RapidShare to Rights Holders: Let’s Sell Some Content

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Swiss-based one-click file hoster RapidShare wants to redirect users in search for pirated content to legitimate downloads, according to a report by Torrentfreak, which is based on an internal email supposedly sent by RapidShare CEO Bobby Chang. Torrentfreak is reporting that Chang approached representatives of unnamed entertainment companies with a proposal to convert pirates into paying customers. The file-sharing blog quotes Chang with the following words:

“If a user finds out that several attempts to download an illegal copy of a DVD are in vain, and if his several attempts to ’steal’ this DVD have just brought him to an online-store, he may finally be frustrated and willing to purchase a licensed version of this movie.”

Chang went on to describe that RapidShare already has technology for this kind of bait-and-switch in place, and is redirecting some of its users to RapidMovies, a download portal that was launched in beta late last year. We reported back in December that Rapidshare partnered with Warner Bros. on this project, and Chang actually linked to our article in his email, according to Torrentfreak’s Ernesto.

RapidShare did not confirm or deny the authenticity of this email when contacted by Torrentfreak, and a last-minute request for comment sent out by us today went unanswered. The company has been struggling for a while with rights holder lawsuits, with German courts issuing injunctions against the company seemingly every other month. German music rights holders sued RapidShare in 2007, and a German court recently ordered the company to remove 5,000 songs from its servers and prevent any further uploads of these titles, a decision that RapidShare has appealed.

The email quoted by Torrentfreak boasts that RapidShare has “several million users per day,” and RapidShare recently  announced on its web site that the company now serves its files with 600 Gbits/s.

Related content on GigaOm Pro: ACTA’s Take on Digital Piracy Is Nothing New (subscription required)

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