

As the saying goes, for any complex problem there is a solution that is simple, obvious, and wrong.

Re:file names (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860492)

NASA_Space_Sex.rar

Re:Understandable (0)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859558)

IMHO it's much more important that there exists a service where people can upload whatever content they need to. As it happens, there could very well be people who are for example persecuted for their believes or whatever and they have documents that they need stored somewhere without a risk of them being removed by those aforementioned persecutors..It's just one example, feel free to come up with more if you wish. But the point is, the powers that be could well misuse their powers if all the content was reviewed and monitored, and thus it's great that Rapidshare et al does provide a service where privacy is important.

I do understand that it obviously means some people will use the service for less than honest reasons but the benefits still far outweigh those negative effects.

Re:Understandable (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859980)

wikileaks would work in that scenario... and also has the same gotchas

Re:Understandable (2)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860706)

It's true that RapidShare is used for piracy but the same applies to other similar sites too.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with defamation. The simple fact is, they absolutely know they are a piracy hot spot. They'd be absolute idiots if they sue. Suing means their own data becomes open to subpoena. Which means they are primed to be royally fucked.

The only way they can prove they have suffered from defamation is to actually look at their own content. Once they look at their own content, by law, they will be forced to disable tons and tons (vast majority of their) content and accounts else they are now liable for distribution of copyrighted content. Basically they'd force themselves to do exactly what they claim they don't do so as to avoid legal prosecution. The only way they can hope to be justified is if they look at their data and find almost no one uses their service for copyrighted content. And frankly, I don't find that likely in the least.

I don't know about you, but roughly 98% of all content I've seen on their site has been obvious copyrighted material. I honestly can't see how the studies are even close to being wrong. And them stirring the pot is likely to completely backfire.

My money is on them making noise and then going away - otherwise I'll be extremely surprised if it doesn't completely blow up in their face.

Perhaps Not Defamation (3, Insightful)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859460)

Just in my own personal experience, I've never seen Rapidshare used for legal means. I've never heard of anyone using it for legal means. I'm not saying that it can't happen or doesn't happen, but I really do wonder how much of their business is business done without breaking copyright laws. Furthermore, if they never open up the files put on their servers, how the hell would they know whether there's copyright infringement going on in the first place? You can't claim for absolute certainty that your core business doesn't rely on law breakers when you don't monitor what your customers are doing. You have to view data somewhere at some point to have a reasonable conclusion.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859472)

Just in my own personal experience, I've never seen Rapidshare used for legal means.

No offense, but that probably says more about you than it does about Rapidshare.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859572)

+1 with that

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (3, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860032)

Here are a few Rapidshare search engines.
Look towards the bottom at "Recent searches" how many of those look legal to you? (in case you're still under any delusions about whats hosted on rapidshare some of the titles are definitely NSFW)
http://www.filecrop.com/
http://rapidsharesearcher.com/
http://blog.egexa.com/download/
http://fileknow.com/recent

I fully support file sharing and the downfall of copyright law, but lets not lie to ourselves please.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (4, Insightful)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860144)

This is called selection bias. People who use RS for legitimate use, share the links with the intended recipient only. The files are not searched by anonymous people throughout the web on these sites. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't search http://rapidsharesearcher.com/ [rapidsharesearcher.com] for "Presentation for 2011 shareholder meeting.pps".
You are using sites that are used by people who d/l illegal files to show that RS is used for illegal d/l. If you look into Toyota's site, you would see that most of the searches on that site are for cars made by Toyota. Ergo, most people drive Toyota!

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34860232)

On the other hand, this 'selection bias' also exposes one of the foundations for the accusations in the article.

After all, how many people would you imagine downloading the 'legal' "Presentation for 2011 shareholder meeting.pps"? One? Maybe two? The intended recipients, presumably. ( Though why anybody would use rapidshare to share such a file is beyond me and if one of my colleagues were to do so he'd be looking for a new job after the internal reviews are done. )

Now how many are going to download "Inception_2010_720p.mkv", the link to which can be found through these rapidshare search engines and has been plastered over various 'piracy' forums?

Just because there's 100 'legal' uploads for every 1 'illegal' upload doesn't make 1,000 downloads of the latter vs 2 of the former* a statistic that should be ignored in these types of back-and-forth accusations.

