RapidShare has reacted harshly to a report characterizing the file-hosting site as a home for pirated content.
In a study released Jan. 11, researchers from MarkMonitor crawled the Web for sites offering counterfeit and pirated digital content tied to 22 high-profile brands. The results included 43 unique Websites classified as digital piracy sites. An additional 48 sites were identified as selling counterfeit goods.
One of those 43 sites was RapidShare, which MarkMonitor cited as one of the top three digital piracy sites on the Web, with the other two being megavideo.com and megaupload.com. To fit the -digital piracy' classification, the domain needed to offer or point to one or more of the brands used in the digital content portion of the study for free.
But in a statement issued to the media, RapidShare called MarkMonitor's characterization "absurd."
"This defamation of RapidShare as a digital piracy site is absurd and we reserve the right to take legal action against MarkMonitor," according to the statement. "RapidShare is a legitimate company that offers its customers fast, simple and secure storage and management of large amounts of data via our servers."
"Apart from getting wrong what the company's business model is, there are some serious questions about the study's methodology," RapidShare continued. "For example, the authors conclude that RapidShare has to be the biggest digital piracy site from looking at the number of page visits, totally ignoring the fact that millions of customers use the service for perfectly legitimate purposes."
RapidShare also noted that MarkMonitor Vice President of Communications Te Smith told one publication she did not consider sites like YouTube piracy sites because they "have procedures in place where brand owners can take down the material." RapidShare offers the exact same takedown features to copyright owners as YouTube does, the company contended.
In response to RapidShare, Smith told eWEEK MarkMonitor stands by its research.
"The report did specify that some of the sites do comply with takedown requests and that those requests need to be issued by the content owner," she said.
RapidShare has fought court battles regarding piracy allegations during the past few years. RapidShare admitted it is not unaware people sometimes misuse its service to upload copyright-protected works to its servers.
These users "are in the absolute minority compared with those who use our services to pursue perfectly legitimate interests," the company said. "Furthermore, we take a great many steps to prevent and combat copyright infringements."