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Rapidshare Loses in Court – Must Proactively Remove Copyrighted Content

Rapidshare Loses in Court – Must Proactively Remove Copyrighted Content

The long awaited court ruling has arrived and it may be very bad news for the ever-present content hosting website Rapidshare. A court ruled recently in Germany that the website must not only take down content based on a legal claim, but proactively take down copyrighted content on it’s own.

It was only yesterday that the subject of file-hosting came up in a discussion about link sharing. A report from P2P-Blog pointed to a German court ruling (German) that said that not only does the file-hosting service has to comply with copyright complaints, but also check every file for copyright infringement. Rapidshare’s argument that it is already fighting copyright infringement appears to have not worked. From P2P-Blog:

The company also has to “proactively check content before publishing it” if there have been similar infringements in the past. Rapidshare has to log and check IP numbers of potential infringers as well, according to the court decision.

Rapidshare has been using a MD5 Hash filter to prevent the upload of previously removed material, and it told the court that it it has six employees working full time to remove infringing content. The Hamburg court however ruled that this was not sufficient because infringers would only have to change a few bytes of a file in order to circumvent the filter.

Th court also ruled that Rapidshare cannot argue that it is impossible to stay in business if it would have to check every single file. “A business model that doesn’t use common methods of prevention cannot claim the protection of the law”, the decision reads.

The news may come as a major blow for some who use the service to share files since the site has been one of the most popular services of choice for hosting content and posting links in blogs and forums.

Critics say that the ruling makes no sense because password protected archives would be extremely hard to check in the first place.

Still, the market for file-hosting services is a wide open one with many other sites hoping to take over the top spot as the number one file-hosting service. So even if this move well and truly means the end of Rapidshare, it may be a click away from being replaced from other contenders like MegaUpload.

Others might point out that the ruling may have a chilling effect on web-based services hoping to start up in Germany given that if a service has to check everything for unauthorized content, how can there be any hope for privacy with that service? What about, going along the lines of RapidShare’s argument, additional cost overhead with the need to suddenly have a work-force to go through a service with a fine-toothed comb, looking for any possible misuse of its service by its users?

The lawsuit against RapidShare was filed by GEMA, a German copyright collective whose responsibilities include collecting sampling forms for re-use in derivative works.

Then there is the question of how much things will change in the first place. Many users post non-major record label content on the file-hosting websites. Independent content has built a reputation over the years for being less lawsuit-happy over copyrighted works online. Many of the producers behind the content generally have a more open approach mainly because piracy has been known to bring listeners to their content – something that would otherwise be difficult to impossible with the state of traditional radio and MTV these days.

At this point, it’s too early to tell what the fallout will be exactly, but the idea of logging IP addresses might ultimately be a deterrent for users whether or not they intend to use the service for sharing copyrighted works or not.

For those who think that copyright holders won a major victory here in the so-called war on piracy, there is the one tiny little note that suggests that knocking out one hosting company isn’t exactly the end of file-hosting altogether (link to Wikipedia’s list of file-hosting companies deemed “notable”)

In any event, it’s extremely easy to conclude that this latest legal blow serves no real purpose in the grand scheme of things.

Jorge A. Gonzalez
Founder of ZeroPaid.com and various other websites. Follow me on your favorite social network. Twitter | Google Plus
open_universe
open_universe

Memory storage is going to be ridiculously enormous in a few years. Here's what will happen:You will be able to get terabytes of storage in a box the size of a deck of playing cards within 10 years. When that happens people are going to PHYSICALLY TRADE movies music warez etc. Colleges will see this happen FAST. Sure it is much slower than using the Internet but cops would need probable cause to seize such an object. Face facts the RIAA MPAA business model is dead. No Internet? No problem physical trading will occur. People will visit friends in other cities other countries etc. and trade.

manakazero
manakazero

This is hardly the end of internet filesharing.

Christoph
Christoph

This is stupid. Rapidshare.com is registered in switzerland. How can a german court has an effect on a company wich not even locatedin the european union? I hope they just mean Rapidshare.DE . If the GEMA gets crazy the million of Filehosters located in germany will use servers in other countrys like dubai or china...stuff like that.

TheRealMcCoy
TheRealMcCoy

rapid share is just a vulnerable as youtube is...they host the people's content so it will be there for as long as they aren't forced to take it down. I'm not even sure it will matter where it hosted any more as long as it's accessible buy the country the content was created in they will kept making demands some will get through like this one did... = (

Laureate
Laureate

@ Intellectual copyright holder - are you using literary license in your commentary? Please define intellectual!steel –noun --Any of various modified forms of iron, artificially produced, having a carbon content less than that of pig iron and more than that of wrought iron, and having qualities of hardness, elasticity, and strength varying according to composition and heat treatment: generally categorized as having a high, medium, or low-carbon content.steal v. stole (stl), sto·len (stln), steal·ing, steals v.tr. --To take (the property of another) without right or permission.

Dog
Dog

Its Dog eat Dog out there...ill be downloading pirated material till i die.. they will never fully stop it and im glad... FUKIN LOVE IT!!!!

Intellectual copyright holder
Intellectual copyright holder

Hey "calm and collected"If that were the case then people like me would be happier. However that is not the case. You dont buy my product when you can get it for free. I work hard to put a product out there and people steel it. If its good enough to steel than why not pay for it? instead I get one sale that gets shared with millions.What do you do for a living? What if I stole the product of your hard labor?Would a store owner be happy if I walked in took a magazine and told him I would be back to pay for it tomorow if I enjoyed it?

calm and collected
calm and collected

Hey "pissed off",Take a chill pill. Why don't you start putting 10 good songs on your album and guarantee my money back if I'm not satisfied within 30 days. I'll gladly go and buy your album. Until that happens I'll download and listen and if I like it, I'll go and actually buy a legal copy.

pissed off
pissed off

This site and the owners should be shot for ruining what bands work hard for and ripping themoff..I hope they all die a painfull death. Idiots

Jared Moya
Jared Moya

You cant compare physical and digital piracy, the difference being perceived and actual losses.



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