Germany: Filtering by keywords is not an obligation for a hosting company

By EDRi · July 28, 2010

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Deutschland: Hosting-Unternehmen müssen keine Wortfilter einsetzen |]

The Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf decided on 21 July 2010 that
RapidShare, as a hosting company, is not guilty of copyright infringement.

RapidShare has faced several cases in court for copyright infringement and
in December 2009 lost a case in a local German court to Capelight Pictures
movie studio which accused the site of not having taken all reasonable
measures to counter the illegal distribution of one of its films.

However, after RapidShare appealed the decision, the Higher Regional Court
of Düsseldorf overturned the 2009 decision. The court ruled that the hosting
company had already taken more actions against breaches of copyright on its
platform than it was reasonably expected to. After Capelight Pictures had
found on Rapidshare eight of its films, it requested their removal which
Rapidshare did and also blocked the account of the user having posted them.
It also took other measures to prevent a further violation.

The film studio claimed the hosting company could have taken further
measures but the Higher Regional Court decided that filtering by key words
was not an obligation of the hosting company.

The other measures invoked by Capelight Pictures were rejected as well. A
manual control over all files posted on the site was considered impossible
as it would impose to the hosting site an unbearable human and financial
effort and, at the same time, would bring harm to the users’ private life.
Blocking all files with the same extension (.rar for instance) would also
bring about over-blocking and furthermore, the format says nothing about the
content of the file.

“The ruling is a further step in the right direction. The previously common
practice of copyright holders (suing) RapidShare on the off-chance there
might be something to be gained from it, misunderstanding the realities it
is operating within and showing contempt for its business model, will no
longer bear fruit. The newest court rulings in Germany and the USA indicate
this very clearly,”stated RapidShare lawyer Daniel Raimer.

Christian Schmid, founder and CEO of RapidShare, also commented: “We are
also pleased with the ruling because it is connected to a claim for
compensation of costs. Copyright holders should therefore think very
carefully in future about whether they wouldn’t prefer to save themselves
some time and above all the expense of suing RapidShare for something for
which the company cannot be held liable.”

This is the second decision of the kind obtained by RapidShare this year in
Germany. The company also won a similar case in May 2010, in the US.

RapidShare Scores Another Win Against Movie Studio (22.07.2010)

RapidShare Wins New Procedure Against Capelight Pictures (22.07.2010)

Opposing keyword filtering, RapidShare won a victory in Germany (only in
French, 23.07.2010)

OLG Düsseldorf decides in favour of Rapidshare (only in German, 23.07.2010)