A post on TorrentFreak updates us on the continuing saga of the file-hosting site RapidShare
. The Supreme Court in Germany has apparently confirmed a regional High Court decision that had itself confirmed two earlier verdicts concerning the Swiss company:
The court clarified that RapidShare has no obligation to proactively monitor files that are uploaded by its users. However, the company is required to monitor external sites that link to copyrighted files on RapidShare, and ensure these files become inaccessible to the public.
In addition, the ruling noted that when these measures prove not to be effective enough, the file-hosting site should restrict the opportunity for people to use the site anonymously. RapidShare already logs IP-addresses but to decrease anonymity customers may also have to show proof of identity.
Both of these decisions are highly problematic. It shouldn't be RapidShare's responsibility to ferret out unauthorized copies around the world. And since it's clearly impossible for RapidShare to monitor everything online (that's the NSA's job...), the court presumably expects it to monitor only some of it: the question then becomes: How much? The risk is that the company could find itself being sued by copyright companies for not doing "enough." The second requirement is worrying because it could have ramifications for German whistle-blowers, say, who will be unable to store their documents safely on file-hosting sites like RapidShare. That's because the current decision will be applied much more widely than to just RapidShare, as TorrentFreak notes:
It is expected that the Supreme Court decision will have massive implications. Not only for RapidShare, but also for many other file-hosting services that operate in Germany. More on what will change exactly for RapidShare and its users will become apparent when the full verdict is released a few weeks from now.
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