RapidShare is one of the world’s most popular file-hosting sites, and many have wondered whether the site could be next on the feds’ list of targets after Megaupload.
On Tuesday, we caught up with RapidShare attorney and spokesman Daniel Raimer.
FAST COMPANY: Do you think Megaupload was fairly or unfairly targeted?
DANIEL RAIMER: I guess that’s up to a jury to decide. I’m not a judge, and I don’t want to make any verdict. I’ve seen doing Megaupload doing things that we wouldn’t do, and that we strongly discourage, such as their heavy rewards program. But I don’t want to say that they’re guilty. It’s not up to us to decide that.
Do you think federal prosecutors will target RapidShare next?
I don’t think so.
Let me put it like this. The technology behind Megaupload and RapidShare may be similar, but this is also true for the technology of Microsoft’s SkyDrive or Apple’s iCloud, which is not too different from what RapidShare is. It’s uploading a file, and accessing it over the Internet, or even sharing at certain times with friends. The business from an ethical standpoint is really similar. The main difference is, what exactly is your business model? Are you aiding piracy? Is your intent to make money by attracting pirates and getting attention from copyright pirates? Or do you want to have serious customers and long-time relationships with satisfied people from all over the world, who trust you? That’s exactly what we do.
Do you check uploaded files against pirated content?
Yes and no. We have a very strict filter that recognizes content that is 100% identical to content that has already been taken down. So a file that is uploaded has to be the exact same file up to a single bit. It cannot be different, even by one bit. If it’s different, the filter will not recognize it. So, yes, we do have such a filter, but it’s not the type of filter that the content industry is asking for. They’re asking for filters such as the ones used for YouTube, where software tries to recognize a certain movie by certain characteristics. Our filter works differently.
There are RapidShare search engines devoted to helping users find links on forums and websites to pirated content on RapidShare. Do you try to stop them?
We do quite a lot. We have filed more than 50 lawsuits in order to shut these websites down. We have been pretty effective doing that. Out of those 50 cases, I would say we’ve won roughly 45 of them. The problem is that legal actions are tough. We have to prove their are trademark infringement. What we do right now is try to prove these websites are infringing with the help of some software we’ve developed ourselves to gather information on the content that is published on these systems. So right now, we’re taking a software approach, too.
Do you have any connections to Kim Dotcom?
No, I have never talked to him. I’ve never met him. I have never sent an email to him. I can’t speak for the whole company, but I’ve never had any ties to him. I’ve seen the guy in German television before he was doing Megaupload because he was notorious in Germany. But I don’t have any personal relationship with him, or even talk with him.