Rapidshare forced by the court to filter more than 5000 tracks

By EDRi · July 1, 2009

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Deutsch: [Gericht zwingt Rapidshare, über 5000 Tracks zu filtern | http://www.unwatched.org/node/1450]

The file-sharing site Rapidshare.de has recently lost another case to the
German copyright society GEMA, being ordered by the Regional Court in
Hamburg to “proactively filter” more than 5000 tracks from GEMA’s catalogue.

In January 2008, another regional court in Düsseldorf had already found that
RapidShare was responsible for what its users uploaded to the service.
Hence, RapidShare implemented a screening process and maintained hashes of
files that were pulled down for infringement but GEMA was not contented with
this and went back to court.

GEMA created a software that can search web forums and extract links to
content that seem to infringe GEMA’s copyrights but Rapidshare complained
that the software did not work. “It’s questionable whether the application
can deal with mechanisms to prevent the scraping of links, open encrypted
files, accurately identify audio files or find links in forums that can’t be
accessed by search engines,” said Rapidshare CEO Bobby Chang.

In October 2008, the court decided the systems implemented by Rapidshare
were not efficient enough considering that “a business model that doesn’t
use common methods of prevention cannot claim the protection of the law.”

“The judgment states that the hosting service itself is now responsible for
making sure that none of the music tracks concerned are distributed via its
platform in the future. (…) This means that the copyright holder is no
longer required to perform the ongoing and complex checks,” was GEMA’s

The decision may imply that, in the future, user-generated content sites
located in Germany will need to take proactive, efficient measures to screen
copyrighted material.

“We do not consider the court’s decision to be a breakthrough,” said Chang,
who added:
“As other proceedings in similar disputes with GEMA have shown, there is
considerable disparity amongst the individual courts in some cases. Our
experience is that the courts of appeal tend to restrict the scope of the
decisions made by the lower courts.”

Rapidshare has announced that they would appeal the verdict.

Rapidshare to appeal German court decision (29.06.2009)

Rapidshare stung with 24m fine (24.06.2009)

German Court Orders RapidShare to Proactively Filter Songs (23.06.2009)

Achtung! RapidShare ordered to filter all user uploads (24.06.2009)

EDRI-gram: RapidShare needs to check every file for copyright infringement