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Media Government The Courts News

Rapidshare Ordered To Filter Content 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the hope-you-like-busywork dept.
A Cow writes "TorrentFreak reports that the Regional Court in Hamburg, Germany, has ruled that file-hosting service Rapidshare must proactively filter certain content. Music industry outfit GEMA asked the court to ban Rapidshare from making 5,000 tracks from its catalogue available on the Internet." Reader biabia brings an update to a related case in Italy involving four Google executives. The issue in that situation revolves around Google's response time in taking down a video that was deemed to be a privacy violation. Google is worried that a verdict against them could lead to mandatory pre-screening of all public videos that are uploaded onto their websites. Those proceedings have now been postponed until late September.
Update: 6/24 at 17:45 GMT by SS: The article originally reported that Rapidshare was fined $34 million. No such fine has been imposed — $34 million was the estimated value of the tracks hosted on Rapidshare.
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Rapidshare Ordered To Filter Content

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  • Imbeciles! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jack2000 (1178961) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:18PM (#28454913)
    Judges really have no clue of how internet hosting works, do they?
  • by realcoolguy425 (587426) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:22PM (#28454983)
    Hell I'd go out of my way to protect everything and anything if there was a reasonable time before it fell into public domain. I keep thinking about this issue a lot, I think the solution needs to involve the copyright owner paying in money, very very small sums for the first few years, but leading to much larger sums as time moves forward. Hopefully until they opt to just let it fall into public domain because they have already made a profit on their works. (Anyone else sick of the current Mickey Mouse copyright laws we have now?)

    Anyway, maybe something like years 1-4 $100 years 5-8 $1000 years 8-10 $40000 then we could just say something 1 million per year for every year there after. So either way, the work will benefit the general public (as was the original intention of copyright law). If the work is so wildly successful it will raise money. If the work isn't that great, it gets put into public domain sooner, so it can be built upon. Anyway, maybe I'm crazy, I don't like to see this kind of over-regulation of thought anyway. However if we WERE going to provide the protections that copyright holders want, I would greatly prefer a system based on this.

  • But How? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Voyager529 (1363959) <voyager529@yaPERIODhoo.com minus punct> on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:22PM (#28454987)
    What is the viable solution to this? If they solely delete known instances of the data in question, they will be uploaded again in no time. If they add a keyword-based filter, then it'll just become like Napster in its dying days where files are intentionally misnamed enough to skirt the filters, or given random names entirely and linked to elsewhere. If they do hashing, uploaders will use RAR/passworded RAR/encrypted RAR archives. It's a cat-and-mouse game that becomes the prime example as to why, in one of the few glimmers of common sense in the DMCA, services like Rapidshare are exempt from getting brought to court for hosting copyrighted content, as long as they take it down if asked by the copyright holder. Hosting the files is the job of Rapidshare. Policing them isn't.
  • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mastadex (576985) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:22PM (#28454991)

    Once you start hitting the Obvious Targets - RapidShare, MegaUpload, etc - the content will be pushed further underground such as Torrent websites. This is the same thing that we saw with ThePirateBay when it was under fire. Mininova and other websites took over as the leading Torrent hubs.

    Trying to silence the masses is impossible.

  • How to filter? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EvilToiletPaper (1226390) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:24PM (#28455031)
    For a typical rapidshare download, the files are names something weird, fragmented into multiple tars/rars and they're mostly password protected. The user gets all this info from the site that provides the links. The rapidshare servers themselves seem oblivious to the content of the files.

    How will rapidshare enforce filtering? crack passwords for every rar, open the content, view it, check it against existing copyright works? I doubt if filtering will deter any illegal file-sharing on rapidshare at all.
  • Which Rapidshare? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:25PM (#28455055)

    Would this be rapidshare.de or rapidshare.com ? They are significantly different.

  • Re:Surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:29PM (#28455135)
    Why would anyone choose that over Bittorrent

    Because with BT anyone can see who (or which IP) is downloading what. People have been busted for using BT, not for RS as far as I know.

  • Re:Imbeciles! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:35PM (#28455245)

    No, they're applying laws that were written before copying and distribution of intellectual work became an integral part of our lives. If anything, blame idiotic politicians. Once we have laws that make sense, we can move to blaming judges. I'm not holding my breath.

  • Re:Imbeciles! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @01:43PM (#28455393)

    No you DO blame judges because they are only supposed to apply law based on the orginal intent of it when it was written. That means that these judges are idiots or activists; rewriting law how they see it should apply to cases that law has not been written for. Judges don't have to and are not supposed to only take dictionary meanings of written law and apply it, so it is their fault just as much as the idiot politicians and lawyers... basically anyone with a law degree is at fault.

  • by melikamp (631205) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @02:10PM (#28455953) Homepage Journal
    BT is better than Gnutella, imho. The search happens on a website, which can also provide feedback (boards) and some form of authentication. Here [thepiratebay.org], for example, you can see little green and purple skulls indicating that the torrent was uploaded by a "trusted" person, whatever that means. Decentralized for the sake of decentralized is nice on paper, but the actual result is often significantly less efficient than a more structured platform. Freenet & Gnutella vs. torrents, YACY vs. Google, etc.
  • by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @02:34PM (#28456291)
    I'm very much in favor of copyright reform, including shorter terms.

