The Swiss-based Rapidshare AG has said this week that it is suing the Geman rights holder association GEMA. Rapidshare AG is operating the platform, which recently has been the target of an injunction initiated by GEMA, forcing Rapidshare to stop the distribution of works from the GEMA catalogue.

Rapidshare now wants to user their own lawsuit to clarify the legal situation regarding free file hosting in Germany. A press release quotes Rapdishare CEO Bobby Chang saying:

"The murky state of law is devastating for our industry."

GEMA sued Rapidshare back in January due to the distribution of MP3 files though The organization, which represents the rights of authors and performers, won a peliminary injunction that forced Rapidhsare to cede the distribution of these files.

Rapidshare appealed this decision, but lost the appeal in March in front of the District Court of Cologne. The court also forced Rapidshare to actively monitor uploads for works of the GEMA catalogue - something that is not only close to impossible, but also not covered by German copyright law, according to Rapidshare. Chang argues that people have the right to make backup copies of their music. His company couldn't differentiate between such legal uses of MP3s and unauthorized distribution.

Chang instead wants the court to set in place rules that are similiar to the Safe Harbor Provisions of the DMCA in the United States. These DMCA provisions shield web hosting providers from the actions of their users. Says Chang:

"We are confident that it is possible to solve the conflict with GEMA while at the same time paying tribute to innovation."

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