Asset Publisher

15 March 2012

Higher Regional Court of Hamburg decides in favor of GEMA

In its decision on March 14, 2012, the Higher Regional Court of Hamburg confirmed the seminal decision of the District Court of Hamburg from June 12, 2009 in favor of GEMA. According to the ruling, the file hoster RapidShare is still prohibited from making available to its users via its online storage service certain works of music in GEMA's repertoire.
The ruling confirms that RapidShare must implement effective measures to prevent the use of illegal contents. The measures implemented by RapidShare so far were determined to be insuffi-cient. In particular, it is insufficient to only delete content after notification by the copyright hold-ers. In fact, RapidShare is obligated to implement additional measures to prevent a copyright in-fringement from occurring repeatedly.

The proceedings were meant to determine which obligations an online storage service has to copyright holders whose works are made available illegally in mass quantities. The confirmation of the ruling of the court of first instance is therefore a groundbreaking step concerning the liabil-ity of Internet platforms such as RapidShare. Such platforms store contents of anonymous users free-of-charge and enable third parties to access these contents via links, which can be dissemi-nated copiously. The platform providers make a financial profit with these contents.

At the same time as the decision in the proceedings initiated by GEMA, a corresponding decision was reached in two parallel proceedings. RapidShare is prohibited from making available the book publishing repertoires of Buchverlage Campus and Walter de Gruyter (supported by the German Publishers and Booksellers Association).

RapidShare, with over 160 million stored files, 500,000 new uploads per day, and more than 42 million visitors daily, is one of the world's largest file-hosting services in the world. This service allows users to unlawfully acquire contents on a large scale. The resulting loss to copyright holders is immense.

GEMA represents in Germany the copyrights of more than 64,000 members (composers, text authors, and music publishers), as well as over two million copyright owners from all over the world. It is one of the largest societies for authors of music works in the world.

Press contact:
Bettina Müller, director of marketing & communication
E-mail:, telephone: +49 89 48003 – 426