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The Courts Piracy Your Rights Online

German Court Rules Rapidshare Is Legal, But Must Adjust Content Policies 73

Posted by timothy
from the some-zwiespältigkeit-with-that? dept.
New submitter loosescrews writes "Online file locker Rapidshare is legal in Germany, but has to adjust its policy regarding infringing content, the Higher Regional Court in Hamburg has ruled. Rapidshare plans to appeal. Rapidshare was sued by the German copyright organization Gema which represents 64.000 copyright holders. After reading the verdict, both parties claim they are victorious."
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German Court Rules Rapidshare Is Legal, But Must Adjust Content Policies

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  • by _0xd0ad (1974778) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @12:34AM (#39532261) Journal

    It would have been nice if the summary had described the "adjustment" that Rapidshare is being required to make:

    The copyright organisation had asked the court to order Rapidshare to scan files during the upload process, but the court took another approach, ruling that Rapidshare must actively monitor incoming links from external sites to the files it hosts and take down any illegal files thus identified.

    I.e., if a warez site links to a Rapidshare file, then Rapidshare will deactivate the file.

    Amusingly enough, Rapidshare already did this, which is why warez sites typically don't allow posting clickable links. Non-clickable link = you have to copy and paste = no HTTP referer = Rapidshare is none the wiser.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Most of the sites I know of that index links to sites such as Rapidshare, use HTML magic to forward you to the link without a referrer anyway

      • @AC, if you are out there and still reading this.

        Most of the sites I know of that index links to sites such as Rapidshare, use HTML magic to forward you to the link without a referrer anyway

        I am relatively proficient when it comes to many things web/html related, yet I have never heard of being able to create a link that doesn't pass referrer information. After googling this topic for a little bit, all I see is that most modern browsers now pass the referrer info, even with target="_blank" or when the link is handled via javascript.

        That said, I am well aware that "The more I learn, the less I know."... So... Can you enlighten us on this HTML mag

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Can you enlighten us on this HTML magic to which you refer?

          rel="noreferrer" [google.com]

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          HTML magic is not really required (I dont think it is possible either). There are websites, whose sole purpose is to forward you to the link passed as a parameter. Pretty much every website uses such an "anoymiser" service. So your website redirects you to the anonymiser website, which inturn redirects you to rapidshare. Now according to rapidshare, the referrer is the anonymiser website, and it cannot know which website really sent you to them.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I am relatively proficient when it comes to many things web/html related, yet I have never heard of being able to create a link that doesn't pass referrer information. After googling this topic for a little bit, all I see is that most modern browsers now pass the referrer info, even with target="_blank" or when the link is handled via javascript.

          That said, I am well aware that "The more I learn, the less I know."... So... Can you enlighten us on this HTML magic to which you refer?

          it is rather simple, you write the link as plain text:

          hxxp://www.rapidshare.com/some/file.here

          the user then copy/pastes it, and replaced the hxxp with http, when they enter the url in their browsers address bar, there is no referrer information. It is not an automated solution, but it is something most users of forums and other sites that have rules about links are familiar with

        • by wmbetts (1306001) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @03:09AM (#39532711)

          double meta refresh no referer

          Google the above phrase and you'll get more information on it than you care to know.

        • by blackicye (760472)

          I am relatively proficient when it comes to many things web/html related, yet I have never heard of being able to create a link that doesn't pass referrer information. After googling this topic for a little bit, all I see is that most modern browsers now pass the referrer info, even with target="_blank" or when the link is handled via javascript.

          That said, I am well aware that "The more I learn, the less I know."... So... Can you enlighten us on this HTML magic to which you refer?

          http://anonym.to/ [anonym.to]

        • It's pretty trivial to do. You write a CGI script that redirects to the URL passed as a parameter and host this with SSL. Browsers don't pass referrer information to non-HTTPS pages when the preceding page was HTTPS (to prevent things like passwords or session IDs in GET requests being passed on to other sites). DuckDuckGo, for example, optionally does this to prevent other sites from seeing your search terms.
    • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @12:50AM (#39532325)

      Most sites I see rapidshare style linkage on uses anonymizer services to hide the referrer for exactly that reason.

      No reason to make the link unclickable these days.

      • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

        Unclickable?

        Triple-click, right click, F... opens the link in a new tab (and respects the no referrer). Does this not work on IE or something?

        • by thegarbz (1787294)

          Triple click this: http://www.slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org]

          Didn't work? That's the point. So people DON'T single click and hence pass on the referrer the rules are that the poster don't direct link without an anonymizer in between. It's more enforceable than asking your visitors not to click on links.

          • by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @03:42AM (#39532805)

            !!!! WELL THANKS A LOT SLASHDOT, you don't support unicode, but you turn my text post into a link even when I didn't add the a href tags. :-(

            • by toutankh (1544253)

              That's why you have to click on "preview" before you can submit. Apparently it's still not enough. Or did the preview show you something else than what we are now seeing?

              • by thegarbz (1787294)

                There's a preview? I just mash the button in the bottom left.

              • by hairyfeet (841228)

                I'm afraid the preview function often fails, at least it does for me, when I am trying to make a link that isn't clickable. it looks like its not gonna be a link but then /. turns it into a link when you hit submit, or at least it did when i was using the new layout which is one of the reasons I went back to the old way. When i put a link to a small site that i don't want /.ed I do NOT want it to be clickable as everyone knows there are plenty that won't bother with copy/paste unless it is something they re

            • by Hentes (2461350)
              Apparently slashdot still does it even if you set your post style to plain HTML. You can evade this by using the pre tag: http://www.slashdot.org/
              • Another way is to put it into <a> tags without href: http://slashdot.org/

                • by Anonymous Coward

                  The regexp in Slashdot is looking for http:/ at the beginning of the post or immediately following a whitespace character. Anything other than a whitespace character before http:/ will prevent Slashdot from auto-forming a link. This includes HTML tags; <p>http://slashdot.org</p> won't auto-link either.

                  The easiest way to avoid auto-linking is to just put <> before http:/. Slashdot will strip out the malformed HTML, but it won't auto-link.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      If they keep taking down files due to copyright violations, and those files are referred from particular websites, then they need to examine other files linked to from those websites.

      Making them cut and paste defeats the referrer as you say, but Rapidshare also kill accounts that have multiple violations against them and don't let an anonymous account be used for more than 10 downloads.

      IMHO, Rapidshare do their best to tackle the problem, and this extra requirement won't stress them particularly.

      No suggesti

      • But here's the thing: their demands never stop. It's impossible to police all the content, and even their current policies are bound to affect innocent users. They shouldn't be forced to scour warez sites just to make sure no one is copying anyone's precious, precious data. Even that is too much to expect. And if it's automated, it's bound to hurt innocents.

      • If they keep taking down files due to copyright violations, and those files are referred from particular websites, then they need to examine other files linked to from those websites.

        That might run against the privacy laws in Germany.
        A hoster must not 'inspect' the data of its users.

        And even then: Rapidshare can not decide what is a legitimate use and what not. You know, Rapidshare does not employ judges, to my knowledge.

  • Always amazes me (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Why is it okay for Rapidshare to make money off copyrighted content but not the creators? As some one that lives off copyrighted content why do they have more rights than I do? I spend years creating the content that they casually hand off to anyone with a computer. My creditors would point out that I'm far from rich yet the owners of Rapidshare make serious money off copyright holders. Take away the profits and the creators will vanish. I couldn't care less about the distributors I'm talking about the crea

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why is it okay for Rapidshare to make money off copyrighted content but not the creators?

      Troll much? No one said creators cannot make money off copyrighted content. In fact I see creators making money of copyrighted content every day. And it is not ok for Rapidshare to make money of content that it knows is infringing on other's copyright, either. The problem is they cannot know which files is infringing and which files is not. If they did, they would have been outlawed long ago.

    • What? They sell premium accounts, not copyrighted work. Should every site on the internet (or at least ones with ads/premium accounts) be shut down merely because there's a chance that there could be copyrighted work there?

      As a creator I'll tell you now if you give all the profits to groups like Rapidshare then there will be no new content.

      No new content at all? You're not the only creator in the world, you know. Not everyone does it for money. Just because you claim to be a creator doesn't mean your words are the be-all end-all of the debate.

      • by hlavac (914630)

        No new content at all? You're not the only creator in the world, you know. Not everyone does it for money.

        Yeah, someone will do it for free right? So, why not you? Go, spend 20 man years making a game and then give it away for free just for the good feeling of being creative... There are things that simply can not be free, because it takes too much to create them. Free silly flash games? By all means. Free Skyrim? No way.

        • Yeah, someone will do it for free right?

          Yes, they will. You can already see this with music, software, and various other things. He said no new content will be created.

          So, why not you?

          1) Irrelevant.
          2) Why not? Did you assume that I wasn't a creator?

          There are things that simply can not be free

          Sure they can. It might be unlikely, but it is 100% within the realm of possibility.

          Free Skyrim? No way.

