European Court Finds Web Host Liable for BitTorent Site

(Ping! Zine Web Tech Magazine) – A recent court case in the Netherlands may have set a new legal precedent for hosting providers in the region.

Hosting firm XS Networks was recently found liable for allegedly pirated files hosted through its customer SumoTorrent, according to a report from the BBC on Thursday.

The ruling arrived after the web host allegedly refused to remove the customer’s website at the request of Brein, a copyright protection rights group in the Netherlands.

Tim Kuik, who oversees Brein, discussed the litigation process with the BBC. He noted that his group initially makes content removal requests to the websites. However, if they fail to comply, the group asks the hosting provider for removals.

“What is new now is that the court has ruled that a hosting provider that doesn’t act promptly becomes liable for damages,” Kuik was quoted by the BBC as saying.

The move, however, could cause considerable controversy among rights experts. A report on the matter from TorrentFreak.com noted it set a “dangerous precedent, both from privacy and censorship perspectives.”

TorrentFreak also said, “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.”

Without a doubt, the issue of liability has remained controversial, especially in the United States where recently considered legislation including PIPA and SOPA have alarmed those in the tech world. The bills were placed on hold following considerable opposition from a number of companies.

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