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Germany's RIAA Sues Rapidshare - YouTube Next?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the they-are-coming-for-you dept.

The Courts 144

Hermel writes "The GEMA (Germany's RIAA) obtained a temporary injunction against 'one-click-hoster' Rapidshare.com. If their lawsuit is successful, the GEMA intends to use it as a beachhead against their next targets, including Youtube and MySpace. From the article: 'According to GEMA, the service ... has at times boasted of making some 15 million files available to its users. The operator had however failed to obtain from GEMA a license for making copyright protected files available ... Through its injunctions the District Court in Cologne had now made it clear to the company that the fact that it was the users and not the operator of the services that uploaded the content onto the sites did not, from a legal point of view, lessen the operator's liability for copyright infringements that occurred within the context of the services, the spokesman added.'"

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Well... (2, Interesting)

Cctoide (923843) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689480)

This makes me wonder whether services like these are a good idea. Aren't they somewhat liable to stuff like this? I've seen them remove illegal content, but sometimes it's on their servers for a long while...

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689556)

I think this all comes to who is more important: the milltions of user who enjoy such services, or the few execs who stand to make _more_ money if people do not enjoy these services. One thing though, I highly doubt they will be satisfied with what ever amount they make when they have rid the world of all filesharing services. They will find new targets then.

Re:Well... (1, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689628)

money lost to piracy isn't just lost by 'a few execs'. Its a loss to the whole indsutry and everyone that works within it. Don't spin the old "everyone in entertainment is a millionaire" nonsense.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

paganizer (566360) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689776)

Argghhh.
Hard to mod someone down when they make such great games.
Think about this though; I bought democracy after playing a demo version. That was a smart move on your part, making a playable demo.
However, I have done the same thing with companies that do not make demos available; I've grabbed a copy off of P2P to see if it was worth having, then bought the game if it was.
I do the exact same thing with Video & Music; If I can not find a place to hear a decent example of the music, there is no chance in hell I'll buy it; if a band is cool enough to release a free version, i'm almost certain to buy it even if I just sort of like it; I like to support people not being idiots with my $$$.

Re:Well... (2, Interesting)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689904)

Man, I feel your pain. I *HATE* it when companies don't release demos. It's just like waving a banner saying "we have no faith in the quality of our product". Star Trek : legacy was a fine recent example of a game who decided it was better off without a demo, in case people saw how bad the game was. To be honest, I can't say I can get worked up about people trying out a game from p2p in those cases. Of course, when there is a demo available, that's another story.
Sadly, most people aren't using rapidshare to get games because there is no demo, they are doing it because they expect to get full games for free. That's bad for everyone in the long term ;(
Cheers for buying my game btw!

Re:Well... (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690556)

Sadly, most people aren't using rapidshare to get games because there is no demo, they are doing it because they expect to get full games for free. That's bad for everyone in the long term ;(

I won't disagree with that, so much as quibble with it.

I don't know how you can know which category most would fall into. I think both of us can only guess. My guess differs from yours, or perhaps not. I'd guess most downloaders just try the game briefly and delete it, and I'd guess most of them do wind up buying the games they like enough to buy. But I think both of us are just guessing, we don't know.

The other semi-disagreement is about the second sentence. It may be valid as far as it goes, but I'd argue that any erosion of civil rights enough to prevent it would do far more damage than it could prevent.

Re:Well... (0, Troll)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690814)

Do you think they'd have paid for the games otherwise, though? That's the rub, where it's hard to tell. I have friends who are "collectors", who have gigabytes upon gigabytes of movies, music and software that they never use. They just have it. There's NO way they'd ever have paid for it, and they aren't using it... so who's harmed?

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17691412)

A quick survey of my game collection finds very few games that I bought with demos:
  1. C&C:RA - my 'demo' was playing C&C on a friend's computer and getting the next game in the series when it came out soon after
  2. Diablo1 & WarcraftII - came in a box set with Starcraft (which was the game I wanted to get, having played a demo) but couldn't get without buying the complete box
  3. DiabloII - bought on the strength of diablo 1
  4. Doom3 - had new computer and no new games to really test it, had heard good things about doom3
  5. Unreal Tournament - bought to play a friend online
  6. DoD:Source - bought on strength of DoD1 - not such a good purchase, the gameplay just isn't there
  7. C&C:TS - bought on the strength of C&C & RedAlert - not as good as the first 2

Particularly in the early days, I wouldn't buy a game unless I'd been able to squeeze about 20 hours of gameplay out of the demo first.

Some particularly good demos that spring to mind are:
  • C&C
  • Total Annihilation
  • Caesar III
  • AoE:RoR
  • Starcraft
  • Battlezone

Notice anything?

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

troll -1 (956834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690080)

Don't spin the old "everyone in entertainment is a millionaire" nonsense.

Nor are they starving.

Perhaps we can all agree that infringement hurts content providers. But the so-called industry needs to face reality. 1) The Internet is a great distribution system. It's light years ahead of the old 'put it on plastic disks and distribute it by plane and truck' method. 2) No matter how many of these sites you shut down, others will pop up in accordance with the principle of supply and demand. (Shutting down Napster was an example of that.)

Perhaps GEMA needs to beat these sites at their own game by distributing the content themselves first and making their money by either pay-per-download or by selling advertising on content hosting sites.

Let's be real, the Internet is the best content distribution system ever. At some point there's going to be a realization that lawsuits are not the answer. All moral arguments aside, that's just a fact.

Re:Well... (1)

jkauzlar (596349) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692340)

Perhaps GEMA needs to beat these sites at their own game by distributing the content themselves first and making their money by either pay-per-download or by selling advertising on content hosting sites.

I'm convinced there's a better pricing scheme that would significantly reduce piracy, which is coincidently what I would pay for content. I already buy about 3 cds a week, but I base those purchases on both trusted reviewers as well as what I've downloaded and enjoyed; but let's be real, I'm less likely to put down $15 for a cd once I have downloaded it for free (probably from Rapidshare, if it must be known). I'd happily agree to the following scheme. Also, I'm an 'album' person, so I have no scheme for individual songs...

  • $2 for a trial stream of the entire album.
  • $6 for a full album download, w/ DRM
  • $8 for a full album download, no DRM, open-format
  • $12 for an actual disk. No more of this $18 sh*t. Once they start making more money from downloads, they'll be able to afford to lower physical CD prices.

I think indie-labels would have to be the pioneers on this one. The internet has benefitted them the most by providing a more even playing field.

Re:Well... (1)

h2g2bob (948006) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690108)

The few execs who get millions also screw over the artists. The artist makes 10-15% of cd sales, minus the cost of recording the album (which is very expensive). If the album doesn't make the cost of recording, the artist doesn't get paid anything (but doesn't owe anything for the cost of recording either).

This means returns from CDs for the artists are tiny, except for big-name artists. Most small-time artists make money from live gigs - where music sharing will help the numbers.

*Some* piracy helps the music industry, especially small artists. The last CD I bought was because of a song on an MP3 podcast - basically a mix tape. I could listen a few times and search for the lyrics (lyrics are copyright too, according to the RIAA), find the CD and buy it (after checking riaa-radar, of course).

Even if you accept the infringement hurts sales argument, the big 4 labels make $billions - notably on re-releasing old songs - while artists struggle to survive. Something is very wrong here.

Re:Well... (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690608)

It wouldn't be surprising if one reason why many artists don't make much money is that most of the money is made from the recordings of relatively few artists. There are probably numerous artists whose market value is far less than they think it is, just as there are many who think that they're good authors but aren't necessarily marketable. Clearly, the ones at the very top have enough leverage to get quite a bit of money -- enough for all the bling, cocaine, hookers and bail money they might need. The rest may simply be finding out the financial reality behind why the vast majority of the working population isn't supporting itself through hobbies and arts, but through work that they quite possibly don't love to do.

It might also be noted that those copyright protections are the only reason why a distribution and marketing company would offer anything to an artist. Those rights are what are being sold. Lower the value of those rights, and you lower the value. If one goes to an extreme suggesting that such things as "distribution of content should be free without license", you likely will see obvious abuses such as distribution houses attempting to obliterate each others' markets by distributing competitors' content at no charge (or at marginal cost, if that's permitted). That would radically devalue for-profit distribution rights.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690632)

Speaking as an independent software developer, every time a cracked version of my software is uploaded to rapidshare or one of these other services I have to send them a notice to take it down. With normal websites you get it taken down once and usually it deters people from doing it again. With these new services they just upload the file right back. You could spend the rest of your life sending DMCA notices. Also rapidshare is actually one of the few decent sites that take down the offending files within a day. Some sites take days or weeks if ever. It's pretty frustrating trying to make a living when some cracker can make your entire business model pointless. Especially angering is that while I'm going broke, rapidshare makes it's money back charging for premium subscriptions and collecting ad revenue.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690712)

Indeed. I can't see, however, why can't rapidshare dish out some cash in relation to the number of times the file has downloaded. Probably pennies... but hey....

Re:Well... (1)

OECD (639690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689570)

I've seen them remove illegal content, but sometimes it's on their servers for a long while...

Most services will take it down pretty quick, once asked. The problem from the *AA perspective is that it's a bitch to find all these things. They're hoping to push that task onto the service providers, and it sounds like it's working in this case.

The obvious problem is that the task is no less onerous for the service. The other obvious problem is that it winds up squelching fair use rights. Myspace is already blocking obvious parodies, etc, that use copyrighted content, almost certainly due to their own legal difficulties.

Re:Well... (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691986)

They're hoping to push that task onto the service providers, and it sounds like it's working in this case.


That's how it should be. We don't go to businesses that pollute and tell them ok, go ahead and pollute and everytime we catch you we're going to tell you to stop doing it. No, we tell them don't pollute. When we catch them dumping their toxic shit in the river we fine them or jail them or some number of other things.

Posters here regularily point at a particular business model and say "welcome to the internet..." Why don't these service providers have to figure out a business model that abides by the law? They complain "the technical issues are too hard to solve," well too fucking bad. If your business model is only profitable or possible when you have to externalize the costs, fuck you.

Re:Well... (1)

OECD (639690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692152)

Why don't these service providers have to figure out a business model that abides by the law?

They HAVE one. If providers are asked to take something down, they usually do it in short order (too short, IMHO, they don't have much room to say "Hey, that's parody/commentary/other fair use") The problem from the *AA's POV is that it's a pain in the ass to police. What they are doing, judging by TFA, is pushing THEIR responsibilites onto service providers. Which is especially silly, since they're going to use exatly the same resources to monitor if the service providers are doing their job for them.

Re:Well... (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692630)

That's how it should be. We don't go to businesses that pollute and tell them ok, go ahead and pollute and everytime we catch you we're going to tell you to stop doing it. No, we tell them don't pollute. When we catch them dumping their toxic shit in the river we fine them or jail them or some number of other things.

Very true. But a completely stupid and inapplicable analogy. It wasn't enough to call call file sharers "thieves", "pedophiles" or "terrorists", now they're "toxic waste polluters" too.