          He didn't mention Skyrim anywhere. He simply said no new content. That implies none at all. That's what I replied to, and somehow you thought I was talking about AAA games.

        • by rioki (1328185)
          Glest [glest.org]? No further questions, your honor.
    • Re:Always amazes me (Score:4, Interesting)

      by aix tom (902140) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @04:35AM (#39532933)

      Just make your content as easy (or easier ) available than on rapidshare. Note that I said "easier" not "cheaper" or "free" just "easier".

      Sometimes it seems the priority one of the artists (or perhaps the distributors) is to PREVENT people from getting their stuff. Last Month I was looking for some older songs I remembered. No CD available at all, Only an MP3 on amazon.com I tried to buy it, but I wasn't allowed. So I had to spend about an hour tracking it down "some other way", since nobody was willing to offer me a option to actually buy it in a way that would have supported the artist.

      Last week I got shipped 5 Blu-Rays hat I ordered. Only 2 of them worked out of the box, for 2 others I first had to upgrade my players firmware first, the fifth didn't work even then but funny enough I had no problem ripping it and then watching the copy.

      So every time when I have to decide whether to buy or pirate, I have to take into account the amount of work it takes to get the actual purchased copies to even WORK. The only way out of this problem for customers AND content creators in my opinion to cut out the distributor middle-man. It used to be they were the ones who had better technical means to distribute content from the artists to the masses. But now every artist could have way better means to get his content to the masses, and in the end have perhaps $0.90 of $1 left over for himself.

      • by hlavac (914630)

        Just make your content as easy (or easier ) available than on rapidshare. Note that I said "easier" not "cheaper" or "free" just "easier".

        Proper response in a market based economy is to go create your own competing content and offer it at better terms, not to bitch about high prices.

        • Proper response in a market based economy is to...

          In what sense? Perhaps in terms of economic theory, but then again economists have been described as people who, when they see something working in practice wonder how it can work in theory.

          Anyway, the whole thing is so far from a market economy that it doesn't make any kind of sense.

          Copyright is a very artificial construct designed to make easily copyable data act like physical goods in order to make the market work so that such data is produced (which I th

          • Forgot to fill in [*]

            What the copyright lobby are doing fits the definition of theft much better than piracy. If a thief steals something, then you no longer have it.

        • Proper response in a market based economy is to go create your own competing content and offer it at better terms, not to bitch about high prices.

          Did you read what you responded to? Even just the part you quoted? He explicitly did not bitch about the prices. He complained about the work he has to invest to get the content he paid for to actually play (if he could get it at all).

          Once upon a time, you could basically rely on being able to play whatever you bought, as long as you had the right sort of playing

    • If you're only creating stuff to make profit, then I'm not interested in paying you. Generally, talented people create things because they either love doing it or have a real need to express themselves. Often, they can also make a living out of doing that if they are good enough

      Human culture has always been based on sharing. It's one of the first lessons that kids are taught ("share that toy with your sister, Bobby"). Modern capitalism seems to be moving away from this aspect of culture, but people genuin
      • You are asking artists to produce without any external incentive. Basically you want communism -- everything should be shared, and everyone will get everything.

        Communism works in small groups, that's why it's applied in families. But you can't force it on the whole world, saying everyone who doesn't give away stuff is greedy, and argue that taking away their works is justified.

        • I'm not asking artists to produce. My point is that artists will produce anyway. If they don't want to, they don't have to. I don't see how people sharing things has anything to do with communism - communism is where the state owns everything and there wouldn't be any sharing between individuals as the individuals wouldn't "own" anything.

          I don't care if people give away stuff or not - that's down to the individual. It wouldn't necessarily be greedy for someone to not give something away - often people pro
      • by Kjella (173770)

        Generally, talented people create things because they either love doing it or have a real need to express themselves. Often, they can also make a living out of doing that if they are good enough. (...) Maybe there's too many content creators in the world - there certainly seems to be a lot of rubbish content out there.

        In all honestly, many may have the need but there's plenty who suck at it. See the initial round of talent shows for example, where some people sing like a cat being tortured but still think they can make it as a singer. Trying to get people to pay to listen to you actually weeds out a lot of them. I have a relative that had an intense need to express himself, paintings, books, poems, sculptures, photographs, everything - none of which are going to make art history. He didn't have to care what you thought a

      • even if someone likes to create, they sometimes can't afford to do so at the best of their abilities.
        some people are professional enough to do a good job at something they don't like doing. (this includes the unpleasant aspects of something one likes to do overall)
        in either case, money can help

        • I agree, which is why I love the idea of Kickstarter and I've ended up helping fund quite a few projects on there (despite living in the UK and Kickstarter being primarily US).

