RapidShare Case to Go to German Supreme Court

Music rights group accuses the Swiss file-hosting site of massive copyright infringement.

COLOGNE, Germany – In a case that could have wide-ranging implications for copyright law, a long-running legal battle between music rights association GEMA and Swiss-based file-sharing site RapidShare is heading to the German Supreme Court.

GEMA accuses RapidShare of massive copyright infringement because users can provide links to copyright-protected files stored on RapidShare’s online cyberlocker service.

In an initial ruling, RapidShare’s business model was declared illegal, but that decision was overturned by Hamburg’s higher regional court. The appellate ruling, however, requires RapidShare to monitor third-party sites that link to files on its servers and block access to files that are copyright-protected. Both RapidShare and GEMA hailed the appellate decision as a victory.

But RapidShare, which says it already monitors third party sites to prevent piracy,  said it would take the case to the Supreme Court. The group hopes to prevent compulsory, court-mandated monitoring of third-party sites becoming part of German law. The Supreme Court’s decision could have a major impact on file-sharing services in Germany.