File hoster Rapidshare has won a landmark court case in Germany. The Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf decided the company is not to be held responsible for alleged copyright infringements perpetrated by its users.
DVD label Capelight Pictures decided it was a bad thing users had uploaded movies to Rapidshare and took the company to court. Capelight Pictures was awarded a temporary injunction by a regional court, which has now been torn to shreds and thrown in the trash can by the higher regional court.
Links to downloadable files could not be guessed by other parties, and Rapidshare did not offer a search function nor an index of files. Word filters were also deemed to be useless as file names could be meaningless or ambiguous. The court also discarded blocking IP addresses as nonsense.
Rapidshare’s lawyer Daniel Raimer called the verdict a “landmark decision, as the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf disagreed with all decisions and intensively considered Rapidshare’s business model.” The court said that users are entirely responsible for content uploaded to Rapidshare, whilst the company itself could not be held accountable as an accomplice to copyright infringements. The safety measures Rapidshare had installed were furthermore deemed to be adequate.
“The court confirms Rapidshare is not responsible for the uploads of its customers. The decision shows that all efforts to stigmatise our business model as illegal will be unsuccesful in the long run,” declared Christian Schmid, who founded Rapidshare and by doing so made himself rather unpopular with companies which have positioned themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide.