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A German court has ordered the file sharing site Rapidshare.com to pay €24,000,000 ($33,600,000 USD) in fines and must now filter their content against copyright infringement.

According to a statement from GEMA, “[t]he judgment states that the hosting service itself is now responsible for making sure that none of the music tracks concerned are distributed via its platform in the future […] This means that the copyright holder is no longer required to perform the ongoing and complex checks.”  The ruling also blamed Rapidshare and similar sites for not taking enough precautions to ensure the removal of copyrighted material from their services.

This is a big ruling against the file-sharing community.  I know that many file sharers turn to sites like Rapidshare because they are too afraid to use BitTorrent.  The general consensus was that sites like Rapidshare were not targeted as heavily as peer-to-peer network and therefore safer to use.  This is obviously no longer the case.

Governments and ISPs around the world are working hard to combat piracy on the internet.  Whether it is a winning or losing effort the copyright holders do deserve reparations.  Now, I’m not claiming that being fined $1.9 million for downloading 24 songs is right, but so far the piracy issue hasn’t been fixed and this is a positive step for artists and producers.  The ruling also implied that “copyright holder is no longer required to perform the ongoing and complex checks,” which is again, good for them.

How do you feel about the Rapidshare ruling?  Leave us a comment!


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