* Numbers pulled out of ass as RS does not publish any form of statistics so that it is, in fact, impossible to verify either their, or the accusing party's, claims.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (3, Interesting)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859506)

Well, if you see a file uploaded to RS and then it is downloaded by 10,000 users, it is probably not used for legal reasons. If, OTOH, it is downloaded by 1 other user, there is a higher chance it is used for a legal reasons.
Of course, this is not conclusive evidence: A file can be sent to a whole group via RS and still be legit, and a movie can be sent illegally from one person to another. But still, usage statistics can give you some idea as to the legality of the files without opening them.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859700)

MarkMontor will not have the usage statistics to be able to make these claims. Rapidshare doesn't give out download logs. Only the file sharer will know how many times a file has been downloaded.

Rapidshare provides very fast pipes for a fee. No file sharers receive any payments or kickbacks. Rapidshare provides a solution to connecting the fast pipes from your ISP to fast pipes at a remote server. It's a payment to get access to massive amounts of bandwidth.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859882)

Since the parent was discussing how Rapidshare can know whether the files they are hosting are legal or not, my argument stands. RS does have access to the d/l logs and thus can claim that illegal d/l are a minor part of their business. As you said, MarkMonitor doesn't have access to the logs, so it better have some other evidence, or the defamation accusations will probably stick.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860522)

I've seen RapidShare used for game patches and mods and I'd imagine that most of these are downloaded by 10,000 users.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859528)

You mean if somebody posts a rapidshare link to 100 gigs of porn on 4chan you assume that the images are being distributed against their license? How do you know? Did you check?

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859546)

Chances are they are.

If it's a major hollywood movie then it's extremely likely that the distributor doesn't have permission. At least enough for the purpose of this discussion.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859672)

Chances are that they are not.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (3, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859560)

When I've downloaded custom ROMs for my phones in the last few years (which are legal when it comes to Android at least), they are often hosted on RapidShare.

I'm with AC on this one.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (2)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859580)

My last job, we were regularly sending several gigabytes of HD video between London and Detroit. We didn't actually use Rapidshare for this, but we could have done (We used dropbox because it was more convenient). There would have been about 5 people with access to those files and, no offense intended, but we certainly wouldn't have told you.

It's possible that most users are doing pretty much the same thing. Legitimate:illegitimate ration is going to be near imposible to judge here.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (3, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859656)

I expect RapidShare are carefully selecting their statistic. For instance, the ratio of legal:illegal uploads might be very favourable to them, while the ratio for downloads isn't.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859864)

I suspect the statistic is even simpler, what they receive takedown requests for they count as illegal and everything else is by default assumed legal. I doubt RapidShare would permit anyone to rifle through a representative selection and try to determine a real percentage, after all it's a private sharing service and they have no business trying to open them.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

bjourne (1034822) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859774)

Pirates who upload content to rapidshare makes it publicaly available. You most certainly would not want to have your hd video published to the world.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860324)

Advertisements.

Other types of propaganda.

You certainly might.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860570)

Actually we'd rather they didn't. While most of this was promotional material, that didn't add anything new, and there would have been minimal harm if it was released, it just would have been unprofessional to release it without our partner's explicit permission.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (2)

rts008 (812749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859588)

Isn't that just your perspective as it relates to USA laws and POV?

I could claim jingoism and nationalistic viewpoints as strawmen, but why?

Okay, I can accept your viewpoint that from a RIAA/MPAA perspective, but the fact that you can't accept any other POV, or Sovereign Nations POV/outlook, seems both contradictory and ludicrous at the same time.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (2)

kiddailey (165202) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859716)

As someone who manages a fairly large and growing database of user-created gaming content [mapraider.com] and visits Rapidshare, Megaupload, et al. regularly to grab recent releases, I can assure you that there are quite a few GBs of perfectly legitimate content on those file hosting sites. ... at least, until the files get deleted due to download inactivity :/

There. Now you've heard about many people using it for legal means.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (3, Interesting)

Weezul (52464) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859832)

That says more about you than about rapid share.

Are you old enough that you've seen ftp used for non-piracy purposes? Does that means we should place a tax on ftp requests that lines the pockets of the MafiAA?