Rapidshare should not be the exception... (3, Insightful)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689626)

Rapidshare is simply a host that you don't have to pay for (except through viewing ads). It is essentially like any pay-for-host that allows you to post stuff on, junk, music, whatever. Pay-for-hosts don't have the obligation to scan all your files for music, now do they? If someone believes a copyrighted file is illegally located on their server, then the complainer has to file a written formal, legal complaint and send it to the host. I don't get why this kind of model shouldn't work for Rapidshare.

Re:Rapidshare should not be the exception... (2, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690352)

You know.. because storage warehouses might be used to store illegal goods or even dead bodies in barrels,

We should require storage warehouse owners to personally search and scan every warehouse daily, looking inside all containers to be sure nothing illegal is in them.

Re:Rapidshare should not be the exception... (1)

bpc99149 (893018) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690480)

What makes hosts like rapidshare exceptions is that they are free; since they don't have to be payed for, the services and files hosted by the services are much more widely accessible. It is only logical that organizations would target these major freely accessible services--seen as major threats--first, and attack them without mercy. Is this probable cause to use underhanded tactics? I wouldn't say so; however, business is about profit, and, in their eyes, any threat to their income should be eliminated.

Re:Rapidshare should not be the exception... (1)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690638)

That might depend on whether German law offers anything like the Safe Harbor provision of the United States' DMCA. Yes, in the US a formal complaint from the copyright holder can be required, and even then takedown need not be automatic (if the uploader positively affirms that it is not infringing, if memory serves)... but that has no bearing on what a German court might rule unless some treaty says otherwise.

It might be argued that there should be a provision that, should the service be notified and the content actually be shown to be infringing, that there should be a burden on the service to take reasonable steps to prevent a repeat occurrence. I don't remember there actually being such a provision, but I might simply have missed it.

Re:Rapidshare should not be the exception... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17691086)

Yeah, except Rapidshare is deluged with these requests. Their response time for a takedown notice is poor due to the massive number of claims, and the takedown doesn't stop things much -- Rapidshare stores an MD5 of forbidden files to block them being re-uploaded, but all people do is rar and split the files, and add a password. The password prevents the files from being automatically scanned, and so Rapidshare can't block it automatically. This turns takedown requests into an endless game of whack-a-mole, and is probably quite frustrating to the copyright holders..
  Thus, this whole injunction thing. Personally, I think they ought to give up. You can't put the salt back in the shaker, and you can't stop filesharing in the modern age. Just do like the software industry tends to do, throw up your hands and just pretend that "loss" isn't there. The harder you try to stop it, the less results you'll see, and the more you'll piss off others, reducing your income instead of increasing it. (See starforce, Sony rootkit, etc.)
  - mantar

Re:Well... (1)

overkill1024 (1016283) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689706)

Just because it can be used for illegal purposes doesn't mean it's not a 'good idea'. The demand is there ans while I can't speak for the german legal system but if it's taken down something will show up in it's place.

Re:Well... (1)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689814)

"This makes me wonder whether services like these are a good idea."

I've been wondering the same thing ever since the original Napster. "What the heck were they thinking? Did these guys really think that they weren't going to get sued into oblivion?"

Re:Well... (2, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692658)

I've been wondering the same thing ever since the original Napster. "What the heck were they thinking? Did these guys really think that they weren't going to get sued into oblivion?"

Rapidshare, unlike Napster, provides no indexing service. Anyone can upload files, but you have to be told, by the uploader, the URL to download. It's no different, except in scale, from any webspace provider, or for that matter, email service. Also Rapidshare does take down files almost immediately a complaint is received, and people have tested this, they will take down any file complained about without notice or checking what it actually is. So if Rapidshare is made responsible for what people upload to its space, then every webspace provider in the world (or at least, in Germany) is in trouble.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

georgeav (965554) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689902)

This is like suing the post office or the bank who offer safe deposit boxes because somebody got a PO Box/safe deposit box and stored drugs in it and it gave the key to another person to pick them up. Or, let's say that the post office/bank indeed checks the content and does not allow drugs; but you put there some prescription only drugs (medicine) that is illegal to give to somebody else; in this case the post office/bank has to check a list with tens of thousands of drugs to see if the drugs you put there is legal or not ? (the same with mp3; just because is an audio file it doesn't mean it is copyrighted). You might say that they have strict rules, and by contract you have to respect the law; from what I see at rapidshare they also have rules [rapidshare.com] :

"No files that are not allowed to be shared. (no illegal, pornographic or copyrighted files)"

Re:Well... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690536)

I've seen them remove illegal content, but sometimes it's on their servers for a long while...

It usually stays on the server until reported. Similarly, an ISP usually keep a customer until he/she's reported.

Hmmmm... (-1, Flamebait)

z-kungfu (255628) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689504)

GEMA=Nazis... just like the RIAA...

In Germany... (1)

DJ.Flecktarn (1028326) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689568)

some people might disagree with your choice of terminology.

Re:In Germany... (2, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690346)

Some people need to learn that terminology can't hurt you, and hiding from the past helps no one.

Re:Hmmmm... (5, Funny)

nelk (923574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689684)

GEMA=Nazis... just like the RIAA...

Except that it's Germany's version of Nazis.

Re:Hmmmm... (1)

Xymor (943922) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690774)

Holy crap GEMA are attacking, quick, someone find the Onimusha.

New business model (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689514)

1) Create crappy copyrighted material
2) Upload my crappy copyrighted material to every website that allows anonymous posting
3) Sue every website uploaded to
4) Profit!

Re:New business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689714)

I'm gonna sue you for posting MY business model.

Re:New business model (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689992)

>1) Create crappy copyrighted material
>2) Upload my crappy copyrighted material to every website that allows anonymous posting
>3) Sue every website uploaded to
>4) ???
>5) Profit!

fixed

Re:New business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690082)

If you do that, your violating my patent.

