Websites object to digital piracy label

A study from MarkMonitor ignores the legal business practices of targeted websites, the owners say

Owners of three websites said to be involved in digital piracy in a new paper have objected to the label, saying they provide legitimate and legal services.

The paper, from brand protection firm MarkMonitor and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, measures the traffic at 91 sites it alleges are either engaged in digital piracy or in the sale of counterfeit goods. Forty-three alleged digital piracy sites generate 53 billion visits a year, the paper said.

The paper named three websites it classified as involved in digital piracy:, and Those three sites account for 21 billion visits each year, the paper said.

MarkMonitor's paper isn't the first time Rapidshare and Megaupload have been linked to pirated materials. In October 2009, the Association of American Publishers estimated that half of the pirated books found by its members came from Rapidshare, which allows anonymous uploads. Other groups have also identified Rapidshare and Megaupload as hosts of pirated material.

But Rapidshare AG, based in Switzerland, and a spokeswoman for both and, registered in Hong Kong, criticized the paper.

"This defamation of RapidShare as a digital piracy site is absurd and we reserve the right to take legal action against MarkMonitor," the company said in a 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."

Rapidshare offers takedown procedures similar to sites that aren't considered piracy sites by MarkMonitor, the company added. "RapidShare offers the exact same take down features to copyright owners as YouTube does," the company's statement said. "Now, where is the difference?"

Megaupload and Megavideo are also legitimate businesses "operating within the boundaries of the law," said Bonnie Lam, a spokeswoman for the sites.

Both sites include links on their front pages where copyright owners can ask to have files removed. The sites, which host billions of documents, photos and other files, comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), Lam said.

"In five years of operation we have not been sued by a single content owner because we are protected by the DMCA and similar legislation in almost every jurisdiction," she said in an e-mail. If content owners "would have legal grounds they would have taken us to court by now. We suggest that they attack us within the legal system and stop labeling us until they have something to show."

The sites don't condone online piracy, she added. "But it's a reality and not our fault," she said. "We provide free hard disk space in the cloud. That's it."

Rapidshare questioned the methodology in the paper, saying MarkMonitor's numbers ignore the legal traffic on the website.

"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," the company said. "Private customers use RapidShare to share their personal pictures, videos and documents or to make backup copies of their hard drives. Business clients rely on our services to exchange large files with colleagues at different sites."

Rapidshare customers who upload unauthorized material are "in the absolute minority," the company added. Rapidshare is working to educate policymakers about its business, the company said.

MarkMonitor stands by its classifications in the paper, said Te Smith, the company's vice president of communications. The paper acknowledges that some of the sites it classifies as involved in digital piracy offer takedown processes, but the action must be initiated by the content owners. "We believe the topic is important and deserves a healthy discussion," she said.

MarkMonitor employees hand-checked the sites before including their traffic numbers in the paper, she added. "We didn't want to be counting false positives," Smith said.

The Motion Picture Association of America said the MarkMonitor study shows the need for new legislation to protect copyright owners.

"As the report demonstrates, a small number of rogue websites are generating mind-boggling traffic in pirated content," Bob Pisano, MPAA's president and interim CEO, said in a statement. "Billions of visits to these easily searchable websites ... translate into billions in lost revenue and lost American jobs."

Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's e-mail address is

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags copyrightcloud computinginternetlegale-commerceintellectual propertyInternet-based applications and servicesMarkMonitorMegaupload.comBonnie LamAssociation of American Publishers

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?