RapidShare Scores Another Legal Victory

DUSSELDORF — A court in Germany has reversed a preliminary injunction against file-sharing service RapidShare, saying it doesn’t have to use a word filter to combat the sharing of copyrighted files.

Movie distributor Capelight Pictures won a preliminary injunction against RapidShare for hosting a number of its films.

The court ruled that RapidShare didn’t do enough to prevent the sharing of the films because it didn’t use a word filter. But RapidShare won on appeal arguing that common terms would cause too many wrong hits with a filter.

RapidShare also said that a filter would hinder people form saving private copies of the file as allowed by German law.

The court said that RapidShare didn’t have an obligation to stop the dissemination of download links and reversed its previous injunction.

RapidShare attorney Daniel Raimer said the ruling was another step in the right direction.

"The previously common practice of copyright holders to sue RapidShare on the off-chance there might be something to be gained from it, misunderstanding the realities it is operating within and showing contempt for its business model, will no longer bear fruit. The newest court rulings in Germany and the USA indicate this very clearly,” he told ArsTechnica.

RapidShare has won favorable rulings recently in German and U.S. courts. A German appeals court overturned another decision in May, saying that the service can’t be held responsible for the actions of third parties.

Also in May, the U.S. District Court in San Diego denied Perfect 10’s request for an injunction, saying Perfect 10 failed to prove RapidShare was infringing on the company’s copyrighted works.

RapidShare CEO Christian Schmid said copyright holders may want to reconsider whether it's worth their time to go after file sharing companies and file sharers —especially when they seem to be spending so much more on legal fees than what they're getting back in claim settlements.