With its ruling of 21 March 2007, Cologne Regional Court has confirmed its interim injunctions of 11 and 15 January 2007 against the operators of the Rapidshare service under the addresses "www.rapidshare.de" and "www.rapidshare.com".
The Court holds that the sharehoster can be held responsible for copyright violations committed within the scope of its service. It is required to comprehensively control its service for future infringements of works from GEMA's repertoire known by it to have been used unlawfully.
This ruling is an important landmark decision for the rights owners. It establishes that it is perfectly reasonable to expect service operators to ensure that any concrete legal violations coming to their attention are not repeated or continued.
GEMA's Chief Executive Officer Dr. Harald Heker commented: "The Court's decision confirms that it cannot be the task of the rights owners to control at their own cost the continued operation of services, which generate commercial profit from unlawful use of their works. This decision will also send out a major signal to all services enlisting the help of the individual users to create a comprehensive illegal offer and then in the end to use this offer for generating revenue for themselves".
In Germany, GEMA administers the copyrights of more than 60,000 members (composers, lyricists and music publishers) as well as those of over 1 million rights owners from all corners of the world. With an income of EUR 852 million (in the financial year 2005) it is one of the world's largest authors' societies for works of music.