RapidShare Isn't Liable for Infringement, Federal Court Rules

Lyla Katz
SAN DIEGO — A U.S. District Court Judge this week denied Perfect 10’s request for a preliminary injunction against file-sharing service RapidShare.

The court ruled that Perfect 10 has not met its burden of showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its claim for direct and contributory copyright infringement.

Perfect 10 had argued that because RapidShare is offering unauthorized Perfect 10 images to RapidShare users who pay a monthly fee, it is violating Perfect 10’s distribution rights and is liable for copyright infringement.

RapidShare says it doesn’t sell content, rather, it is a file-hosting site that provides users with online storage space for their private files.

"The view that RapidShare does not promote any infringements of copyright, unlike other file-hosts, appears to be gradually catching on,” RapidShare founder Christian Schmid said. “It is a milestone for us that this is also happening in the U.S. We are happy that the court in California has not bought into the odd line of argument put forward by Perfect 10 and we look forward to increasingly emphasize the major difference between RapidShare and illegal share-hosts."

RapidShare also argued that it is not liable for direct infringement because any of Perfect 10’s images found on its servers were copied onto the servers by RapidShare users. Perfect 10, however, says RapidShare is itself violating the company’s exclusive distribution rights.

Further, RapidShare said it can’t be liable for infringement because it didn’t have knowledge of specific infringing material. RapidShare acknowledged that it did receive a disc from Perfect 10 containing the company’s copyrighted works. RapidShare said it tried but was unable to delete the files that contained Perfect 10 images because the disc didn’t provide information as to where those files were located.

The court sided with RapidShare saying, “the court concludes that plaintiff has not shown that RapidShare is failing to take simple measures to prevent further damage to plaintiff’s copyrighted works.”

The court continued to say that evidence suggests RapidShare is trying to find and remove infringing files and therefore, Perfect 10 has not shown that RapidShare is contributorily liable for copyright infringement.

U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff said, “To state a claim of contributory infringement, Perfect 10 must allege facts showing that defendants induce, cause or materially contribute to the infringing content.”

Huff said Perfect 10 didn’t show enough evidence to convince the court of inducement and that it couldn’t show the company would suffer irreparable harm if she didn’t order an injunction. As such, she said, the public interest would not be served by an injunction.