German Court Upholds Fines Against Rapidshare For Violating Injunction
Decision reaffirms Rapidshare’s accountability for the presence of pirated works on its website
The Regional Court of Hamburg has upheld the imposition of fines in excess of 150,000 Euros against Rapidshare and its principals that the Court had imposed for violating the injunction it issued earlier this year. The injunction was obtained in February 2010 by Bedford, Freeman and Worth Publishing Group, LLC a subsidiary of Macmillan; Cengage Learning Inc.; Elsevier Inc; John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; and Pearson Education, Inc. It prohibits Rapidshare from allowing 148 of those publishers’ copyright-protected works to be made publicly available in digital form on Rapidshare.com. After obtaining the injunction, the publishers discovered that most of the injunction-protected works continued to be available on Rapidshare.com. As a result, the publishers moved the Court to impose the fines.
In upholding the fines, the German court made it clear that Rapidshare must implement effective measures to prevent illegal file sharing of the 148 works. In its initial ruling issuing the injunction, the court had ruled that Rapidshare was required to monitor its site to ensure that the publishers’ copyrighted content was not uploaded and that users could not gain unauthorized access to the material. The Court has now concluded that Rapidshare “…culpably failed to take reasonable examination and control measures. These measures include the utilization of a word filter, which checks the file name during the uploading of files to the servers of [Rapidshare] with regard to whether the author, the title, the ISBN number of the publisher may be contained in this name. …In addition to the installation of a word filter for new uploads to [its] servers [Rapidshare is] also…required to search the relevant popular external link libraries for links to files with the works in dispute.”
“The measures the court has imposed on Rapidshare by this resolution provide needed safeguards to protect these titles in the future from unlawful copying and distribution, reduce downloading of infringing material, and prevent businesses like Rapidshare from profiting from unauthorized access to and illegal distribution of copyrighted works,” stated Dr. Ursula Feindor-Schmidt, an attorney representing the publishers.
According to the publishers, the Court’s decision will help level the playing field so as to foster true innovation—creative original innovation—by prohibiting business models that are based on copyright theft. The publishers contend that businesses like Rapidshare, which have succeeded by offering a “free-for-all” of pirated works, will now be forced to develop truly innovative ways to attract users.
About Bedford, Freeman & Worth and Macmillan
Bedford, Freeman & Worth Publishing Group, LLC (“BFW”) is a leading publisher of educational content and resources used by colleges and universities worldwide. BFW’s imprints include Bedford/St. Martins, W.H. Freeman and Company, and Worth Publishers. BFW is part of Macmillan, a group of America’s leading book publishers and educational content companies. Macmillan’s operations include St. Martin’s Press; Farrar Strauss & Giroux; Henry Holt; Picador; Tor; Macmillan Audio; Macmillan Children’s; Bedford, Freeman, and Worth; i>clicker; and Hayden McNeil. For more information, visit www.macmillan.com
About Cengage Learning
Cengage Learning is a leading provider of innovative teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide. The company’s products and services are designed to foster academic excellence and professional development, increase student engagement and improve learning outcomes. Cengage Learning’s brands include Heinle, Gale, Wadsworth, Delmar, Brooks/Cole and South-Western, among others. For more information on Cengage Learning please visit www.cengage.com.
Elsevier is a world-leading publisher of scientific, technical and medical information products and services. The company works in partnership with the global science and health communities to publish more than 2,000 journals. A global business headquartered in Amsterdam, Elsevier employs 7,000 people worldwide. The company is part of Reed Elsevier, a world-leading publisher and information provider.
About The McGraw-Hill Companies
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a leading global education and financial information company that plays a crucial role in the knowledge economy with leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts energy information services and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has approximately 21,000 employees with more than 280 offices in 40 countries. Additional information is available at http://www.mcgraw-hill.com/.
Pearson (NYSE:PSO), the global leader in education and education technology, reaches and engages today’s digital natives with effective and personalized learning, as well as dedicated professional development for their teachers. This commitment is demonstrated in the company’s investment in innovative print and digital education materials for preK through college, student information systems and learning management systems, teacher professional development, career certification programs, and testing and assessment products that set the standard for the industry. The company’s respected brands include eCollege, Prentice Hall, Addison Wesley, Benjamin Cummings, Allyn & Bacon/Merrill, Longman and many others. For more information, go to www.pearson.com.
Founded in 1807, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (NYSE: JW.a and JW.b), has been a valued source of information and understanding for more than 200 years, helping people around the world meet their needs and fulfill their aspirations. Wiley and its acquired companies have published the works of more than 400 Nobel laureates in all categories: Literature, Economics, Physiology or Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, and Peace. Our core businesses publish scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, encyclopedias, books, and online products and services; professional/trade books, subscription products, training materials, and online applications and Web sites; and educational materials for undergraduate and graduate students and lifelong learners. Wiley’s global headquarters are located in Hoboken, New Jersey, with operations in the U.S., Europe, Asia, Canada, and Australia. The Company’s Web site can be accessed at http://www.wiley.com.