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Music The Courts Games Your Rights Online

Atari Loses Copyright Suit Against RapidShare 198

Posted by Soulskill
from the game-over-play-again? dept.
dotarray writes "Online copyright lawsuits aren't all about music. Video game publisher Atari Europe recently became concerned that copies of its game Alone in the Dark were floating around one-click file-hosting service RapidShare, so it took the hosting company to court. While they won the initial case, the decision was overturned on appeal, finding that RapidShare is doing nothing wrong."
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Atari Loses Copyright Suit Against RapidShare

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  • torrent (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 07, 2011 @07:44AM (#34789366)

    They did nothing wrong hosting a full game, while other site hosting torrents are?

    • Re:torrent (Score:5, Informative)

      by HungryHobo (1314109) on Friday January 07, 2011 @07:50AM (#34789396)

      they follow the DMCA, they remove things when people report stuff to them.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by mwvdlee (775178)

        Then they allow the exact same file to be uploaded again with a slightly different filename.

        Gone is AloneInTheDark_87A81B2717B.zip, say hello to AloneInTheDark_87A81B2717C.zip

        And they don't provide any means for copyright holders to prevent this.

        Rapidshare may be legally right, morally they are very wrong.

        • Re:torrent (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mariushm (1022195) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:14AM (#34789522)

          And you suppose they should just ban everything with the text "AloneInTheDark" in the name, as if nobody can upload some some screenshots or some machinima movie or some game mod or some fan related stuff for Alone In The Dark... Just look up Youtube to see how many videos are for "Alone in the dark", only 5040 videos.

          The reality is the name of the file has nothing to do with the content... and if you enforce something like this, soon you'll find files called a.rar, a.r01 and so on, and copyright owners won't even find the pirated stuff because people posting pirated content will just type the description, do a print screen and post the picture with the details instead of text. And how is that going to help anyone?

          • (...) and if you enforce something like this, soon you'll find files called a.rar, a.r01 and so on, and copyright owners won't even find the pirated stuff because people posting pirated content will just type the description, do a print screen and post the picture with the details instead of text. And how is that going to help anyone?

            Some groups have been doing this for some time now, generally using the first letters of the name. For this it might be something along the lines of al.int.d.r01.

          • by sjames (1099)

            Exactly. And since an archive can easily contain any sort of salt, hash values can't help either. Even individual and personal vetting by a human being won't work. Someone will just XOR the material with something else and publish the key separately.

        • Re:torrent (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ledow (319597) on Friday January 07, 2011 @08:21AM (#34789570) Homepage

          So not only must Rapidshare know the name of every film, book and video game in existence (and in copyright) but they also have to filter anything that sounds even vaguely like them, has characters added, uses "l33t" spelling, etc. so that they don't accidentally host them? And not only that, but they have to go by the filename, so if I upload 2.7 millions movie clips all called "Aliens", they have to take every single one of them off despite not a single one of them actually having any copyrighted material in them?

          Yes, it's obvious that it's easy to circumvent. It's also immediately obvious that, even if a court orders it, they can't *stop* that no matter how many people they hire, checks they make, or copyright holders they work with. Thus it's a pointless exercise to try to pretend they can. All they NEED to do is react to reports of copyright infringement, the same as anyone else. If you don't react, you are basically hindering copyright holders from stamping out infringement. If you DO react, you're not getting in their way even if you do end up inadvertantly hosting some of their content - but you can at least say "it wasn't us, this guy gave us that file" and so trace it back to an individual that CAN be prosecuted (and refusing to identify users etc. will get you into the same trouble with courts as not taking off the files when asked to by a validated copyright holder).

          Additionally, I'm a copyright holder. I have written software, written books, drawn images, filmed videos and all manner of things. Thus if I ask, they have to take stuff down if I believe it's mine. That means they have to have some kinds of primitive checks to ensure I *am* a valid copyright owner and have NOT given my permission (there are some genuine software authors that willingly use RapidShare to save their bandwidth, for example), even for the most obscure and nonsensical things that get uploaded to their service. So even investigating every copyright infringement *report* is a huge burden, let alone every *potential* copyright infringement (which basically means performing those checks for EVERY file).

          RapidShare might be a hive of illegal content, but when reported it gets removed. So is eBay a hive of illegal content, but when you report it, it gets removed - whether that's because you're selling Nazi memorabilia in France, a baby, or just unlicensed software. It's RIDICULOUS to expect a host to pre-screen absolutely everything they put onto a download website or even a busy auction site. (Almost) Every court in the world recognises that and only expects them to co-operate fully when things ARE reported.

