(The Hosting News) – Should web hosts be responsible for the actions of their customers? The exact issue was recently explored in a case occurring in the Netherlands.
According to a BBC report from Thursday, a court found hosting provider XS Networks liable for pirated content made available through file sharing site Sumo Torrent, one of its customers.
The lawsuit was pursued by Brein, a privacy protection group in the country. The organization’s executive, Tim Kuik, spoke to the BBC about the process of going after sites which carry illegal content.
“If the sites are unco-operative, we go to the hosting provider that has to take them down according to a Dutch law, which states that if a site [falls into the category of] ‘evidently illegal sites’, the hosting provider has to take it offline,” Kuik noted in the BBC report.
What does the new ruling mean for web hosts? It makes them liable if their uncooperative during the incident, Kuik went on to emphasize.
While the case may have set a new precedent, it still remains controversial among many in the online community.
“With this ruling in hand BREIN can ask for the shutdown of any site they deem to be infringing, as well asking for the personal details of the site owner. Providers who refuse to cooperate will make themselves liable for damages caused by the website in question,” stated a report appearing on TorrentFreak.com. The news site also added that it set “a dangerous precedent, both from privacy and censorship perspectives.”
In the United States, legislation including the Protect IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act have been as equally controversial with web hosts fearing stipulations in the bills could make customers just as liable for customers’ actions. Earlier this year, the U.S. Congress placed indefinite holds on the pending laws following a backlash from the tech community.