Cloud-based file-sharing services like Rapidshare, Megaupload, and Megavideo have been under fire for years because of copyright infringing activity that occurs on their websites, but recently the level of scrutiny has increased to the point that site owners have decided to launch their own counter-campaign to inform people that their services are not the “piracy havens” that certain entertainment industry groups make them out to be.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, per se, was a new paper, published by “brand protection firm” MarkMonitor and the United States Chamber of Commerce, which measures the traffic at 91 sites which are allegedly engaged in pirating or counterfeit activity. Now, representatives from all three sites are speaking out in defense of their services.
“This defamation of RapidShare as a digital piracy site is absurd and we reserve the right to take legal action against MarkMonitor,” representatives of the company said 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.”
“The authors conclude that RapidShare has to be the biggest digital piracy site from looking at the number of page visits, totally ignoring the fact that millions of customers use the service for perfectly legitimate purposes,” the company said. “Private customers use RapidShare to share their personal pictures, videos and documents or to make backup copies of their hard drives. Business clients rely on our services to exchange large files with colleagues at different sites.”
Representatives from Megaupload and Megavideo shared similar sentiments.
Megaupload and Megavideo are also both “legitimate businesses operating within the boundaries of the law,” said company representative Bonnie Lam. She added that both sites have links available on their home pages where people can request that content be removed due to copyright violations.
“In five years of operation we have not been sued by a single content owner because we are protected by the DMCA and similar legislation in almost every jurisdiction,” Lam said in an e-mail. If content owners “would have legal grounds they would have taken us to court by now. We suggest that they attack us within the legal system and stop labeling us until they have something to show.”
Lam added that Megaupload and Megavideo don’t condone online piracy. “But it’s a reality and not our fault. We provide free hard disk space in the cloud. That’s it,” she said.
I think it’s great that these companies are finally asserting themselves against the rhetoric spewed by the RIAA and MPAA. Maybe reps for Megaupload, and Megavideo should consider taking up political lobbying like the folks at Rapidshare have decided to do this year. Yes, piracy is an issue that plagues the entertainment industry, but legitimate businesses shouldn’t have to sit back and take the blame.