4shared Wins Court Case to Overcome Piracy Blockade

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Popular file-hosting service 4shared has won a court case against the South Korean authorities who placed the site on a national piracy blocklist. While 4shared's users occasionally host pirated files, the court concludes that it can't be seen as a service that is setup specifically to facilitate copyright infringement.

4sharedAs one of the largest online file-sharing services 4shared is closely watched by copyright holders who find their content being made available on the site.

Recently the site also became the target of an ISP blockade in South Korea, where it was added to the national ISP blocklist by the Communications Standards Commission.

4shared was not happy with this decision as it locked out many of its legitimate customers, so the company responded with an appeal with help from Open Net Korea.

After hearing the arguments from both sides, the Korean court decided in favor of the file-sharing service. The court found that a blockade is not warranted simply because it contains “some illegal content.”

According to local law it is not sufficient to show that a subset of the site’s users engage in copyright infringement. For a site to be blocked it must be setup specifically to aid piracy, which is not the case with 4shared.

4shared is happy with the outcome and is glad to be open to the public again in South Korea.

“We think it is a good result. It’s the first time we tried disputing in court with a state Internet censorship body,” 4shared’s Mike Wilson tells TorrentFreak.

“We believe that 4shared does enough to protect intellectual property and disabling access to our service for an entire country is not lawful,” he adds.

As one of the largest file-sharing services on the Internet the company has adopted a variety of measures to limit copyright infringement. This includes a fingerprinting system that removes pirated music files based on a unique audio watermark.

Still, copyright holders including the RIAA and IFPI are not eager to team up. Instead, the music labels reported the site to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), which put it on its annual overview of notorious pirate sites.

4shared informs us that it is considering reaching out to the USTR to set the record straight. The company also reached out to various music industry groups but thus far without a positive response.

“We tried communicating with RIAA and IFPI, especially because of their possible participation in our music identification system,” Wilson says.

“We did not receive any assistance, so we started with music ID by ourselves and in just one year it helped to reduce the number of copyright complaints by 16 times, while the volume of stored information is actually still growing,” he adds.

For now 4shared is happy that all users can access the site freely again, but it is also confident that it can shake off the pirate labels in the future.


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