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Rapidshare stung with €24m fine

German royalties collector chalks up big win

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File hosting service Rapidshare has been fined €24m by a German court and ordered to filter online content more effectively.

German royalties collector GEMA, which brought the case against the company, had called on the Regional Court in Hamburg to order Rapidshare to prohibit around 5,000 music tracks from being made available online.

"The judgment states that the hosting service itself is now responsible for making sure that none of the music tracks concerned are distributed via its platform in the future," according to a GEMA statement (in German).

"This means that the copyright holder is no longer required to perform the ongoing and complex checks."

Additionally, the court ruled that Rapidshare and other file sharing sites had not taken enough preventative measures to halt copyright breaches taking place via the service.

"The judgment... marks a milestone in GEMA's efforts to combat the illegal use of music works on the internet," said the organisation's CEO Harald Heker.

"GEMA will continue to do everything it can to shield its members from online piracy. We are confident that in this way we will be able to reduce the illegal use of the GEMA repertoire on the internet to a negligible level."

Rapidshare could not immediately be reached for comment at time of writing. ®

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