There is a younger variation on RapidShare called DropBox which provide better backup & syncing functionality, but it's not as well suited for just sending a file. You better believe DropBox gets used for piracy though too. Does that mean file syncing services should be illegal?

RapidShare exists primarily because email doesn't transport large files. You cannot expect a client to install skype, gtalk, etc. In fact, you don't want all your client's on your IMs, given how easily one can offend older people on IM. Ditto for firewalls, NATs, sshd, etc. RapidShare URLs just works.

RapidShare also gets used by people trying to save bandwidth, like software developers distributing shareware & crippleware, etc. BitTorrent hasn't exactly been a bandwidth panacea for everyone, plus not everyone understands it.

If you ever left your IT bubble, you'd realize there is a whole world of small business out there that ravenously consumes simple, cheap, and fast solutions to simple problems. RapidShare has hit back hard for defamation partially because that core user base can have fairly stringent sensibilities.

But it has the word "share" in its name! (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860124)

Have you not heard? "Sharing" is a bad thing. If the website were called, "rapidfiletransfer," maybe they wouldn't be facing these sorts of accusations...

Re:But it has the word "share" in its name! (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860704)

Sh-Sh-Sh-Share Share the Share is the scare! The **AA loves to say that sharin' ain't fair.

Did you hear the news? No? It was of a certain ... economical distribution variety.

Sh-sh-Share Share, the Share is the Scare!

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860178)

You could monitor incoming traffic to identify the referrer. It's not perfect but it is quite possible to know if a file is pirated if the link came from a forum with the thread title "Britney Spears - Greatest Hits" even if the files are in a password protected RAR file. No opening required.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

delinear (991444) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860506)

You could monitor incoming traffic to identify the referrer. It's not perfect but it is quite possible to know if a file is pirated if the link came from a forum with the thread title "Britney Spears - Greatest Hits" even if the files are in a password protected RAR file. No opening required.

  • Trivial to defeat - the referrer just bounces all links via an interim "safe" page, or just point blank doesn't send a referer [sic] header with the request. You could refuse all users that don't come with a referer if you don't mind losing some legitimate traffic, but then the site just puts the links on a "safe" site and links to that (pretty soon RS would see all sites as unsafe) or they use a URL shortener, or then send the links via email.>/li>
  • Costly - you will get false positives. The link to some guy's video rant about how awful Britney's latest CD is, posted to a forum with the title "Britney Spears - Greatest Hits" is perfectly legal. You either accept you will ban legal content or you pay someone to investigate false positives. And once the piracy sites figure out it's costing you to investigate false positives, they can trivially make it prohibitively expensive for you to do so by generating thousands of them.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34860560)

How can you be absolutely sure that the file from the thread, "Britney Spears - Greatest Hits" isn't just a recording the poster made of their cats wailing or something? You can't be sure it isn't a joke or a parody without opening it and RapidShare isn't legally responsible for doing that.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860272)

Furthermore, if they never open up the files put on their servers, how the hell would they know whether there's copyright infringement going on in the first place?

They don't. I'm sure they never said that they could. Can GMail/Yahoo/Hotmail... all guarantee that their services aren't used to transfer files in violation of copyright? Can AOL? The post office?

What they're saying is that they do not take any interest in what is being transferred. They're not like eBay, taking a cut of any transaction, they simply transfer blocks of data. Unless you want to mandate that every service, ISP, etc, that does this is responsible for the legality of every file that passes through their system, you can't insist that Rapidshare does.

Re:Perhaps Not Defamation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34860404)

All of their business is done without breaking copyright laws. Rapidshare (as well as other bitlocker-type sites) are only there for upload and download of files; they are not required to know what the files are or to filter for copyrighted materials. Further, they comply with DMCA takedown notices from copyright holders, which is all they are required to do. The point of the possible suit is that they are complying with the letter of the law; therefore, calling them a, "digital piracy site" is defamatory.

More harm than good? (5, Interesting)

rts008 (812749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859470)

While I support the original intent of both copyright and patent laws, I also think both have exceeded their bounds, and need reform.
The original intent was to BOTH foster creativity and innovation while protecting both, it has currently devolved into protecting/fostering those with the most money.
Major reform is needed.
One thing I learned from my GrandDad[among many, numerous things], was that only stagnant water breeds mosquitoes. Think about the concept seriously for a moment, it is enlightening.

