RapidShare To Be Shutdown?

German based RapidShare seems to have a bit of legal troubles on their hands. German music companies have taken Rapidshare to court and have secured an order to stop its users from downloading infringing music tracks from its servers, or be shut down.

Last week we reported on rumors that Rapidshare had, or was about to be, shut down, rumors that now look likely to resurface. The company, one of the world’s largest ‘one-click’ file hosting services, has lost a copyright infringement case against German performing rights outfit, GEMA. Representing a claimed 60,000 members and more than 1 million rights owners worldwide, GEMA has taken an aggressive stance in pursuing legal action against Rapidshare, trying to force it to be accountable for the infringing actions of its users.

For its part, Rapidshare has always insisted that it cannot be held responsible for these actions, such as when users upload copyright works (in this case, music) to their servers for subsequent downloading by others.

On 23 January 2008, the district court in Düsseldorf (Landgericht) disagreed with this assertion after GEMA succeeded in convincing the court that Rapidshare should take responsibility for infringements carried out within its service.

GEMA are trying to imply that as a result of the decision, Rapidshare will be forced to take preventative action to stop GEMA works from even getting onto their servers, rather than a DMCA-style after-the-fact removal. GEMA says that if Rapidshare are forced to filter they will likely end up with a service that’s not worth operating, so they may decide to shut it down completely.

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