In a case that may have legal implications stateside, TechCrunch reports that file hosting service Rapidshare has been fined by the Regional Court in Hamburg, Germany. The ruling could cost the company up to $34 million.
The suit, brought by copyright protection company GEMA, rules that Rapidshare isn’t allowed to host any of 5,000 tracks by artists GEMA represents and must keep them from being uploaded again. The file hosting service already lost another similar case t GEMA in January of 2008, and last year, the company started giving user information to labels that were looking to sue file sharers. $35 million is the value of the subject matter as determined by the court, not the actual fine, although it could be that much. While music piracy can be costly to illegal downloaders if caught, it doesn’t seem to be slowing down any – Rapidshare had nearly 3 million users in May.