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German Appeals Court Backs RapidShare In Atari Piracy Suit

In a blow for publishers trying to find a legal remedy to sites that distribute their games illegally, a German court upheld an appeal by file-sharing site RapidShare in a case of copyright infringement brought by Atari.
In a blow for publishers trying to find a legal remedy to sites that distribute their games illegally, a German court upheld an appeal by file-sharing site RapidShare in a case of copyright infringement brought by Atari. Atari argued that RapidShare must actively block the download of files that included keywords referring to protected works, including its game Alone In The Dark, which was being shared on the service. A February decision by a lower Dusseldorf court agreed with Atari's argument, but the Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf agreed with RapidShare's argument that keyword filtering would negatively impact legal file-sharing, according to an analysis of the decision by the IPKitten blog. In addition, the court found that manually checking all hosted files for infringement would be too onerous a burden to place on the Swiss-hosted file-sharing site. The court left unanswered -- and open to appeal -- just how much protection for copyrighted works RapidShare must offer to avoid being covered by Germany's "disturbance liability" law, which can sometimes hold service providers responsible for what is done on their networks. Last year, a Swedish court found three co-founders of The Pirate Bay guilty of "assisting in making copyright content available," with a penalty of a year in jail and over $900,000 in damages each. Last month, California prosecutors dropped their case against a man who sold and installed Xbox 360 mod chips that allowed the system to play pirated games.

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