RapidShare will soon be shut down if it’s unable to comply.
File-sharing service RapidShare has been dealt a blow by a German court and faces severe penalties if it fails to take appropriate measures against the uploading of copyrighted content by its users. The DÃ¼sseldorf Regional Court ruled against RapidShare last week in a case brought on by the German version of the RIAA, GEMA. GEMA hailed the decision as a huge victory, and concluded that RapidShare could face shutdown if it’s unable to comply.
RapidShare has long argued that it can’t be held responsible for what its users upload to the site. But the court disagreed, saying that the site must take responsibility for copyright infringement, even when the material in question was uploaded by its members. “This decision marks a milestone in the fight against illegal usage of our repertoire,” said GEMA CEO Dr. Harald Heker in a statement. “It sends out a clear signal that any services, which derive financial benefit from unlawful uses of our works, will have to take extensive measures to protect the rights owners and cannot simply evade liability by referring to the action of individual users. With this landmark decision, the way has been paved for instituting proceedings against other similar services.”
[via ars technica]
To comply with the rules and regulations, Rapidshare not only need to monitor each and every content being uploaded but also the content which resides on their server at their moment. This is really a big job considering the number of computer users that uses Rapidshare to share their files.
In US, web site operators can argue that the Safe Harbor provision in the DMCA protects them from liability as long as they remove infringing content after being presented with a takedown notice. But in Germany (and many other countries) there is no equivalent of that.
So, Rapidshare must take responsibility for copyright infringement, even when the material in question was uploaded by its members or it will be shutdown.
Are you a Rapidshare user? Will you just switch to another service? Have your say in the comments.