Maybe it seems new to you all, but it's a culmination of 100 year old insight and wisdom to me.
Sonny Bono/Disney should have been stopped in retrospect, but that's how hindsight seems to work!

Re:More harm than good? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859634)

Playing devil's advocate here, but here goes:

If all of that stuff is so stagnant, why are you bothered about the copyright lease being so long? Look for cheap or free indie media.

Re:More harm than good? (5, Insightful)

CitizenCain (1209428) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859732)

If all of that stuff is so stagnant, why are you bothered about the copyright lease being so long? Look for cheap or free indie media.

You're missing the point of that adage. The mosquitoes don't stay in the stagnant pool of water once they've bred. They fly off and bite anyone they can find.

Likewise, absurd lease lengths on copyrights don't just effect the works the protect, but impact the entire media realm. Why bother funding new, creative media when you get the copyright on Mickey Mouse extended for another 90 years and keep milking that cow? Or, for that matter, why bother creating anything at all, when you can become a patent troll and makes tens of millions of dollars by suing other people for bothering to create something. (And so on.)

Re:More harm than good? (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859816)

You're missing the point of that adage. The mosquitoes don't stay in the stagnant pool of water once they've bred. They fly off and bite anyone they can find.

Ah, we don't have mosquitoes here so I don't really think of them as a big deal. I've only ever seen them in movies :P

Our midges [wisegeek.com] tend to stay in the vicinity of the stagnant water rather than roaming.

Re:More harm than good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34860658)

Extremely high ad-to-content ratio alert! You could also look here [wikipedia.org] if you want to learn about midges.

Re:More harm than good? (1)

devent (1627873) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859826)

Such thing as "free indie media" doesn't exists. If you have an internet radio you have to pay royalties, if you have a bar and play music you have to pay, in Germany everyone is paying a royalty on CDs, DVDs, flash drivers, hard disks. The "Content Industry" have such power that they lobbied every government that if you play music you have to pay royalties to them even if you don't play any music owned by them. Either you pay the royalties or you are at a very great risk of being sued to death.

Thanks to such laws that every work falls automatically under copyright the "Content Industry" business methods are not so different to the Mafia. Either you pay up or you get a visit from one of their agents and they make you pay (not by breaking your legs but by threatening to sue you and make you bankrupt).

Re:More harm than good? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859932)

Well, maybe something got in the translation, or you cherry-picked a plausible mis-translation, but I will play along!)

If all of that stuff is so stagnant, why are you bothered about the copyright lease being so long?

You missed the whole point here. I apologize profoundly if my intended concept was so ineptly stated. My purpose was to allude to the concept that life, and thus living life was dynamic, and we have to adapt as a species to survive. We have provided a lot of evidence that we are adaptable, dynamically as a species.

As a side note regarding IP[Intellectual Property/Imaginative Property]:
My problem with the 'copyright lease' being so long, is it has devolved into harmful for the public domain at the benefits of Big Corp.
Call me an Anarchist, Libertarian, or Whatever, but it worries and confounds me.
It seems to go against what it was intended to achieve.

I have been vocal about this all along. Check my profile/comments, hell, do a Google.com search for "rts008+/.+RIAA"
That should keep you busy for a few hours. Check my /.Journal...its open to the public.

Look for cheap or free indie media.

I have done so in the past, and currently do so....the bulk of my current music collection comes from just those...thanks for reminding your grandfather/mother how to suck eggs.

Gahg!!!
Monty Python comes to save the day, yet again!!!!...
"Stupid Git!"

I Sneer at your 'Devils Advocate'...Now go away, or I will taunt you a second time. And yes, we are are on the look-out for a Large Wooden Badger.

Re:More harm than good? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34860196)

EVERYONE on this thread HAS to read this:

http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2002/4/25/1345/03329

Of course, money just kept asking "Can we do it yet? Can we do it yet? Can we do it yet?..." until they got it. Then they asked for more, of course.

