Court rules against German file-sharing site

Finds Rapidshare.com violates copyright law

COLOGNE, Germany -- A German state court on Tuesday found file-sharing site Rapidshare.com guilty of violation of German copyright law and set damages at about €24 million ($34 million).

In what could prove a key precedent, the court found Rapidshare, and by extension similar file-sharing sites, bear principle responsibility for ensuring copyright-protected material is not illegally posted on their servers.

The ruling was a major victory for German collection agency GEMA, which had brought the suit against Rapidshare for allowing some 5,000 protected music titles to be posted on their site.