GEMA wins court battle with file-sharing service Uploaded

GEMA wins court battle with file-sharing service Uploaded

Collective rights organisation GEMA has emerged victorious in its case with the regional court Munich I against file-sharing host Uploaded. 

The verdict confirms that Uploaded liable to pay damages if it does not prevent the upload and distribution of copyright-protected contents.

The regional court Munich I has decreed on August 10 that web services that base their models on large-scale copyright infringements are liable to pay damages.

“The regional court Munich has decided in the interest of our members. Their ruling confirms that file-sharing hosts play a significant role in the proliferation of music piracy,” said Dr Tobias Holzmüller, GEMA’s general counsel. “Online service providers have previously only been obliged to remove contents infringing copyright from their platforms. By pronouncing the liability to pay damages for file-share host Uploaded, composers, lyricists and music publishers at least get a small compensation for the rights infringements of their works that have been committed on a massive scale.”

File-share hosts such as Uploaded offer their customers storage for uploading files. They then create links to the uploaded files, which are shared as publicly accessible banks of links. The court has subsequently classified Uploaded as a service that represents a specific source of risk for copyright infringements.

Dr Harald Heker, GEMA CEO, commented on the ruling: “File-share hosts make a lot of money with the exploitation of creative contents. Copyright infringements are thus deliberately taken into account and accepted. This imbalance at the expense of our members is unacceptable for us. We therefore demand a legal framework where platform operators are held accountable and authors finally get their fair share in the respective proceeds. This decision is a clear signal for creatives.”

Judges found that the file-share host had not removed files identified by GEMA as infringing copyright to a sufficient extent. The judgment, however, is not yet legally binding. 

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