All the insanity. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689528)

When will this end, GODDAMMIT?!

Bye, 4chan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689558)

The next best things since torrents is going to leave! What will /s/, /y/, and /h/ do?

After all, we know the ONLY place to upload our pr0n and such is rapidshare, a membership-supported host!

Solution to copyright conundrum? (1, Interesting)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689572)

While it may be true that users are responsible for posting copyrighted files, it is true that hosts do need to take down blatent copyright abuses. A simple solution is to follow what many pay-for-hosting hosts have done: simply require plaintiffs to file a formal, legal complaint about compyright abuses. I have found in many hosts terms of use that they require a legal document faxed/mailed to them before they will respond. After such a document is sent, they will then act accordingly.

Shutting down a whole hosting service like Rapidshare is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The burden for copyright abuse complaints should be on the music/movie/etc. lawyers to file complaints about abuses. This is what they do for many hundreds of other hosts, why noy for Rapidshare?

Re:Solution to copyright conundrum? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689732)

Problem is, copyright doesn't work that way. If you're infringing, you're the one who has to do something about it. The copyright holder can be nice and inform you of the infringement and that he knows about it. Or he can send you a formal complaint. Or he can sue you. The question is: Is rapidshare liable for the copyright infringement?
Even if you're not automatically liable but become liable once you know about the infringement (which AFAIK is how it works in Germany), the copyright holder doesn't have to comply with "formal notice or we ignore you" policies. He tells you in any way, you know, you become liable if you don't react. The burden to check whether the informal complaint has merit is on YOU.

That is one of the biggest problems with copyright: there is no easy way to check who owns the rights to copy a certain piece of information, because copyright requires no registration. I can download a nice photo of the internet, add my (c) mark and sell it to you. If you then distribute the picture, you are liable for that infringement. It does not matter that you thought you bought the rights. Sure, you can then sue me to recover your expenses, but what if I don't have anything to sue for?

Rapidshare are an obvious target (3, Insightful)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689610)

is anyone suprised? I can see how having some temporary storage for files that is totally anonymous *may* have some legit uses occasionally, but if you allow people to anonymously upload any content to a site for free, and other people pay a monthly subscription to download multiple files up to 100MB a time, is *anyone* even remotely suprised when 99% of the content is illegally shared content?
Rapidshare can remove content on a whim, it's no use for anything thats really vital. Webspace is now trivially cheap, and so is bandwidth. If you need to share big binary files, setting up an ftp server or a website is trivial. The only real market for rapidshare that I can think of is illegal content, and it's no suprise to find so much of it there. Every software, movie and game site that is trading illegal software has dozens, if not hundreds or even thousands of rapidshare links.
This was inevitable.

Re:Rapidshare are an obvious target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689826)

setting up an ftp server or a website is trivial.

No, it's not. Not for non-technical users. Even a popular DSL provider offers this kind of service. It's described as an add-on to their email service: upload a big file, then send the link by email, so that you don't overflow the recipient's inbox.

Re:Rapidshare are an obvious target (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689950)

the big point about the rapidshare service is anonymity. This is not accidental. It's a deliberate move so that people can feel safe uploading illegal content. If you need to register an account with a valid credit card or proof of identity to upload something, I don't think anyone would mind, and I suspect the amount of illegal content on there would nosedive.
A service provided by your ISP is different. They know who you are. They can easily identify who it was who uploaded illegal content.

Re:Rapidshare are an obvious target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690202)

Need I point out the irony of you posting that anonymously?

Re:Rapidshare are an obvious target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690460)

doesn't matter if 99% of the people upload illigal content and only 1% upload legal content. That 1% legitimizes the service. Anything less is a restriction on free speech.

The value of Rapidshare and its kind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690358)

"Webspace is now trivially cheap, and so is bandwidth. If you need to share big binary files, setting up an ftp server or a website is trivial. The only real market for rapidshare that I can think of is illegal content, and it's no suprise to find so much of it there."

I know of several photographers who use RapidShare to share their own photographs with each other and with their clients. None of them could set up an FTP site, and none of them are interested in setting up a website. The advantage of RapidShare is that it's in place, it has an easy-to-use interface, it provides rapid uploads and downloads, and it provides a reasonable level of privacy in that you have to know a URL to find a download.

Open letter to cliffski, mafiaa (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690760)

We are connected to each other now. You can't undo that. Your "content" is for the most part boring as all hell. Some of us will be downloading it, but no harm -- they weren't planning on paying good money for that crap anyway.

Stop trying to prevent us being connected to each other. It's done.

Re:Rapidshare are an obvious target (1)

Namegduf Live (910658) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690818)

These *may* have some legit uses?

Never been talking with people and wanted to toss a file online quickly for them to download?

Never wanted a medium-term host where you can stick a small file to link to?

I use this as a primary means of passing files around and storing non-critical stuff for time... frequently things I create.

It is the equivalent of the image hosts used to upload small creations or screenshots for use on forums that do not authorise uploads on themselves.

Forget *may* have some use. I and plenty of others use them on a day-to-day basis... not everyone has a server or paid for space at their disposal.

It has nothing to do with illegal files. It's a fast and quick way to move stuff over mediums which don't support/lack reliable file transfer, to send to multiple people, or to store for linking. The concept that all such quick-and-free means of transferring information are automatically used only for illegal stuff sickens me.

Re:Rapidshare are an obvious target (1)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692100)

Right. There are legit uses for a whole assload of things that are controlled. The question is do the downsides outweigh the upsides?

The concept that all such quick-and-free means of transferring information are automatically used only for illegal stuff sickens me.


You have a very weak stomach. I would advise that you save your outrage and shock for more important ills of the world.

