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File hosting site RapidShare shut down?

RapidShare, the popular file hosting site used by developers and pirates alike has apparently been shut down at least temporarily by a court order. Heise Online is reporting that GEMA, a German royalties collection agency has filed a complaint against RapidShare, claiming that the service hosts copyrighted materials, which it's fairly safe to say is true.

GEMA wants RapidShare to provide details on how many files hosted on the site are copyrighted works of GEMA members. RapidShare has historically said that it does not inspect the files uploaded by users. We've seen companies like YouTube demonstrate in recent years that it is possible to build copyright detection software to inspect for illegally uploaded files. But we've also seen that no system so far is foolproof, so it should be interesting to see if RapidShare fights the complaint, promises to implement some sort of filters, or fades off into oblivion.

Another open question is what will happen to all the RapidShare members who have shelled out money for paid accounts? While RapidShare has provided some basic services for free, users have to pay subscription fees for access to faster downloads and and simultaneous downloads.

Update: As several people have pointed out in the comments, RapidShare appears to be back online. The reports of a site shutdown were apparently false and everything is back to normal.

[via TechShout, thanks Omar!]

Tags: copyright, file-hosting, file-sharing, RapidShare