On February 4th 2010, a group of large book publishers filed a lawsuit against file-hosting service, RapidShare. The plaintiffs, Bedford, Freeman & Worth and Macmillan, Cengage Learning, Elsevier, The McGraw-Hill Companies and Pearson, are all large suppliers of textbooks.
Listing 148 titles to which these publishers hold the copyrights, the lawsuit demanded that RapidShare stop making available to the public user-uploaded versions of these books via its service.
On February 10th 2010, the District Court in Hamburg issued a preliminary ruling against RapidShare. The Court ordered the file-hoster to stop making available electronic versions of the text books within 7 days by removing all current titles and monitoring user uploads to ensure no more were uploaded. Failure to do so would result in the company being subjected to a fine of up to 250,000 euros.
However, according to the publishers who conducted searches of the RapidShare archives after the injunction was issued, most of the titles in the lawsuit remained available. With evidence of the breach of the injunction in hand, they asked the Court to impose fines.
Today, the Regional Court of Hamburg upheld a fine of 150,000 euros for breaching the injunction.
The Court stated that RapidShare “…culpably failed to take reasonable examination and control measures. These measures include the utilization of a word filter, which checks the file name during the uploading of files to the servers of [Rapidshare] with regard to whether the author, the title, the ISBN number of the publisher may be contained in this name.”
RapidShare was also ordered by the Court to install a word filter for new user uploads and is also “required to search the relevant popular external link libraries for links to files with the works in dispute.”
Dr. Ursula Feindor-Schmidt, an attorney representing the publishers, said that the measures imposed by the Court provide the necessary mechanisms to prevent copyright infringement on the titles detailed in the injunction and to “prevent businesses like Rapidshare from profiting from unauthorized access to and illegal distribution of copyrighted works.”