Re:Rapidshare are an obvious target (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690932)

Sorry. You make good games, but the attitude shown by this post is incredibly short-sighted. Just because webspace is cheap doesn't mean anyone wants to go and subscribe to hosting whenever they want to share something. Rapidshare is, in theory, convenient. Nor does a file being 100 megs mean it's illegal, by any means.

Did you realise any content provider can get files removed from Rapidshare pretty easily? Many's the time I've tried to get some hentai or..well, just hentai, and it's been removed because of copyright issues. And yes, I am a dirty pirate! And a pervert too! And again, that doesn't mean I'm causing any companies to lose money. I make £30 a week, fuck me if I'm buying all the music and games and TV I get. But I do buy some. It's not a black and white issue.

Re:Rapidshare are an obvious target (1)

X.25 (255792) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691302)

is anyone suprised? I can see how having some temporary storage for files that is totally anonymous *may* have some legit uses occasionally, but if you allow people to anonymously upload any content to a site for free, and other people pay a monthly subscription to download multiple files up to 100MB a time, is *anyone* even remotely suprised when 99% of the content is illegally shared content?

On the Internet, people see what they are looking for. Then they base their conclusions.

I'm using Internet since '91 (roughly - since X.25 Internet gateways started showing up in numbers), and I have never ever seen child-porn on the Internet. Because I never looked for it. Many people never saw pirated software (or "illegally shared content"), because they never looked for it.

You'd be surprised by amount of normal/legal/valid data being uploaded to such services (RapidShare, Megaupload, etc), simply because it's convenient. Bandwidth might be cheap, webspace as well, but when you're behind a firewall (which you don't control) and need to make some file available quickly, services like this are useful.

You also forget that 95% of Internet users are not geeks, with access to their own dedicated server or hosting service - they're barely able to use basic things on Internet, and telling them to setup their own website in order to share a file is bit... silly.

Most of my real-life friends have absolutelly no clue what bandwitdh is, or what server is - they only know how to get online, check their mail, browse some sites. Most of them never heard of FTP, torrent and other buzzwords. So, for them, ability to share a file in such a simple way (click button, choose file, wait a bit - done) is a gift from the heaven.

Re:Rapidshare are an obvious target (4, Informative)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692468)

Webspace is now trivially cheap, and so is bandwidth. If you need to share big binary files, setting up an ftp server or a website is trivial.

No, it is not. Most users get 30/Kbs upload rates. So, setting up web servers and ftp servers from the internet access is not practical. If you buy a website, it can cost about $200-$300/year for the most basic package.

The only real market for rapidshare that I can think of is illegal content, and it's no suprise to find so much of it there.

Do you know long it would take to download a 700MB file from Rapidshare? There is a limitation of 100MB per file and 1 file per 90 minutes. It would take over 10 hours! With bitorrent you can get it in less than 30 minutes. It does not make sense for illegal content at all.

I used rapidshare to share music projects - since most musicians will try and e-mail everything to you. So exchanging rapidshare links was good and we didn't care if it died a few days later since we could have updated the song anyway.

To tell you truth, I thought only thing unauthorized that was posted on rapidshare was pr0n clips.

remotely suprised when 99% of the content is illegally shared content?

Where did you get that number? Oh yeah, you just made it up.

I like the way whether or not you win a lawsuit... (2, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689612)

...depends on the order in which your pursue them. It's lucky that law isn't based on anything like logic where the order of facts makes no difference to whether or not they are true.

Re:I like the way whether or not you win a lawsuit (1)

DamnStupidElf (649844) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690210)

...depends on the order in which your pursue them. It's lucky that law isn't based on anything like logic where the order of facts makes no difference to whether or not they are true.

I'm not sure what you mean. If the lawyers for GEMA say "Websites allowing users to upload copyrighted media can be sued for infringement, therefore we are suing sharing websites X, Y, and Z for letting users upload copyrighted material" before they say "Rapidshare is a website allowing users to upload copyrighted media, and was successfully sued", they have no precedent. It's always easier and cheaper to try a single case for precedent rather than start dozens of lawsuits all at once.

In logic the same holds true. Without lemmas, theorems can't be proven true. There are always a sequence of steps in a proof, all of which are necessary for the final theorem to be proved.

Re:I like the way whether or not you win a lawsuit (1)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690282)

The difference is this. Suppose X is easier to prove in court than Y, and X->Y and Y->X. Then the optimal strategy is to prove X first and use that as a precedent for your next lawsuit. Suppose you try to prove Y first. Because it's harder you're more likely to fail, and as a result X will also be a losing lawsuit if Y is seen as a precedent.

In logic, it may be optimal to prove X first because its easier, but it doesn't become more likely that Y is true is a result. Reordering merely changes the difficulty of proof, not the outcome.

Germany's RIAA!? (0, Redundant)

gsnedders (928327) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689614)

Germany's Recording Industry Association of America!? How is that even possible? Or do you mean Germany's equivalent of the RIAA?

Re:Germany's RIAA!? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17689882)

Damn skippy. In fact, it's a lot more than just 'possible.' America actually owns all German IP. Surprised you hadn't heard about that. Overshadowed by the late President Roosevelt, Truman was actually a ruthless negotiator, especially when it came to IP. Only he had the foresight to correctly gage the value of future German residuals with respect to the 1980's prodigy known as David Hasselhoff. Stalin didn't give two hoots about copyright etc... and went in a different direction, IIRC.

Not exactly the German RIAA. (3, Informative)

Jesselnz (866138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689624)

From what I understand, the GEMA is funded by individual artists and composers, not major record labels like the RIAA. I wonder how many of their members agree with this lawsuit...

