Popular file-hosting site RapidVideo has often been characterized as a piracy haven, something its operator fiercely denies. In line with this stance, the site has now started to ban visitors from what it sees as real pirate sites. To avoid liability and as preparation for Europe’s stricter copyright legislation, its operator says.
RapidVideo is a popular file-hosting site that specializes in hosting videos.
Similar to other file-hosting services, it can be used for good and bad. The bad, in this case, is uploading pirated videos.
Whether the site’s operators want it or not, that’s what many of RapidVideo’s users are indeed doing. A few months ago this resulted in a scathing report from Hollywood’s MPAA, which branded the site as a “notorious” piracy haven.
The U.S. Trade Representative didn’t adopt this recommendation in its yearly overview. Whether RapidVideo’s outspoken response had anything to do with it is unknown. However, the video hosting site has recently taken several measures which are are not typical for a “notorious” site.
In April we reported that RapidVideo had shut down its pay-per-view rewards program, which was one of the MPAA’s main complaints. This week the video hosting service went a step further, by banning referrals from popular pirate video indexing sites.
The site’s operator informs TorrentFreak that referrals from the German sites Kinox.to , Streamkiste.tv , Filmpalast.to and Movie4k.to are now actively blocked. Instead of the requested videos, users now see the following message, translated from German.
“I’m sorry! This portal is temporarily not available based on a copyright protection claim. Unfortunately, this content is not available in your region.”
The message is shown to all visitors from these four video indexing sites. They are shown based on the referring URL but, if these fail, RapidVideo is also considering adding IP-address blockades in the future.
RapidVideo took the drastic measure because it’s particularly concerned about the German legal concept of ‘Störerhaftung’ (‘interferer liability’). This means that a third party can be held responsible for someone else’s infringements, even when it played no intentional part.
Add in Europe’s proposed Article 17, previously known as Article 13, and you get a volatile mix of potential copyright problems.
“Article 13 is coming within a few months to 2 years, so the control has to become tougher, because ‘Interferer liability’ and ‘Article 13’ together are a bad combination,” RapidVideo’s operator tells us.
RapidVideo’s operator stresses that there could be more blockades like this when Article 17 is implemented throughout the European Union member states.
It is worth noting that the four targeted sites are all blocked by the German ISP Vodafone as well. This is also what RapidVideo mentioned to Tarnkappe as an additional motivation.
A video hosting service such as RapidVideo blocking ‘pirate’ sites is quite a game changer, to say the least. In the case of Kinox.to it appears to have had some effect already, as the site has removed all links to RapidVideo.
Movie4K seems to have taken another approach. When we tried to access a RapidVideo link from the site it went through an anonymous referrer service, which worked just fine.
But that’s the thing with blockades, there’s always a way around them.
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.