RapidShare to tout industry’s best practices plan against piracy in Aspen

Raimer hopes the panel will spark solutions for how the entertainment and tech industries can bridge their differences and work towards reducing the spread of illegal copies of movies, TV shows and other content online. Meredith Baker, senior vice president of government relations at Comcast-NBCUniversal and a former commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission, will also participate in the panel. 

“SOPA and PIPA went too far and were not a realistic vehicle. I hope these types of laws don’t come back, that’s why I think it’s helpful to at last show how much (agreement) we can reach voluntarily and that’s by putting our heads together,” Raimer said. “If that’s helpful, laws like SOPA and PIPA won’t be necessary in the future.”

RapidShare called on the White House’s top intellectual property cop, Victoria Espinel, to continue encouraging cyberlockers, or websites that let people store large files using cloud technology, to develop best practices for combating piracy in a recent filing. In April RapidShare published its own set of industry best practices for cloud storage services and asked for feedback on them.

But content companies have argued that while best practices are good start, legislation is still needed because a voluntary industry agreement doesn’t have enough teeth to crack down on all the pirate sites outside the United States, like The Pirate Bay. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) also said the best practices RapidShare released in April fell short, arguing that the service still allows unlimited distribution of copyrighted files.

Entertainment lobbies have complained to lawmakers that cyberlockers are a growing hub for piracy. In a recent joint filing to Espinel, the RIAA, Motion Picture Association of America and National Music Publishers’ Association said cyberlockers “continue to be a business model of choice for copyright thieves,” and noted that “significant distribution of illegal content continues” on these services despite the shutdown of Megaupload.

Raimer argues that a strong industry-led framework can still be effective and that companies will want to join because it could help boost consumers’ trust in cloud storage services. It could also help companies if they run into legal trouble because they can say they agreed to play by a set of industry-developed copyright standards, according to Raimer. Companies that don’t sign onto the framework might not get that same cushion.

“That has meaning even though it’s not statutory law,” he said.

RapidShare has been trying to clean up its image in Washington after the Switzerland-based company found itself on the Congressional Anti-Piracy Caucus’ annual watch list of copyright infringing websites a couple years ago. The site hired lobbying firm Dutko Worldwide in 2010 to help revamp its image and tout the company’s efforts to combat piracy.


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