Re:Not exactly the German RIAA. (4, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689954)

Weniger als ein Zehntel der GEMA-Mitglieder erhalten mehr als 70 % der ausschüttungsfähigen Summe, während über 90% der Mitglieder nur einen Bruchteil erhalten, wie aus einem Jahresbericht hervorgeht. Nur die ordentlichen Mitglieder der GEMA bestimmen die Auszahlungsmodalitäten. c.f. [wikipedia.org]

Which essentially says that a few determine which 10% of the members get 70% of the bucks.

CC.

Re:Not exactly the German RIAA. (1)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690408)

Yah, same like SGAE in Spain... Although the proportions must be 2%-95% in our case...

Re:Not exactly the German RIAA. (2, Informative)

lelitsch (31136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690560)

The Wikipedia article is pretty misleading, but your translation is worse. As stated in the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article, the GEMA has about 70,000 paying members (artists, publishers, authors), these paying members decide how the royalties are being distributed. This is German law and very similar to the US: to take part in decisions, you have to be a member of the organization. Try electing a union, HOA or club president without being part of the union, HOA or club.

Now, of course the most popular ones make the most money. Similar to the US where someone who sells 10 million CDs gets more money from their music than a local band who is happy to sell 5000. What the article actually says is that 10% of the members get 70% of the royalties. M0st probably, 1% will get 50% of the royalties, not because of some grand conspiracy, but because they sell more CDs or books than the rest combined.

happen ? (1)

KillahKrew (1029056) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689630)

i wonder what will happen if Rapidshare will shoutdown cuz theres alot of Warez communitys that uses Rapidshare to upload warez, i think they need to find another good upload host lol

No more free German content? (1)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689690)

Like Falco Kraftwerk, and Rammstein?

How dare they!

Re:No more free German content? (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689984)

Hey, and what about Mein Kampf? Or is it considered an Austrian import?

Small correction... (2, Informative)

Jan Morgenstern (525214) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689734)

The GEMA is by no means Germany's RIAA, more like Germany's ASCAP. It's a society that collects licensing fees for distributed and broadcasted music on behalf of the creators (but, as in this case, can also act on its own if it thinks that due fee payments are being evaded). The closest thing to a German RIAA would be the national section of the IFPI.

the common carrier conundrum (1)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689772)

the fact that it was the users and not the operator of the services that uploaded the content onto the sites did not, from a legal point of view, lessen the operator's liability for copyright infringements that occurred within the context of the services


So with the same logic, could they also sue the ISPs involved, and in fact any nodes in between?
Rapidshare and similar sites are set up as simply temporary holding places --- tubes, if you will --- that allow users to send files from one to another.

This really again brings up the question of what should constitute a "common carrier", where do the boundaries start and end? Yes, Rapidshare is offering harddrive space, but every node in between is also carrying packets that contain copyrighted data. On the other hand, since sites like Rapidshare don't have big lists of hosted files, people don't usually download the distributed content until a link is posted in a forum or blog. So in a sense Rapidshare could itself be considered simply a carrier. I guess one difference is that it actually has a copy of the whole file at once, whereas a node only carries parts of the file, and (supposedly) is not actually examining the content. (Neither is Rapidshare though, even though it would be easier to do so.) Still, how and where should the line between "carrier" and "hosting service" be drawn?

For example, why is it that torrent sites can be sued, when they aren't even hosting the file?

Whereas Rapidshare _is_ hosting the file, but relying on outside media to provide access to it.

Re:the common carrier conundrum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690630)

Secondary liability [wikipedia.org]
Sorry for the weak link. Check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation for some of the cases that they've lost...

GEMA != RIAA (5, Informative)

mseeger (40923) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689788)

Hi,

the GEMA cannot be compared to the RIAA. While the RIAA is mostly an industry organisation, the GEMA is a representation of the artists. Not that it doesn't suffer the same delusions of grandeur the RIAA does, but at least the money paid to the GEMA really ends up in the pocket of the artists. And the fees the GEMA requests are pennys compared to the invoices the RIAA sends out.

Regards, Martin

Re:GEMA != RIAA (1)

Inferger (1007151) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690264)

Well, it's the closest well known organization that can be drawn a line to the organization in question, albeit a squiggly one.

Re:GEMA != RIAA (1)

kill-1 (36256) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690798)

The money ends up in the pockets of the copyright and publishing rights holders. Most of it goes to the industry and not to the artists.

Re:GEMA != RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690834)

Way to stick your foot in your mouth with your double standards.

Come on /. lets stick it to the man....

GEMA is not the German equivalent of the RIAA. (5, Insightful)

shark72 (702619) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689798)

Before I explain the difference, I should acknowledge that many Slashdotters have equal disdain for anybody in the music business who tries to assert their rights. For example, we normally state that we're in favor of the artists and that we think artists should have more rights, money, and respect, but when the BMI or ASCAP (US performing rights agencies run by and for artists and wholly unrelated to the RIAA) sue businesses for playing music without a royalty, Slashdotters bring out the hatred equal to that of the RIAA. So, if "RIAA" is shorthand for "anybody in the music industry who tries to interfere with the free (as in beer AND speech) distribution of music", then yeah, GEMA is like the RIAA, but it's still important to understand the difference.

Here's what GEMA is about [www.gema.de] , in English. Like BMI and ASCAP, they're a society of composers, lyricists and music publishers.

I believe (somebody please correct me if I'm wrong) that the actual German equivalent of the RIAA -- that is, the trade group representing record companies -- is the IFPA.

With all the ire at GEMA's actions, I think the message here is clear: as covered above, we all respect the musicians, and we want them to have more money, rights, and respect. But only on our terms. If they take legal actions or otherwise demand more money, rights, or respect -- in other words, if they simply get too uppity -- then they're on equal moral grounds as the RIAA et al.

