Like most file-hosting services, RapidShare hosts a wide range of movies, music and software files that are distributed without the consent of the rightsholders. This situation has caused the company to be dragged to court on multiple occasions, but the file-hoster has often come out the winner.
In May last year a US court already ruled that RapidShare is not guilty of copyright infringement, and in the same month a German court ruled that company could not be held liable for acts of copyright infringement committed by its users.
Today, RapidShare booked another major win against a copyright holder. In the appeal of their case against game distributor Atari, the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf acknowledged that RapidShare already takes sufficient measures against copyright infringement.
Atari had asked for additional tools to prevent their game “Alone in the Dark” from being downloaded from RapidShare. One of the suggestions they made was a filtering mechanism that would search RapidShare’s database for keywords and delete files that would match.
The Court sided with RapidShare’s stance that such a measure would be unreasonable, since it would create a risk of also deleting legal files that match the same keywords. Other measures such as manual verification of ‘suspect’ files and the removal of links on third party search engines were also deemed to be impossible, unreasonable or pointless.
RapidShare’s lawyer and spokesman Daniel Raimer is pleased with the Court’s decision and said: “The ruling demonstrates once again that RapidShare is operating a fully legal range and has taken measures against the misuse of its service which go beyond the level that is legally required. We are confident that copyright holders will gradually come to accept this conclusion.“
The successes of RapidShare in Germany and abroad set a favorable precedent for other cyberlocker sites and file-sharing platforms, including BitTorrent sites. Together with RapidShare’s lobbying efforts in Washington the verdicts add to the legitimacy of such online file-sharing services.