After being described as one of the world’s most “notorious piracy websites” by the RIAA and MPAA, RapidShare has enlisted the help of Washington lobbyists to have its own agenda heard by lawmakers. RapidShare will now work with Dutko, a Washington-based lobbying firm, with the company looking to spend more time on Capitol Hill early next year.
This is an important first step against evolving tactics that now rely more on government involvement, with efforts ranging from new legislation to crackdowns against pirated goods, as anti-piracy campaigns are expected to continue into 2011.
RapidShare defended itself by saying it is willing to filter content when properly informed by copyright holders, similar to Google (which doesn’t seem to have much opposition from copyright groups).
RapidShare wants to be removed from the RIAA and MPAA’s “notorious” lists in early 2011, and hopes lobbying will help to reach that goal. These actions show some much-needed fight against the RIAA/MPAA from opposing groups such as RapidShare and similar sites.
This is an interesting attempt by RapidShare, but it seems unlikely the RIAA and MPAA will remove the site from their lists. However, it’s an important message to copyright groups and Washington that these groups are prepared to take whatever steps necessary to survive into 2011.
Copyright groups will always have the monetary advantage (opening up more doors to have legislation passed), but very little has been done so far to counter their efforts at the Government level. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and similar groups combat the RIAA and MPAA on several fronts, but file sharers are largely sitting back and waiting.
Proactive efforts such as RapidShare’s lobbying may lead file sharers to start paying better attention to these issues and might even lead to some writing to their representatives.