          Good content producers have to find a way to get word-of-mouth round that they are good in order to get funding for larger projects. File sharing actually helps these people as it makes it easier for their works to get distributed.

          Look at the success of The Order of the Stick on Kickstarter - a free webcomic gets over a million do
    • by muuh-gnu (894733) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @05:55AM (#39533165)

      > but not the creators?

      It is OK for creators to make money off content... if they can. If people are willing to pay. If they are not willing and prefer to produce their copies themselves instead bying them from you, you're SOL and have to change jobs to something wehere people want to pay for what you do. What is NOT ok is to solve the problem simply by making technological advancements and the modern copying infrastructure illegal with the intent to simulate the 50's where nobody had a PC and nobody had his PC connected with billions of other people with a PC. "Now as all of you have those wonderful futuristic tools became real... dont use them, because people will lose jobs."

      For your business model (selling copies) to work, you basically have to make people forever stay in the 50's. This is the same as if people in the 16th century made book printing illegal to protect manuscript scribes. You're basically a luddite fighting technological advancement because it obsoletes your business. Do you sincerely think you can win that fight? Before, you could run a business to distribute stuff to people, now they can do it themselves. The distribution problem has now been solved. Your business model is simply gone. Adapt or die, you won't win this.

      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        Proof of this model is in the webcomics industry.

        The main draw to their sites is, unsurprisingly, the comics.

        The earlier days of it had a "donate" button, and the artist made money that way. (A lot of artists still use that, in fact.) A lot of them also say things like "This is pretty much my day job, and I need this much money a month to survive... any and all donations are appreciated". Some go a step further and include a donation wallpaper, a donation tracker (I've gotten this much money this month), et

    • by Hentes (2461350) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @08:16AM (#39533565)
      You are mistaken, Rapidshare doesn't make any money off of copyrighted material. Their income comes from selling storage space and bandwith. Granted, some people use these services for copyright infringement, but blaming Rapidshare for the crimes of others is stupid. Guess what, warez sites also buy their storage and bandwith from someone, should we make ISPs illegal too?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Take away the profits and the creators will vanish."

      Because people hate to create and would only consider doing so with a guarantee of financial compensation.

      "I couldn't care less about the distributors I'm talking about the creators. As a creator I'll tell you now if you give all the profits to groups like Rapidshare then there will be no new content."

      I couldn't care less about the distributors, the creators, or new content of any kind. There is a much, much, MUCH more important issue at stake hear, the

    • by future assassin (639396) on Saturday March 31, 2012 @11:24AM (#39534695) Homepage

      Why is it okay for Rapidshare to make money off copyrighted content but not the creators? As some one that lives off copyrighted content why do they have more rights than I do? I spend years creating the content that they casually hand off to anyone with a computer. My creditors would point out that I'm far from rich yet the owners of Rapidshare make serious money off copyright holders. Take away the profits and the creators will vanish. I couldn't care less about the distributors I'm talking about the creators. As a creator I'll tell you now if you give all the profits to groups like Rapidshare then there will be no new content. They aren't the heroes it's the content creators who have been screwed over by the distributors who paid them $0.10 on the $1 and now the file sharing services that pay zero cents on the dollar!. Support the artists and screw the corporate lackies including Rapidshare!

      Seems to me your method of making money is dead. Sitting there and bitching about it will do nothing and legislating will take year and years to lock up the illegal distributions methods while new ones pop up. So wouldn't it be about time to change careers like the majority of the population or embrace the interweb as the ultimate distribution channel and work your way up to success. Mind you, you still need to produce something worth while as like with antiques all of a sudden those rare ones seem to be popping up all over the place because of people using the Internet to connect with each other, No where there were only a few, there a hundreds and technology killed that scarcity.

      Here you go http://www.engadget.com/2011/12/22/louis-ck-makes-1-million-in-12-days-proves-that-drm-free-conte/ [engadget.com]

    • by xigxag (167441)

      Everyone on Slashdot is a "content creator" in that we make submissions and write comments that draw readers to the site, and we do it for free. And Slashdot makes money off us. And by posting here, you seem to be okay with that.

      • by _0xd0ad (1974778)

        Everyone on Slashdot is a "content creator" in that we make submissions and write comments that draw readers to the site, and we do it for free. And Slashdot makes money off us. And by posting here, you seem to be okay with that.

        Perhaps someone should have told these people that [slashdot.org]...

  • "Both parties claim they are victorious"

    Nice, a "win-win" verdict.
  • Only 64.000 copyright holders? That's a small special interest group.

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