Contributory Copyright Infringement: Host Held Liable For Website Content

By Eric Misterovich

In yet another blow to the torrent scene, Sumotorrent’s web host, XS Networks, has been found liable by The Hague for facilitating copyright infringement. The case, which was filed by BREIN, the anti-piracy arm of the Dutch recording and movie industries, claimed that XS Networks should be held liable for copyright facilitation. This facilitation claim arose out of XS Networks’ refusal to terminate the account of Sumotorrent even though it had knowledge that Sumotorrent was using that account to infringe upon the copyright rights of third parties.

 

Though this ruling is incredibly important because it stands for the proposition that Internet service providers must act quickly to terminate infringing accounts or face damages, it is unlikely to have any effect on Sumotorrent’s ability to operate, as Sumotorrent moved to servers hosted in the Ukraine prior to the lawsuit. XS Networks closed in February, so it is unclear whether BREIN will be able to collect any damages from the former host. Regardless, it increasingly appears that courts are unwilling to provide leeway to Internet service providers that take a hands-off approach with respect to copyright infringement.

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