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Is RapidShare Next on The Piracy Chopping Block? – Tech Thursday

Just a little more than 24 hours after the sound thumping that the SOPA and PIPA bills got online and the subsequent tabling of them in Congress, file locker website MegaUpload was shutdown by the U.S. Department of Justice for alleged piracy of movies and music. The accusers, the same people that helped Congress write the SOPA and PIPA bills, the RIAA and the MPAA. Now RapidShare is thought to be the next take down.

Kim Dotcom Appears Before North Shore District Court
Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images

RapidShare is a lot like MegaUpload in what they offer. They offer users the ability to upload their files to a remote server, and then access them from anywhere in the world from another computer. You can even share files with other people. MegaUpload is accused of being complicit in offering copyrighted movies and music for download, and doing nothing about it. Even making a profit from it. Now people are looking at RapidShare as the next comapny ripe for a U.S. take down because they are similar to MegaUpload, but the head lawyer for MegaUpload, Daniel Raimer, says that they do look for copyright material being shared and do take down that content on their website. Sometimes in less than a few hours during normal business hours.

But Daniel is also saying that if RapidShare goes down, then the likes of The Box, Dropbox, and even Apple, Google and Amazon are at risk as well. All of whom have their own “Cloud” storage. All of whom allow average users to upload documents and files for backup or even to have access to from another computer. I use Dropbox myself, to share documents and other files with friends and family. Most of my stuff is just PDFs and graphics I have done for websites. Even some of my podcasts I produce. I could be like one of the many MegaUpload users who are locked out of their own files. Through no fault of their own, just because the company and service they decided to use, may have been sharing copyrighted files. What happens to those files? The Department of Justice isn’t saying anything. So right now, people and business are without any options.

The main point is that there is still legitimate use for these sites, and the RIAA and MPAA are looking for anything and everything to keep propping up their failed old business models. And they still stick to the outdated and useless business models in the 21st century. SOPA and PIPA were just an example of this. There will be more take downs, I have no doubt. But at some point, something is going to give, and we’ll see a fundamental shift in how these things are handled as well as regulated.

In the mean time, I would advise people to watch these events closely.Online freedoms and rights have been under attack for many years. This is just another attack, from a different side. Yeah, I may sound like that crazy dude on the street corner with a sign that says “The End is Nigh!”, but if you look for yourself, you’ll see what I’m talking about.

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