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Atari loses out in Rapidshare lawsuit

Higher court rules in favour of Rapidshare over Alone in the Dark distribution

Atari has lost out in an appeal case against file sharing site Rapidshare over distribution of its Alone in the Dark videogame.

Atari had successfully argued last year that Rapidshare should block unauthorised downloads of its game via the site, and it had a responsibility to retrieve, filter and delete all content containing certain keywords in relation to the game.

But the Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf has overturned that previous decision, ruling that a keyword was not compelling evidence that a file included infringing material and that a manual check would be too work intensive, according to IPkitten.

"There are certain defences or exemptions from liability for operators of sites or services that allow others to send or receive data," Alex Chapman of Sheridan's Solicitors, told "These were brought in to cover the liability of ISPs and telecoms companies who argued that they can't know and can't reasonably be expected to monitor what is sent or received through their networks.

"However, they mean that often file sharing services can benefit and avoid liability unless they know or have reason to believe there is infringing content being made available and fail to act expediently to prevent it continuing.

"The issue is that knowing that generally the service is used to distribute infringing or pirate works is not necessarily enough - there should be some specific knowledge of its existence in order that the service operator can identify it and do something about it."

He added: "This case doesn't really say anything new but it does highlight the difficulties that games companies have in preventing piracy and unlawful file sharing."

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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