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Guybrush
06-09-2006, 01:10 AM
I will go out on a limb here and guess that perhaps something in the region of 99 percent of Rapidshare's bandwith usage is either illegal or semi-legal. That may be a hefty estimate but the numbers are doubtless breathtaking. The company itself is, of course, perfectly aware of this fact and so should, one would expect, the RIAA and all it's peers be.
Rapidshare's Wikipedia entry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapidshare) even lists the "Unoffical Search Engine", Rapidshared.org, which currently has a Rapidshare URL for, among other things, Beyoncé's not-quite-freeware new album.

Does anybody know if any actions have been taken against Rapidshare or other file hosts, and if so what the outcome was? What do people in here think of the future for companies such as Rapidshare?

DigitalDjigit
07-09-2006, 01:49 PM
Interesting question.

The thing is, we've seen this before. Around 2000 there was a bunch of companies that would give you 100MB of virtual hard drive space. You could upload files. The idea was that you would use it for your own purposes but people would share files by sharing their logins. I am not sure what hapenned to them but they seemed to fade away soon after that.

There's always some way to share files and with all the torrent sites, rapidshare and the old mainstays ftp's, newsgroups there's more than ever now. The tide can't be stopped.

Guybrush
07-09-2006, 09:00 PM
There's always some way to share files and with all the torrent sites, rapidshare and the old mainstays ftp's, newsgroups there's more than ever now. The tide can't be stopped.
You're probably right, but I'm thinking of illegal files here, and that complicates matters somewhat.

Whenever one makes a copyright-protected file available to others over the internet one takes a calculated risk: with Direct Connect and Soulseek, for example, that risk is quite small, when using Bit Torrent it's infinitesimal. If the risks that come along with using these programs were to be increased then a whole lot of people would instead be turning to the "safer" alternatives (i.e. legal downloading). So while it's certainly true that the tools for commiting the crime will always be there, what is of more interest to me is at which point people start to sense that the illegal route is to hazardous to bother with. Using Rapidshare isn't hazardous in the very least, that is why so many people are using it, and that's why I think Big Business (for lack of a better term) is bound to crack down on them soon.

Accountability for torrents is a tricky one (which is the point, of course); I don't know the legislation in detail, and certainly not how it differs from one country to another, but I think it's fair to say that it will have to get considerably harsher in order for any counter-measures to start being effective. On the con side, most torrents are still quite slow compared to other means of file distribution, I very rarely get transfer-speeds exceeding 150kb/s, and most torrents that are older than a few months have next to zilch seeders anyway. This in stark contrast to Rapidshare's 1500kb/s+ speed and endless supply: I would argue that almost every record released this year can be found in its entity on some Rapidshare server somewhere, all you have to do is to find the right URL. Now, where the upholding of the legislation is a little complicated with regards to torrents it should be comparatively easy with file-hosts: one IP-number uploads an illegal file; one company hosts the illegal file. I have seen many files being removed from Rapidshare, resulting in a message like this (http://rapidshare.de/files/31723435/JT_FsLs_2006_by_LarryZ.rar) (guess which album;) ), but I can't help but feel that their effort to remove obviously copyright infringing files is half-hearted at most. To me the difference between an ftp-server and a Rapidshare-server is minimal, and I'm very curious as to if the owner of an ftp-server hosting FutureSex/LoveSounds would be treated as silky as Rapidshare seem to be. Again, only speculations here, that's why I was asking if anybody had any further information, maybe they're actually being chased with a blowtorch behind the curtains.

Also, there sure will be ways to stop all these activities whenever those spooky Big Brother trace-every-IP-in-the-country laws come into place, or so my computer-science studying friends are telling me. Anybody who doesn't believe that every inch of their computer's movements on the internet will be traced and filed in, say, fifteen years time is endlessly naïve.