German court rules that RapidShare is legal
RapidShare, an online file hosting site similar to MegaUpload, was ruled legal by a Higher Regional Court in Germany. This ruling comes as a result of a long running fight between the file hosting company and a music rights group called GEMA. While the ruling is positive for RapidShare it isn’t without a catch.
In the last handful of years RapidShare has gone out of their way to cooperate with copyright holders in an effort to limit copyright infringement on the service. There have still been a number of copyright infringement lawsuits involving RapidShare despite their best efforts to limit uploading of copyrighted material.
Two weeks ago it was reported by TorrentFreak that RapidShare was being forced by the court to filter user uploads to the service. This was considered a huge defeat for RapidShare. Now that the final ruling has come down from the court the decision seems like more of a win for RapidShare.
In the Higher Regional Court in Hamburgh’s final verdict in the battle between RapidShare and GEMA the court said RapidShare’s business model is legal. RapidShare CEO Alexandra Zwingli commented on the ruling saying,
“For the first time the Hamburg Higher Regional Court has followed our line of argument on key points and has conferred legal legitimacy on our service, just as other courts have done over a considerable period of time. This is a significant result for us.”
The ruling went on to stipulate that RapidShare does not have to monitor user uploads to their service for copyrighted files. What they must do instead is monitor external websites linking to copyrighted files on their service. Copyrighted files which are linked to external are to be made inaccessible.
RapidShare claims that’s what they’ve been doing all along.
“That is exactly what RapidShare has already been doing for many years. If the Anti-Abuse Team identifies a download link on such pages which results in a file that has clearly been published illegally being on the company’s servers, the file in question is immediately blocked.”
Despite claiming that they already perform the actions required by the court RapidShare is still going to appeal the decision. The company feels they shouldn’t be forced to perform this type of external link monitoring by court order. The appeal will be taken up with the Supreme Court. Zwingli said,
“We are doing this of our own accord because we have a strong interest in ensuring that our service remains clean. We believe that being obliged to carry out such actions is questionable from a legal perspective. For this reason we will appeal the verdict to clarify the issue of proactive monitoring of external websites at the highest judicial level.”
If the case gets taken up with the Supreme Court and the decision forcing RapidShare to monitor external links is upheld it could set an interesting precedent for all file hosting sites
Do you use RapidShare? Have you seen their external link monitoring in action? Let us know in the comments.
3 Comments on German court rules that RapidShare is legal
- Posts: 6487
- Posted on: 30 Mar 12 15:19
|proactive monitoring of external websites|
- Posts: 5360
- Posted on: 30 Mar 12 16:20
Rapidshare should bill the GEMA and/or the copyright holders for each time they find
a link the court ruled they are to monitor.
- Posts: 30613
- Posted on: 30 Mar 12 17:52
I think you know what comes next....
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