RapidShare publishes document that outlines the harsh measures cloud storage providers need to take to please copyright holders, including inspecting private files, not asking questions about DMCA notices, and always assuming the user is guilty
RapidShare has published a manifesto titled "Responsible Practices for Cloud Storage Providers", that aims to provide an anti-piracy guidelines for cloud hosting websites.
But the manifesto has already come under attack for being far too biased towards copyright holders, with the manifesto basically outlining a "guilty until innocent" approach to dealing with users.
Section 2a of the manifesto urges cloud hosting providers to treat all properly formed DMCA take-down requests as valid, without "second-guessing or evaluating of claims", and taking action immediately to remove any liability. RapidShare says this allowed cloud hosts to "step out of any dispute between a copyright claimant and an accused user", but critics argue that by taking the DMCA request at face value and taking the "appropriate" actions, RapidShare is in fact taking a side - the copyright claimant's.
Google similar employs a DMCA take-down approach that shoots first and asks questions later when it comes to removing search result listings. Even with properly formed, but obviously overreaching DMCA requests (something we at Digital Digest have recently been a victim of). Google has claimed in the past that 57% of all DMCA claims are done by competitors out to harm their rivals. By using a false DMCA claim to, for example, lock out a rival's ability to access and share legal documents, or to censor documents that paints an unflattering view of a company - it appears that this kind of anti-competitive behaviour may become commonplace on any cloud hosting service that adopts the same policy.
This "guilty until proven innocent" approach is explained even more clearly in section 2e, where in cases of "substantial" allegations, without proof of infringement, it is up to users to explain "why the suspicions are unfounded".
And in the worst cases, RapidShare says cloud hosting companies should reserve the right to inspect all user's files, even private ones not shared publicly, to search for evidence of copyright infringement.
RapidShare's renewed approach to copyright enforcement may be related to recent court actions taken against the company, as well as the government's highly publicized closure of rival Megaupload.