Re:GEMA is not the German equivalent of the RIAA. (1)

OECD (639690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690036)

... BMI or ASCAP (US performing rights agencies run by and for artists and wholly unrelated to the RIAA)

Run by artists?

Re:GEMA is not the German equivalent of the RIAA. (3, Informative)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690464)

The American Society of Composers, Artists, and Publishers is run by its member composers, artists, and publishers. It looks like GEMA works that way also.
Broadcast Music Inc. is run by radio execs, which means that ClearChannel likely has a large vote. It's probably as much like ROMS as like ASCAP. Many artist-composers sign up with them anyway, esp. if they are signed to the RIAA when they start publishing.
A strike by the ASCAP caused radio to found BMI. It appears that in the '40s and '50s, ASCAP wouldn't publish music by artists who couldn't write their compositions down. BMI, as a broadcast music corp., could and did publish that kind of work; since its members could directly promote the music that they were publishing, it got a foothold.
Cites, though I did do some original research:
http://en.wikipedia.com/wiki/ASCAP [wikipedia.com]
http://en.wikipedia.com/wiki/Broadcast_Music_Incor porated [wikipedia.com]

Re:GEMA is not the German equivalent of the RIAA. (1)

OECD (639690) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692186)

Wow. Insightful and Informative. Mods, take note of my parent (who is also my child.)

Re:GEMA is not the German equivalent of the RIAA. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690128)

when the BMI or ASCAP sue businesses for playing music without a royalty, Slashdotters bring out the hatred equal to that of the RIAA

A brief search presented me with only casual and non-judgemental references to BMI or ASCAP. Care to substantiate this?

Re:GEMA is not the German equivalent of the RIAA. (1)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690316)

What's really amusing is the poster (and the headline) calling them "Germany's RIAA" -- or, written out, "Germany's Recording Industry Association of America." If you want to call them similar, that's one thing, but calling them Germany's RIAA just sounds stupid.

Re:GEMA is not the German equivalent of the RIAA. (1)

d34thm0nk3y (653414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690612)

Before I explain the difference, I should acknowledge that many Slashdotters have equal disdain for anybody in the music business who tries to assert their rights. For example, we normally state that we're in favor of the artists and that we think artists should have more rights, money, and respect, but when the BMI or ASCAP (US performing rights agencies run by and for artists and wholly unrelated to the RIAA) sue businesses for playing music without a royalty, Slashdotters bring out the hatred equal to that of the RIAA.

Uh huh. Go to this, the most recent story about an issue with ASCAP (at least Japan's version), here. [slashdot.org]
Set the threshold to 5 and get back to me on what "Slashdot" thinks about royalties.

Re:GEMA is not the German equivalent of the RIAA. (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692318)

While the ASCAP is not the RIAA, and might not be as bad as the RIAA, I thought that ASCAP is another organization that tends to go a little overboard. Such examples include suing bar owners and taxicab drivers for having the radio on when there are paying customers present without having paid a royalty fee. They even sued Boy Scout camps because the kids sang songs managed by ASCAP. Maybe it was in their legal right to do so, but sometimes exploiting your legal rights to their max isn't the smartest thing to do in terms of public relations.

Anyway, I think this two-rights system is weird and a bit much.

The debate continues... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17689924)

Some think copyrights should be defended at the expense of file sharing sites while others think that its up to the copyright holders to defend their rights and request content be removed.

The only trouble with both of these ideas is that they rely on a broken process or standard. When paper based products and other media that could not be easily created at home were the carriers of such copyrighted content, these arguments made sense. They no longer make sense. In one way or another, both lead to preposterous conclusions that leave one group or another in a state of loss.

If copyright holders were to imprint their copyright on the content in some way, it could clearly be argued that file sharing services should remove this content upon detection or request for removal. That currently is not the situation, so while the copyright owners do nothing to provide easier protection for their work, there is not much that can be done to help them without offending the rights of others.

There has been work to implant 'finger prints' in audio and video files that would have to be stripped out. This would make it difficult for the average joe to use copyrighted works without being told they are copyrighted. It would also make it easy for file sharing sites to automatically remove content containing listed copyright 'finger prints'.

As far as I can see, its up to copyright holders to make an effort to provide this type of method of protecting their works, or they get what they deserve.. more or less. If you don't chain your bicycle to the rack, don't complain when someone steals it. Oh sure, you can still complain, but you should expect it to be stolen if you don't lock it up. I am reasonably certain that insurance companies are not going to give artists insurance if they don't do something to help prevent continued abuse, just like they don't give you a break if you total a car every year.

NOTE: This is not a suggestion of using DRM, rather it is a suggestion that a copyright notice be embedded in the content.

On the one hand, I see their point. On the other hand all I can hear is them whining. They need to make an effort to get the respect they want. Simply suing is not the right way.

Back to reality (3, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690044)

Hey I'm on Slashdot.. and Slashdot loves analogies, right ?

What if I'm in a hardware store, and I use a chainsaw to cut someone in half. Am I guilty of murder, or is the hardware store guilty of allowing me to misuse its goods and services ?

What if I'm on some website, and I use its resources to commit criminal acts. Am I guilty of said act, or is the website guilty of allowing its resources ?

I don't give a flying toaster about how lawyers will try to bend the facts... it seems pretty obvious to me. Does Lexus get named in lawsuits involving drug busts ? Because their cars seem to be quite loved by high-end coke runners, and it could be argued that having a vehicle facilitates the couriering of illicit substances, just like a file backup web site facilitates the couriering of illicit data.

Hell, sue the post office while you're at it. Last I heard, you could buy weed online and have it shipped across the continent right to your mailbox. What the hell?

