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.

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Companies: louis vuitton

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Comments on “Court Finds Web Hosts Liable For Counterfeit Sales By Web Sites”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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!

Travis says:

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.

Me says:

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…….

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