Re:More harm than good? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860362)

The mosquito illustration was probably throwing people off. I usually try to avoid such illustrations because you're going to get people that take it too far or argue about unimportant points, because the comparison is going to fail if it is taken to far, and it becomes a distraction.

I don't think it's anarchist to suggest reform, that would be a silly accusation to worry about.

Copyright law is very excessive right now, especially when you have a broadly interpreted meaning of "limited", which is functionally "forever" when it is often extended by 20 years every 20 years. They might not be able to extend it to 1000 years because that might actually be obvious to the judicial branch as a stretch on the interpretation of limited, several smaller steps might not cause any problems.

Re:More harm than good? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859978)

Major reform is needed. One thing I learned from my GrandDad[among many, numerous things], was that only stagnant water breeds mosquitoes. Think about the concept seriously for a moment, it is enlightening.

The trouble if you apply that logic is that it cuts both ways. Long standing rights and principles can be cut down just as easily as old relics that have lost their purpose and meaning. And the answer depends extremely on who you ask, others would say copyrights and patents are more important now than ever in the "information economy". Some would say the second amendment is an old relic from the days of the minutemen, others think it's a vital civil right today. It's only an argument that appeal to people that already agree with you.

Re:More harm than good? (1)

apt-get moo (988257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860108)

While I support the original intent of both copyright and patent laws, I also think both have exceeded their bounds, and need reform. The original intent was to BOTH foster creativity and innovation while protecting both, it has currently devolved into protecting/fostering those with the most money.

Whatever you may have heard about such idealistic intentions of copyright is pretty much bullshit. The original idea behind the Anglo-Saxon term of "copyright" was just that - the (exclusive) right to copy something. Its primary purpose was to protect publishers from competition (made possible by the invention of the printing press) by granting them some exclusive rights, e.g. on printing and distributing the bible. This was the 16th century. So, nothing has really changed, just the rhetoric.

What you're referring to are author's rights, a term mostly used in Continental Europe. I don't know whether the intentions behind them were even as benevolent as you think. And in any case, Continental and Anglo-Saxon ideas about copyright/author's rights have conflated in the last decades/centuries, anyway.

for reals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859474)

'these users are in the absolute minority compared with those who use our services to pursue perfectly legitimate interests.'

omfg LOL.

Fact is, they make a cack-load of money from people using their service to engage in copyright-infringement. I'd be surprised if they could sustain more than a third of their profits without the business of said people.

Don't Ask, Don't Tell (1)

drmofe (523606) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859478)

Rapidshare says they don't open or inspect the files uploaded by its users

They list a number of 'legitimate' uses

They say copyrighted files do get uploaded

But they say these files are in a minority compared with the legitimate uses

How do they know, without having inspected the files?

Re:Don't Ask, Don't Tell (1)

tris203 (1768578) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859524)

They will be presuming that all copyrighted files get reported

search function (1)

LikwidCirkel (1542097) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859480)

"...and contains no search function so that other users may look for content." Yeah - that's what RapidLibrary is for. if RapidShare is in any way affiliated with rapidlibrary or other similar sites, they'll have a tough time in court. Personally, I've never heard of anyone using RapidShare for anything other than piracy, but I'm willing to be enlightened.

Re:search function (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859574)

Oh you know, hosting mods for games, archives full of images this sort of stuff.

Re:search function (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860342)

"Oh you know, hosting mods for games (a.k.a. Hacks, as interpreted by some companies) , archives full of images (i.e. kiddie porn) this sort of stuff."

Re:search function (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859650)

Meh, I've used it as a dropbox to share stuff like route plans (I'm a cyclist) with other forum members. Similar examples abound.

Re:search function (1)

jaggeh (1485669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859674)

I used to use rapidshare to host custom map files for several games. Ive also uploaded several large photo albums for members of my family to download.

One of my friends is a film editor and she regularly uses rapidshare to transfer stuff from home to work without clogging her mailbox.

People do use it legitimatly, a LOT of people.

People do use it for piracy asweel but these are the only ones you really hear about.

Re:search function (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860360)

. if RapidShare is in any way affiliated with rapidlibrary or other similar sites,

And RS has lawyers and knows that full well. So of course they keep themselves well away from indexing sites. They would hardly have issued this challenge if it were possible to trip them up so easily.