Re:Back to reality (1)

CitX (1048990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690396)

To answer the hardware analogy...Yes and Yes. You are guilty of murder and the store is liable. The users would be subject to criminal penalties (a proposed law in Germany) and the site civil action.

Re:Back to reality (2, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691232)

No need to think up of new analogies. There are real examples similar enough in our not so distant past. Content publishers were against photocopy machines when they first came out. They were against video tapes that the consumer could record on. They were against search engines that could index their content. They were against mp3 players. This will come to pass as well. Just as now, it would be silly to be in a world without photocopy machines and without VCR-like devices, soon enough it will be just as silly to be in a world without several quick ways to share large files anonymously.

Artists' Decision? (2, Interesting)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690050)

At some point, an artist makes the choice to have their music managed by the RIAA, and those made into copyrighted, not-to-be-shared-without-being-properly-licensed recordings. I'm guessing that the advertising the RIAA does for artists they think can be successful is the driving force behind musicians still using them.

Musicians can get a loan and have a high-quality studio recording made of their music. With the internet, they can attempt to market it, and with the new music sites and the ubiquity of the internet, they might even get noticed. But noticed by who? Venues like to see you draw a crowd. How do you become a megastar without radio airplay, music videos, etc? I suppose you can get on the radio by popular opinion (enough calls to the radio stations by your fans), but getting airplay on MTV (do they still play videos?) is a bit more challenging without the RIAA paying for the time.

I guess it takes money to make money, and the RIAA makes that "easier" if not simply "possible" for the artist by saying, "Give us your act, and we'll make you famous." It just seems like the time is coming for artists to dodge the RIAA and publish themselves. Hell yes, it takes effort, but you're artists! You're supposed to starve.

web 2.0 = lawsuits - not a stupid Profit! joke (1)

stormeru (1027946) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690070)

step 1: web 2.0 = websites with content from users
step 2: users add crap to the websites
step 3: the websites publish and distribute the crap
step 4: some of the uploaded crap is copyrighted material
step 5: copyright protected material generates lawsuits between [insert RIAA or GEMA or whatever] and website owners

we can eliminate steps 4 & 5 by inserting:
step 1.5: strong check of the users identity using [SSN or fingerprint or whatever] before they have upload rights to the website
OR
step 2.5: the website has an approval stage for the uploaded content

inserting step 1.5 will move the lawsuit to [RIAA or GEMA or whatever] vs. user as a copyright material distributor. i know: it's a hard measure to apply and the lawsuits will be at another level.

inserting step 2.5 will probably end the business for a lot of web 2.0 websites, these won't have the resources to filter all the uploaded content.

Not quite (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690318)

step 3. Allows the user to publish their crap. They don't actual publish.

maybe someone who stop me whenever I leave my house to be sure I am not wearing a shirt with an unauthorized coyrite material on it?

What we are seeing is a result of the change of copyright for all practical matters.
Digital distribution has ended copyright as we no it. The industry can either line copyright with what the people want, or loose it completely.

In the US, it's the will of the people that allows for copyright, and the will of the people can take it away.
And for those who say it will never change, look at all the big changes that have happened in the US in SPITE of who had the money at the time.

Personally I am for copyright, but only for 14 years, and allowing for sharing among non-profit entities.

Easiest Solution (-1, Flamebait)

the Gray Mouser (1013773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690168)

Block off Europe from the internet and make them build their own network if they want one.

They love to get the benefits of U.S. technology and services but love to hate them and fight them at the same time.

Re:Easiest Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690238)

They love to get the benefits of U.S. technology and services but love to hate them and fight them at the same time.

And you, in turn, can go back to using gopher. You love to use the benefits of European-funded research but just can't help trying to lord it over them at the same time...

Re:Easiest Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690258)

Please do. We do not want anything from the US. And, since you are at it, please leave our neighboring countries alone and move your bases out of German or European soil, and stop exporting genetically modified crap and "detainees" to this part of the world for "interrogation".

Re:Easiest Solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690930)

You believe the "internets" is owned by America? *snicker* Coming next: why creationism is the True American Way.

well, this just proves that ... (1)

kirils (1050022) | more than 7 years ago | (#17690398)

... current copyright laws are plain wrong and need to be updated ASAP.

the Big picture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17690642)

what is so wrong with copyrighted material being shared for others to view/listen/gander.. I'm 100% certain i wouldn't mind someone sharing my stuff, as long as they dont try to sell or claim it as their own, but come one; they're not "selling" anything on "filesharing" websites, if you want to sue then sue ebay, sue people who put up yardsales, sue the karoake bar owners.. go ahead make yourself look more like a fucking shit-faced asshole (refering to the **ia's), i thought the whole object for many musicans/movie producers was to make art, and possibly fans who like the art, not contained art that is to be sold, but to be shared with everything who would appreciate your work!

I seriously hope (1)

ucsckevin (176383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691078)

that RIAA goes after Myspace and Youtube because it would cause a serious backlash. Enough consumers could complain to compel congress to curtail their "cartelings.*" Unfortunately, that's exactly why it won't happen. : -- *cartelings: neologism for cartel like activities.

Re:I seriously hope (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691772)

Amen to that!
Bring it on "Helmut",we'll whoop yer sorry krauten arsen.

Precedent (1)

AnnuitCoeptis (1049058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692164)

They are tackling the little guy first, to gain precedent, obviously.

News Item! (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692370)

We could all test this by firing up a mule and doing a search for "Heino"
German superstar of the Sinatra variety.
You'll get a bang out of this fellow.

Re:News Item! (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 7 years ago | (#17692416)

Chevy:No,miss latella,they should search My Space and online video sites for shared videos of Heino.
Gilda:oh,.........never mind.

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