RapidShare under the microscope amid MegaUpload fallout

With MegaUpload facing irretrievable data loss later this week and rival services locking down their file sharing options, attention has turned to well-used but clandestine rival RapidShare AG and whether it will occupy the cloud storage vacuum or be next in line for the FBI's attentions. Worlds apart from the showy Kim Dotcom, MegaUpload's CEO, RapidShare founder Christian Schmid has focused his attentions on lobbying the US government, the WSJ reports, spending over $600,000 since 2010 to persuade them the site is a legitimate file repository and not a haven for copyright infringement.

"[Schmid] is shy" and "doesn't really like other people" RapidShare lawyer Daniel Raimer told the newspaper, after the founder declined to speak publicly on the MegaUpload saga. "He is not into chatting."

Nonetheless, plenty of copyright holders seem keen to talk to Schmid and his company. "We have lawsuits coming in and being ended all the time" Raimer conceded, "this is an ongoing battle." Despite those suits dismissed, RapidShare ended up on the 2010 International Piracy Watch List, prompting the file sharing site to employ a lobbying firm to champion its cause among US lawmakers. In contrast, MegaUpload apparently spent its money on luxury cars and weapons.

RapidShare operates an automated file-checking system which supposedly hunts down copyright-infringing files, as well as banning users found to be frequently uploading illegal content on a three-strikes system. Nonetheless, content owners continue to draw connections between RapidShare's tools and those offered by – and, it's alleged, rendered all but useless – MegaUpload.

Raimer says RapidShare has made no changes following the seizure of MegaUpload, though the company recently ceased its incentives program which rewarded frequent uploaders with gifts and subscription-free membership.