Two separate but related cases are casting a new spotlight on how liability for copyright infringement is being shared around internet services. First: RapidShare.
The cyberlocker service has been sparring with games firm Atari since 2008 over piracy of its Alone in the Dark game. A German court ruled in Atari’s favour, but then a higher court overturned the decision.
Now the German Federal Supreme Court has ruled somewhere between the two: RapidShare is not liable for direct infringement, but can in certain circumstances be held liable for secondary infringement, if notified about piracy of a specific game (or film, album etc).
The court wants RapidShare to monitor a “manageable number” of external link-sites, deleting copies of files that have been reported as infringing.
And so to technology publisher CNET, whose Download.com site is the target of a separate action from music producer David Alki in the US.
That lawsuit has been allowed to proceed by federal judge Dale S. Fischer, with Alki and his fellow plaintiffs claiming that CNET is guilty of copyright inducement by offering software that can be used for piracy – but also reviewing these applications, sometimes with screenshots making their piracy uses clear.