By the way, if you look at many of these sites that promise to find stuff on Rapidshare, what they are is simply a customised Google search, plus a crapload of porn ads. DIY and Google for "moviename + Rapidshare" and you'll find thousands of hits, some of them even work.

*.R00 (4, Interesting)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859482)

I've pondered on this since the first story broke, but can a company be liable for hosting partial files? A lot of the links i see for rapidshare are partial archives. By themselves they do no harm

Re:*.R00 (2)

Tim C (15259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859772)

Well, copyright prevents you from sharing a chapter of a book just as it does the entire book, so I suspect the same principle would apply to partial archive files.

Re:*.R00 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34860006)

Not trying to be a smart-ass, but where does it stop? A paragraph, a sentence, a word?

Re:*.R00 (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860014)

You can read the chapter without reading the rest of the book. Archive bits, on the other hand, are useless without a complete set.

Re:*.R00 (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860210)

This depends on the content. If the book is stored in multiple chapters and spread over 3 RAR files you most definitely can extract some of the chapters even if you only have the middle RAR file at your disposal. If the file is MPEG video then you can extract part of the video and play it too. You'll have audio sync issues and inability to seek but hey you have some content to work with.

Everything can be used for Piracy. (4, Insightful)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859486)

Everything can be used for "Piracy".

Before we had tapes, then Floppies, then CDs, then P2P and websites...

I can send illegal files by email, by handing them over on a thumb drive...

Its easier if we just add "Everything" to the list of Piracy and let it be done.

Re:Everything can be used for Piracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859582)

Im already preparing pigeons with papers with 0's and 1's of illegal content

Re:Everything can be used for Piracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859696)

And I'm already preparing my monitor tools to check out all pigeon traffic and bring legal action against the sender and the receiver of the pigeon if those 0's and 1's are copyrighted.

Re:Everything can be used for Piracy. (3, Informative)

Drethon (1445051) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859918)

Yeah, the open pandora gaming system http://www.openpandora.org/ [openpandora.org] got blocked on e-bay for a while as a pirate system that could play imports. After some discussion the pandora people were able to get e-bay to understand it is simply a tiny linux laptop and has little more/less capability than any other computer being sold on e-bay...

Re:Everything can be used for Piracy. (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860444)

Is that thing actually getting sold finally? I've seen the release date pushed back over and over again and I'm reluctant to spend money on what might just be an elaborate scam.

RapidShare (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859490)

RapidShare has saved my bacon more than once when my radio station server was borked and I couldn't ftp to it, so I uploaded my news stories to RapidShare and the news director could get my stories before the deadline for final editing (and I got to be the tech hero).

I've also used it for sharing my personal files, photos, video, etc. with friends all over the world.

RapidShare is a great service for legitimate uses.

Same here (2)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859522)

FTP down, nonexistent or blocked in a client's building. You need to transfer a few hundred megs of data. Rapidshare to the rescue.

Re:Same here (1)

jovius (974690) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859642)

I read that you were locked in a client's building. I can confirm that at least your data is getting out .

Uncorrelated... (0)

MagnusE (1019984) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859534)

Piracy? RapidShare? NOOOOOO!!!...

No search? Yeah right. (1)

jack2000 (1178961) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859564)

While it may now offer a function to search, other sites do. For example 4chan's automated scraper that catches rs links posted all over it and offers them for search via /rs/. There are other less legit sources for rapidshare searching but why even bother. There are way more convenient ways to find specific data.

Re:No search? Yeah right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859828)

filestube.com is pretty good...

Missing the point (3, Insightful)

ProbablyJoe (1914672) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859600)

Sure, RapidShare is used a lot for copyrighted material, but it's not as if it's their doing. On the contrary, they seem to make a lot of effort to remove copyrighted material - at least a lot of the links I see are deleted. Whether or not this is them specifically searching for it, or it being reported, I have no idea.

What next? FTP is used for uploading copyrighted material too. What an evil protocol.

Slashdot loves car analogies right? Clearly cars that can drive over the speed limit are also to blame for speeding.

does Porn count as "legitimate interest"? (2)

deisama (1745478) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859616)

Didn't even know they had any piracy on there. Maybe the porn is meant to distract people from noticing?