    But, while interesting, the "tax copyrights" idea brings in a new set of problems. Like many regulatory systems, it can end up favoring the big players (big business, rich people, etc.) because they are usually best able to game any system you devise (because they have the money and lawyers necessary to "work the system").

    The system you describe would restore some balance in the competition between medium and large corporate copyright holders. It is self-correcting: only truly valuable copyrights are maintained, and the rest are freed to the public. But in this system, small players (small businesses, individual creators, struggling artists) are marginalized. For instance the vast majority of amateurs wouldn't bother to (or, really, be able to) register. This means that their creativity would be fair game for massive companies to use as they will. Some content may be so trivial that it doesn't matter. But there is a huge middle ground where the creator won't really be able to pay the fees (because they are not big and powerful enough to monetize it), but it would be grossly unfair to then let big companies monetize the works (even though other big companies could compete by also monetizing it).

    There would be innumerable blog posts, essays, photographs, music samples, and so on... that would be unprotected. Again as a copyright reformist I actually think laxer protections are often a good thing. But in the "tax copyright" system the problem is that it becomes asymmetric: the big players can maintain their control but the littler players cannot. The notion of an artist maintaining some measure of artistic integrity, even for a short while, will be gone... unless the artist aggressively monetizes their work so as to pay for the fees (which, in many cases, would result in another kind of "loss of integrity" for the artist).

    One can then go back and further tweak the rules (exceptions based on size of work, estimated value, artistic vs. commercial intent, etc.). But adding more and more rules often continues to favor the big players, who have the time to mine the laws for loopholes, argue their cases in court, and lobby for legal tweaks. Meanwhile the little players are left utterly confused by the labyrinthine laws (as is currently the case). My point here is only that these issues are actually quite delicate, and we have to be rather careful with what new system we put in place. Every system will have drawbacks. We need to make sure that the new drawbacks are not worse than the old.

    In that vein, I think a more gradual reform is safer. It is also, pragmatically, much more likely to be doable.
  • by steelcaress (1389111) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @03:56PM (#28457527)
    I don't care if it was positively stone-age. It was the fastest thing I'd used in forever. All of those other systems you mentioned ran slowly or not at all on my rigs. If I paid a pittance I could download scads of stuff, with no waiting. It didn't matter what my router was set to, how many seeds or peers there were, or whether I was sharing, or even what client I was using. Unlike the darknets (like DirectConnect) there was no idiot moderator who banned you if he didn't like you or didn't understand what he saw in your files. It's not the tech that's important here -- something can be the coolest thing in the world, but if it doesn't work it is useless to me. Rapidshare, Megaupload, etc work, and work well.
  • Re:Surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Omestes (471991) <[omestes] [at] [gmail.com]> on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @04:19PM (#28457867) Homepage Journal

    Freedom is the right to say what you want to say and do what you want to do so long as it has *some* ethical justification. Downloading stuff isn't that.

    I could probably come up with some ethical justification for anything, no matter how heinous, and I'm sure some large percentage of the population actually believes their ethical justifications for strange things.

    I personally have nothing against piracy anymore. I used to have some qualms, but I worked them out. A significant percentage of people still pay, and will continue to pay for crap. Its really hard to say that this ratio will change, since most pirates are young and tech savvy, and piracy is about as easy as it can get (give me 5 minutes, I'll find you a free copy of ANYTHING you want) right now. Distributing media is still VERY profitable, even with piracy.

    Until the various industries move into the digitial age, piracy will be around at roughly the same level it is at now. By "move into the digital age" I mean COMPETE with the various mediums that allow piracy. Before we say that it is impossible to compete with free, I'd like to point to services such as Hulu, iTunes, and Amazon, as well as concerts, and self-distribution. How much money did Trent Reznor make off of his various free (in every sense) offering? A ton, buy adding priced options that contains value-added features that can't be pirated. Sure small artists can't do this as well, but, small artists are also the ones who make the least amount of cash from giant labels, and thus are hurt the least by piracy (and probably gain the most, since the name of the game at that size is to grow a fan base).

    I owe nothing to record labels. It is not my job to support their business model, or give them money when I don't have to.

  • by blackest_k (761565) on Wednesday June 24, 2009 @07:06PM (#28460283) Homepage Journal

    There is one problem with public domain and that is it's near free and in competition with current works.

    Imagine a world where copyright ends after 30 years. So now anything 1979 or earlier can be legally downloaded watched read or listened to. Thats a pretty good cache of media, Led Zepplin hendrix the beatles the stones to name a few, most if not all of asimovs books, a huge catalogue of film Star wars would be PD (i think that was 77)
    The great escape, the italian job, and many many others.

    Now don't get me wrong for me I would love it, and there is more than enough available to mean i'd never have to spend a single cent on media again. Thats what today's content makers would have to compete with or would they?
    because even with silly length copyright laws I still rarely buy up to date media

    maybe current media will have to be supported largely by the young, pretty much as it is anyway.

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