          • by mwvdlee (775178)

            So... how exactly does YouTube handle copyrights in video's? They don't do a perfect job, but they manage.

          • by bjourne (1034822)

            That argument, "it is to hard!" is so damn silly. Rapidshare have at their disposal this new thing called computers and technology. No, they can't manually check every file that is uploaded, but they can develop heuristic methods [wikipedia.org] to flag the content that is most likely warez and then manually remove that.

            For example, if a file gets more than 100 downloads per hour, it is most likely some copyrighted game or movie. If most of the referers who downloads the file comes from www.warezforum.com, then the file is

            • by gl4ss (559668)

              well, they read the geoshitties memo and decided that it wasn't a good policy to make popular content automatically disappear.

              it's just not good business.

              also your part has a 'manually remove that'. of course, you might understand that a lot of stuff put on rapidshare is in encrypted zips and the like.

              you'd like to put your imagination against all the worlds 15 year olds? your heuristic methods would come up with a lot of gray area positives too. unless you just go with the popular=illegal because otherwise

            • by delinear (991444)

              Those dirt simple heuristic methods took you five minutes to think of because they'd take five seconds for the warez community to skew into uselessness. Is a file getting more than 100 downloads an hour? What if they just upload 100 versions of the file and iterate through the link URLs they display on their sites - heuristic skewed. Most of the referers come from warez forums? Host a link on the warez site to a legitimate site and put the download link there, or have your community spend a little time clic

            • by ledow (319597)

              The second you filter, you become responsible for what passing through the filter. Ask ISP's in restrictive countries and almost any modern legal system. If you claim to have a "safe web filter" and then someone gets a dodgy site from it, you are deemed partly responsible because "why didn't your filter catch it"? I work in schools, so I know this problem well. This is why ISP's don't WANT to filter stuff, or people don't WANT to run cybercafes in restrictive countries, or why wikipedia DOESN'T moderate

              • by bjourne (1034822)

                The second you filter, you become responsible for what passing through the filter. Ask ISP's in restrictive countries and almost any modern legal system.

                Utter rubbish. That is not how the law works at all. Google has a safe-search feature, that doesn't mean someone can sue them for millions when something slips through that filter. Every ISP, torrent and hosting site filters out child porn and they are very good at it. TPB which prides themselves in hosting pirated content despite takedown letters, takes down child porn torrens within minutes of their uploading.

            • Yes becasue if it were really that simple, don't you think they would be doing it already? They aren't idiots, if it took you 2 minutes to come up with that (and it would take pirates 2 seconds to circumvent any of your ideas) they have thought of it too and decided it wasn't feasible. The argument "you can stop this without an inordinate amount of work" is so damn silly. That would be akin to asking Google to please remove every single porn link they currently serve up. The 2 reasons neither will happen is
              • by bjourne (1034822)

                Yes becasue if it were really that simple, don't you think they would be doing it already?

                No they wouldn't because they are making money on people sharing pirated material! People are supposed to want to download files from them, get pissed that "all their download slots are busy" and pay for premium accounts.

                • In my experience when you can get the same exact thing and the choices are: 1) Free or 2) Pay - very few people pick option #2. Especially with addons like Skip Screen that fully automate the waiting and then clicking when the timer counts down part of the download. I doubt Rapidshare is the huge cash cow you imagine it to be. 1 ad per 100MB download is not a huge revenue stream, and I would guess they have some serious hardware costs.
                • by hairyfeet (841228)

                  Bingo! We have a winner! For those that say "its too hard!" then how do you explain the absolutely obvious warez on Rapidshare? Pick ANY rapidshare search, your choice, and type in the name of current movies, what do you see? Name of movie, name of date, name of resolution, etc. At least a dozen for Inception when I just checked.

                  Now are you gonna seriously say finding THAT is too hard? Really? Because if so here is a nice bridge you might be interested in. It isn't that "rapidshare is trying and failing"

        • The DMCA put the "policing" responsibility on the copyright holders, who are, after all, the ultimate beneficiaries of the copyright anyway. So no, they shouldn't be forcing unrelated third parties to do it for them.

          • by Kjella (173770)

            They're not unrelated as in "they had nothing to do with it". YouTube undoubtedly, undeniably had ad income from pirated clips, the only question is how geared it is towards piracy. I mean, you can argue the hardware store profited from the sale of a crowbar too. The Betamax case was fairly clear for a piece of hardware they had no knowledge of how people used, namely at "substantial non-infringing uses".

