Dutch Appeals Court Says eBay Subsidiary Not Liable For Infringement By Users
from the but-what-about-the-pirate-bay? dept
Here, the court said that a neutral intermediary is not responsible for infringement done by users, and cited last summer's European Court of Justice ruling in the eBay/L'Oreal case. We found that ruling to leave open way too many loopholes that would make intermediaries liable, but thankfully, the appeals court in the Netherlands recognized the key issues, and insisted that Marplaats retains its status as a neutral platform even though it provides many more functions beyond just hosting. The court found that since the functions it performs don't favor either buyers or sellers, it still is considered a "neutral" intermediary.
The court also looked at whether or not certain remedies that Stokke was pushing for made sense, and noted that injunctions that required pro-active monitoring to prevent infringement did not make sense, in part because they seemed disproportionate and expensive. It similarly rejects a "notice and stay-down" provision (like a notice and take-down, but which also requires proactive blocking of any future attempts to post something infringing), noting that such a system would be costly and provide little real benefit.
Overall, this latest ruling seems to make sense, and properly focuses the liability question away from the intermediary tool provider. However, I do wonder how the court rulings against The Pirate Bay (and against neutral proxy services) make sense under a similar light.