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Thursday, 25 June 2009

German file-sharing site fined 24m euros

The Register reports that a German court has fined file-sharing service Rapidshare 24 million euros for copyright infringement in respect of 5,000 tracks which were shared through the site. The court has held that it is the responsibility of the hosting service, and not the copyright owners, to ensure that copyright infringement was not taking place.

The IPKat has relatively little sympathy for file-sharing websites when they know that the main use for their websites is to exchange copyright material. However, he wonders what this judgment means for services like UTube where some files may infringe but others may either be completely original, or at least involve transformative use.

7 comments:

Francis Davey said...

Does anyone have a copy of the judgment I can feed through google translate? I'm afraid my German isn't up to reading the scanned copy that GEMA has made available and the Landgericht Hamburg don't appear to have it on their website.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the court didn't decide on damages. The judgement (merely) orders Rapidshare to refrain from making certain tracks publicly available and to bear the costs of proceedings. However, the value of the case was decided to be 24m euros.

Anonymous said...

The judgement is available at http://www.gema.de/fileadmin/inhaltsdateien/presse/pressemitteilungen/GEMA_RapidShare_Urteil_LG_Hamburg_vom_12062009.pdf in German.

Francis Davey said...

Thanks. I've tried my best to read through the GEMA pdf of the judgment but my German just isn't up to it and because its a scanned image I can't run it through google translate. I await it turning up on the Landsgericht's website with interest.

cabalamat said...

The IPKat has relatively little sympathy for file-sharing websites when they know that the main use for their websites is to exchange copyright material. However, he wonders what this judgment means for services like UTube where some files may infringe but others may either be completely original, or at least involve transformative use.

I think the principle that a service provider is liable for what people do with the service is a bit dubious. For example, I imagine that a large proportion of external hard disks sold are used to store infringing copies of music or films -- should the hard disk manufacturers be fined because of it?

Anonymous said...

Cabalmat - heading towards CBS Songs v. Amstrad territory here...

Must admit I've never heard of rapidshare. My view is that, in calling the website "The Pirate Bay", the owners clearly illustrate its intended use, but "YouTube" doesn't cross that line.

goldenrail said...

Cabalamat: As I understand it, that's the reasoning behind existing tariffs and other types of fees/taxes/etc. on portable storage devices in a variety of countries. In the US, I believe it is only on DAT tapes (due to some very specific wording in the legislation) but other countries, such as Canada, are more inclusive.

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