            But what about a service? Much tougher, I mean YouTube in theory knows every clip they serve. And someti

            • I certainly see where you're coming from, but I think one could argue YouTube has "substantial non-infringing uses". Aside from copyright holders putting major stuff up themselves to promote it, there are also an awful lot of self-made videos on YouTube. There are people holding entire conversations and debates in a video format, with points and counterpoints stretching over several responses, from people who are relatively well-known to the guy down the street. I'd say that's a pretty substantial legitimat

        • by X.25 (255792)

          Then they allow the exact same file to be uploaded again with a slightly different filename.

          Gone is AloneInTheDark_87A81B2717B.zip, say hello to AloneInTheDark_87A81B2717C.zip

          And they don't provide any means for copyright holders to prevent this.

          Rapidshare may be legally right, morally they are very wrong.

          I can only laugh at your moral(e) values.

        • Rapidshare may be legally right, morally they are very wrong.

          A law that extends copyright for decades after the author's death is immoral. Extending copyrights decades after a work was created is immoral.

          So, should we follow the law or should we try to be moral?

          If the law had any relation to morality it would follow the constitutional mandate that copyrights are for the authors and last for a limited time. They are not for a corporation to extend indefinitely long after the original term expired and the author died.

        • >>>morally they are very wrong.

          Alone in the Dark is over 14 years old. (If I recall correctly.) It should be in the public domain anyway. "Morality" tells me that no company should have a permanent monopoly on art. Imagine if the Venus de Milo or Mona Lisa were still copyrighted, such that nobody could reproduce them, not even in textbooks. We cannot lock-up our culture like that.

          Also RapidShare isn't really hosting the file. They are merely a man-in-the-middle providing addresses between Me

          • >>>Alone in the Dark is over 14 years old.
            >>>(If I recall correctly.)

            Okay I double-checked. AitD was first published in 1992, so it really should be in public domain by now, per the original Copyright Act of 1790. Ditto parts 2,3 and the spinoff Jack in the Dark.

            Like I said in my previous post I consider it immoral for megacorps to lock-up our culture indefinitely & make it non-copyable. Imagine if nobody ever saw the Mona Lisa because some corporation still held the copyright and r

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          Rapidshare may be legally right, morally they are very wrong.

          Like Obiwan said to Luke, that depends on your point of view.

          Some people think homosexuality is immoral, some think that drinking is immoral, and hell, my great aunt told my grandmother that she was going to hell because she wore pants. Morality depends on your viewpoint.

          There are people who think there should be no such thing as copyright, there are people who have bought a license to the game but scratched the CD, there are people who don't want

        • by 1u3hr (530656)
          Gone is AloneInTheDark_87A81B2717B.zip, say hello to AloneInTheDark_87A81B2717C.zip And they don't provide any means for copyright holders to prevent this. Rapidshare may be legally right, morally they are very wrong.

          So you'd like Atari to be able to veto any filename that contained those words? Then Microsoft would veto anything that contained, say "Windows", Word", "Bob".....

          I've never heard of Atari's "Alone in the dark", what if I used that as the title of a video I made? It'd be deleted;. I'd b

      • by RJHelms (1554807)
        Yeah, I'm sure their compliance with the DCMA means a lot in a lawsuit heard in the Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf.
      • by Coren22 (1625475)

        I would even add the response that torrent sites don't host the full game, just a link to the person who is hosting the whole game.

        Unfortunately, the GP posted anon, so why bother to respond directly to him :)

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      They didn't host the game, in full or part. They hosted a link to it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    RapidShare, hosts (unknowingly) copyright content, not guilty

    PirateBay, doesn't host (knowingly) copyright content, guilty

    granted, different jurisdictions

    • by 91degrees (207121)
      Oh come on! The Pirate Bay knew that most of the stuff was infringing copyright, and even if they weren't aware of it should have been after receiving legal demands to remove access to the material.

      Rapidshare actually made some effort to prevent distribution.
      • by Rysc (136391) *

        Except that in the jurisdiction in which The Pirate Bay operates there is no legal way to demand that you remove a link to copyrighted material that you do not yourself host. That's a USA law and not found in most other places.

