One of the most popular file sharing services in the world, Rapidshare, has been ordered by a court in Germany to start monitoring uploads to their servers for copyright infringing material. And, just like all the other highly aggressive methods for preventing online piracy, is being criticized for the privacy invasion. At this point the order hasn’t been formalized in writing yet, and ARS Technica reports that Rapidshare hasn’t announced their intent for an appeal either.
Present Piracy Requirements
Presently, file sharing services are required to remove any infringing content they find on their servers…it is a common practice for pirated material to be removed. Now though, Rapidshare will be required to monitor all of their uploads and compare them against a list of 4,000 files that are known to be pirated material. Until this order there has never been a requirement for the services to actively monitor the members uploads.
Rights To Privacy
Rapidshare, and many other similar services, has been in the piracy limelight for some time now. While the corporate interests, MPA, and RIAA have been fighting to prevent the piracy they say is running rampant, the U.S. government has no requirements for these services to monitor the activity of their members. Apparently the German government believes the service providers to be responsible, but according to the EU’s strict privacy laws, there may be some contradictions.
The New Task At Hand
Some of the more popular file sharing services, like Rapidshare, have thousands of uploads globally every hour. And the monitoring of these uploads is going to be a monumental task…and the worst part is, if a pirated copy of something gets successfully uploaded, the consequences could be devastating to the company. Legal retribution could include loss of the domain, income sources being blocked, and even jail sentences.
There are already plans in the works for the RIAA and the MPA to monitor all the internet traffic in the U.S. They already have several ISP’s on board with their plan. Surfers that are using any kind of P2P, bit torrent, or Usenet technologies, will now be monitored…even though there are many legitimate, legal uses and users of the software globally.
More and more people are having to turn to privacy solutions to keep their activities online a private matter. Proxies and VPN’s can allow the surfer to enjoy the internet in complete privacy. When using VPN’s even the ISP cannot see the exact nature of your activity. As the piracy issue comes again to the limelight, we’re wondering who will come out on top…the government and corporations, or citizens demanding privacy.
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