from the tertiary-liability dept
That's why a recent court ruling in Germany is so problematic. It's the followup to an earlier ruling that found a domain registrar, Key-Systems, liable for actions done by the users of a torrent tracking site H33T. H33T just hosted the torrent (which, we should remind you, is not the actual infringing file), and some users used that tracker to torrent the album Blurred Lines. When H33T failed to respond to a takedown notice, Universal Music went after the registrar, and the court said it was Key-System's responsibility to stop the infringement. Of course, the only way for the registrar to do that is to yank the entire domain.
The case was appealed, but the appeals court upheld the lower court ruling. Even though the registrar pointed out (accurately) that it had no way of knowing if the torrent was actually infringing, the court said that the registrar was responsible for assuming it must be infringing once it had contacted the domain owners and not received a response. That's an interesting shifting of the burden of proof. The court also seems unconcerned that the only way the registrar can remedy the situation is to take everything down, saying that if the website didn't want this to happen it should have responded promptly to the takedown notices it had received.
Much of this seems to focus on assuming guilt unless one can prove innocence, and further believing that it's somehow "obvious" to recognize when someone is infringing on copyrights. As the Universal Music lawyer tells TorrentFreak in the link above, the company is quite excited about this new power, and will "have this in mind when looking at other domains."