Court Finds Web Hosts Liable For Counterfeit Sales By Web Sites

from the bad-precedents dept

While a US court last year (correctly) found that eBay is not liable for counterfeit goods sold by users, a recent court case won by Louis Vuitton surprisingly found that a web hosting company could be found liable, if a site hosted by the company sells counterfeit goods. The court finds the site guilty of both contributory copyright infringement and contributory trademark infringement, claiming that the host knows about the infringement due to notices from Louis Vuitton, without explaining how the hosting firm could possibly know if the complaints were legit or not (or whether the goods being sold were counterfeit or not). In a bit of a scary connecting of the dots, the court suggests that because the web host was notified, and because it could then disable the accounts, it's now liable as well. That creates a huge chilling effect for web hosts -- as it encourages them to basically shut off any website based on any accusation of selling counterfeit goods. If web hosts don't do that, they may face significant liability. There's nothing wrong with companies going after the actual sellers of counterfeit goods -- but going after the web host (and winning!) sets a dangerous precedent.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 4th, 2009 @ 7:55pm

    Sweet!

    Next step: sue New York City for the cheap knockoffs you can buy on the streets!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 8:14pm

    Cool
    So who hosts www.louisvuitton.com ?
    hmmm - looks like it registered with networksolutions
    and hosted with RWT RagingWire Telecommunications

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 8:17pm

    Don't worry about the chilling effects. Global warming will take care of that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 9:30pm

    Re:

    Not soon enough, it's been below zero Fahrenheit each day for weeks where I live! We're in the start of a freaking ice age! Where's my global warming?!?!?

    Oh, and I hope the courts go further and put liability on anyone that is informed the next time, including any local municipalities where the web host, company and owners are located. Maybe then they will see how ludicrous it all is. But it's France I'm sure, and we all know they are more backwards that the U.S. Congress!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    David, Feb 4th, 2009 @ 9:35pm

    Re:

    I wish I had something valid (or even semi-valid) I could claim Louis Vitton infringed my copyright on.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Feb 5th, 2009 @ 5:32am

    In the US?

    So this actually took place in the US?
    This needs to get appealed.
    Stupid stupid judge. Complete failure to have any forward thinking ability at all.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    Me, Feb 5th, 2009 @ 7:30am

    Why stop there?

    They could sue the post office, UPS, Fedex, etc for shipping the fake goods. And how about the digital camera makers for allowing pictures of the fake good to be taken with their equipment (how dare they!), and computer manufacturers for allowing such reprehensible actions to be committed using their hardware, and MS and Apple for providing software that OBVIOUSLY should only be allowed to perform legal activities.......

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2009 @ 7:48am

    So to take it a step further, if a brick and mortar establishment sells fake goods, the owner of the property is now liable for copryright infringement? (this is assuming, of course, that the establishmnet doesn't own the building)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2009 @ 2:05pm

    Re: In the US?

    Yes, Northern District of California. Seems pretty poorly reasoned by the Court, as it ignores several precedents. That doesn't mean it will be overturned, though. But a more reasonable court would likely find this conclusion quite a stretch.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 10th, 2009 @ 5:15pm

    Re: In the US?

    No. This happened in France.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    jj, Nov 25th, 2009 @ 10:53pm

    answered

    The same son answered: "Father,Ill eat it all!" Philadelphia Flyers Jersey
    The father added: "Tomorrow, we are going to plough the field. Who is going to plough?" Philadelphia Flyers Jerseys
    The oldest son answered again: "Its always me, always me. Now its someone elses turn to volunteer!"Men's Buffalo Sabres

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    guan_h, Jun 28th, 2010 @ 4:29am

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    HERMES BELT, Jul 26th, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Herve Leger Dress dress is elegantly designed and the material always is of the highest quality. The dress can show your charming body more. Every place highlights the perfect feminine body curve. Just only Buy Herve Leger
    dress which is appealing to you refined tastes. This dress will make you stand out from the crowd.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    lily, Sep 6th, 2010 @ 6:51am

    tree

    very nice

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    sunlight, Sep 7th, 2010 @ 9:00pm

    bags

    thank you

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    sumly, Sep 8th, 2010 @ 1:05am

    handbag

    beautiful bags

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Travis, Oct 20th, 2011 @ 4:26pm

    Re: In the US?

    Think of it like this... Someone owns an apartment building. One of the tenants is operating a meth lab out of one of the apartments. The owner has been told several times about it by a neighborhood watch group. The owner goes to the apartment and sees the meth lab, and does nothing. You don't think that the Apartment building owner has any liability for enabling the meth lab to operate?

    The web hosts are allowing illegal activities to be conducted through there servers. They are completely liable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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