Third-party file-upload services like Rapidshare and Sendspace, where any user can anonymously host large files, have been around for a number of years now, but they really only became a serious concern for the (international) music industry over the last 18 months thanks to the fact that you can now pretty much type any album’s name and the word “Rapidshare” into Google and locate a blog or message board hosting it for free. GEMA, Germany’s performing rights society, has taken a run at (partially) Deutschland-based Rapidshare before for copyright infringement, but it has recently issued a press release claiming that a Düsseldorf court has ordered Rapidshare to now make sure its users aren’t using its server hospitality for lawbreaking purposes. The folks at TorrentFreak are (naturally) suspicious of this claim without official court documents to back it up, but they do note that if it’s true, the order’s “instruction for Rapidshare to take preventative action is new, and despite another similar court case reaching a different decision.” Read this, all you .rar blog pirates, and lament.
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.
The GEMA press release has been published before the complete court decision, so it should be digested with at least a degree of scepticism, considering the huge amounts of spin employed by anti-piracy agencies and the music industries alike.
The general idea, however, is that if the court has decided that Rapidshare is responsible for pre-policing user-uploaded content, the effort involved will prove too great for the site to remain profitable for its owners. Thankfully TorrentFreak’s readers are at the ready with some MacGyver-esque ideas on how the embattled company can remain in business/continue allowing some guy with a Blogspot account to eventually host the full Gnarls Barkley album when it leaks in, oh, 72 hours:
6 Jan 29, 2008 at 10:49 by nom nom nom
People could just put passwords on the file and on the rar then change the name to something like “holiday 07″ and then batch file into a HD wallpaper and if rs sees where are all the “clicks” are coming from you can just use lix or summat…
11 Jan 29, 2008 at 12:12 by Anonymous
how about moving the servers to another country.. german copyright laws are rather draconian.. among all other issues they have with censorship etc.. it’s great that they have to shut down the entire site just because a few files are infringing.. it’s a wonder how they could stay in that fucked up country that long..
15 Jan 29, 2008 at 13:30 by qm2006
Because RS is run by Germans, still has a office in Germany and does business there.
They need to move completely to Switzlerland to be safe from the german GEMA.
But the general consensus seems to be good riddance to bad rubbish, because Sendspace et al are soooooo much better. Like, how dare Rapidshare demand your dollars for a “premium account” that allows you to download as much as you want, whenever you want? Doesn’t money changing hands kinda take the point/fun of out thievery?
Rapidshare To Be Forced To Shut Down Following Court Defeat? [TorrentFreak]