      • Awe..... pity those poor Corporations with their billion-dollar capital and millions in annual revenue, while they layoff programmers who did nothing wrong (except they are unneeded human cattle) (and Indian,Chinese programmers are cheaper). Ahh poor little baby megacorps. Ahhh.

        Bullshit. I don't give a fuck if movies/games the Megacorps make get downloaded. They will STILL find a way to make money, even if it's only through theater tickets and Walmart DVD sales. I think they will survive. '

      • But TPB didn't HOST the files. They just helped people find them.

    • by Rysc (136391) * <sorpigal@gmail.com> on Friday January 07, 2011 @07:56AM (#34789426) Homepage Journal

      No.

      Rapidshare hosts (unknowingly) copyrighted content, not guilty.

      PirateBay does not host any copyrighted content, guilty.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Yea, you should completely ignore intent when thinking about these sorts of things.


      • No.

        Rapidshare hosts (unknowingly) copyrighted content, not guilty.

        PirateBay does not host any copyrighted content, guilty.

        I guess we all get your point however as an advice on wording: nothing in the world is non copy righted
        There might be stuff you can legally copy and distribute. But that stuff does not have no copy right.
        If no other rule or law applies, the copyright is always by the creator of a work. This posting e.g. including the quotation of my parent poster, is copyrighted by ME. I simply dont get

    • RapidShare hosts content themselves, and takes down content when requested to. Atari sued them because they didn't want to keep sending takedown notices, and would prefer that RapidShare do their job for them, like YouTube currently does for copyright holders ("here, tell us what files you don't like look like, and we'll handle it automatically"). The courts sensibly said that RapidShare doesn't have to offer any more help to Atari than they already do.

      PirateBay doesn't host content themselves, infringing

      • they very sensibly don't respond to takedown notices

        Yes they do, they have an entire page full of taunting 'haha, we're not in your jurisdiction' replies that they've sent.

      • what I find highly amusing about PirateBay is that they take down fake & malware torrents very quickly when downloaders report them...
  • I don't believe it (Score:5, Informative)

    by paganizer (566360) <thegrove1 AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday January 07, 2011 @07:49AM (#34789388) Homepage Journal

    If nothing else, this article led me to the Wikipedia page that provided the information that Alone in the Dark was remade in 2008, and that Atari is suing pretty much everyone that has anything to do with it.

    It was REALLY exciting, until I realized that no North American courts are involved... A sane decision concerning copyright infringement by a U.S. Court would be really fantastic.

    • by KDR_11k (778916)

      From what I read playing that AITD remake alone is punishment enough, no need to rub it in with a lawsuit.

    • If nothing else, this article led me to the Wikipedia page that provided the information that Alone in the Dark was remade in 2008, and that Atari is suing pretty much everyone that has anything to do with it.

      It was REALLY exciting, until I realized that no North American courts are involved... A sane decision concerning copyright infringement by a U.S. Court would be really fantastic.

      Apparently, while this article may have led you to the Wiki page, it didn't lead you to the article's third paragraph, which states:

      This is not the first time that the file hosting company has come under the legal spotlight. Last year, the same German appeals court overturned a separate ruling against them, while a US court has also decided the company is not liable for its users behaviour.

  • One click? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Friday January 07, 2011 @09:40AM (#34790056) Journal

    one-click file-hosting service RapidShare

    One click? Sure, if you mean one click to follow the posted link, then three more clicks to navigate towards the download, a few more to skip adds, then at least five more to answer questions like "Do you want the premium service? [NO], I don't want to wait, sign me up. [YES] I want it..... [extremely tiny font] just download my fucking file already [/extremely tiny font]

    • by delinear (991444)
      Hmm, I don't have much prior experience of Rapidshare but I've downloaded a few patches from there in the last couple of weeks and I got none of that - just a link to a page with two BIG buttons, one for premium (click for immediate download) and one for free (have to wait like 30 seconds or something but then I think the download started by itself), so one click or no click and a short wait - I just switched tabs until it was ready to download. Admittedly this wasn't for large files (all under 2mb, they on
    • by eulernet (1132389)

      Or you can use jdownloader:
        http://jdownloader.org/ [jdownloader.org]

  • by smash (1351) on Friday January 07, 2011 @10:21AM (#34790414) Homepage Journal

    I mean piracy of that game? I got 5 minutes into the demo, bored out of my brain and quit.

    Why bother wasting the bandwidth?

    • by zmollusc (763634)

      There was a demo?
      The rat-thing leaping up and down at the window scared the crap out of me. And the creepy statue on the stairs.

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