Re:does Porn count as "legitimate interest"? (1)

jaggeh (1485669) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859686)

The porn is pirated...

How do they know a minority pirate? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859660)

If Rapidshare doesn't inspect its users' uploads, how do they know that only a minority of uploads are pirate? Genuinely stumped for a good hypothesis here, just trawling the web for Rapidshare links and classifying them doesn't strike me as an easy thing to automate.

Re:How do they know a minority pirate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34859870)

The acknowledged (reported) copyright files get taken down, the rest are classified as legitimate as they should be.

Re:How do they know a minority pirate? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859922)

It's exactly as it should be as far as accusations of mischief by the content providers are concerned, but that's likely to comically underestimate the amount of actual piracy that's going on.

This article is meaningless (1)

uxbn_kuribo (1146975) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859712)

RapidShare actually seems pretty gung-ho (and somewhat efficient) about removing copyrighted content, so I can understand their outrage. They've made alot of effort to ensure that what copyrighted content does get uploaded is removed to the best of their ability. I mean, hell, YouTube does the exact same thing, and you can almost certainly find copyrighted material there right this minute. I would reckon that Google is used to an extent in piracy. How many people do you think find cracks via google? And anyway, there was a time when UseNet was the most active means of software piracy. Does that mean that UseNet should have been shut down? (Trick question: most people don't use UseNet anymore anyway)

Re:This article is meaningless (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859958)

There is one key difference: Google has enough skilled lawyers that the copyright organisations know not to mess with them. Rapidshare is small fry, and can easily be crushed beneath their expensive designer boots.

Rapidshare? Are you kidding? (2, Insightful)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 3 years ago | (#34859944)

I guess their data is just out of date.
Maybe a year ago you could have seen a lot of traffic on Rapidshare, but slow speeds, low filesize limits and long wait times have made Rapidshare go the way of MySpace.
Now you have a completely different set of players, there's Hotfile, Fileserve, Netload, Filesonic, Depositfiles, and a whole bunch of others.
If you go to a site that posts such links you'd be hard pressed to find one Rapidshare link in fifty.

And I bet the **AAs are just about getting ready to do something about Rapidshare.

go after "linkers", not "storers"? (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860182)

When someone calls his favorite episode of House HS1E8.rar and uploads it with a password to rapidshare, he is not breaking any laws. He just wants to be able to access it from everywhere he goes using whatever device with whatever limited memory.

The laws could be broken when he or someone else who deciphered a very cryptic name of the file and a sophisticated password ("monkey") posts a link on his blog:

Check out my favourite episode of House (Season 1, episode 8): Download here [rapidshare.com] . Use the usual pass, guys.

This is the actual moment of so called "illegal" "sharing".

There are many reasons why MPAA (probably!) won't go after linkers, the legal challenges would be insurmountable.

The tide is definitely against ??AA folks. The content they distributed is easily redistributable and the traces of it quickly disappear in the vast ocean of Internet. Besides, they are not dealing with separated people, they are dealing with an anonymous spontaneous self-organized structure.

This structure is like Al-Qaida of Internet: (1) it has very loose, very horisontal organizational structure and (2) it's very popular among vast army of moral and physical supporters.

No wonder ??AAs act like our previous president: they go after storage providers (say, analogous to Taliban of Internet) or completely irrelevant guys (they demand their "fair share" from ISP's, for example, evil they are, like Saddam's of Internet).

Rapidshare does respond to complaints (2)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | more than 3 years ago | (#34860388)

Rapidshare does remove content that has been flagged as illegal. How does it find out? It gets reported, or the copyright holder files a complaint with them (with the offending links in question, obviously). They have never condoned piracy, and always take it seriously. Is it convenient to upload files? Sure, I'll give you that. Is it harder to upload illegal files than legal ones? Unlikely. They can't comb through all their uploaded files manually; that's just silly. Filenames would be useless too. Even if someone named their file 'adobe_photoshop.rar', that isn't grounds for removal. As long as they don't promote piracy, it's simply unjust to accuse them of such, regardless of how many people do break the law with it. Many, many things can be used to break the law. That doesn't mean we can go after everything.
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