Web Host Sued for Copyright Infringement

according to report of straits times, a web host was sued and has been found liable for copyright infringement after pictures of two models were posted in a forum that the hosting provider hosts.

the ruling was truly a landmark decision that had far-reaching implications for other web sites and worse, web hosts.

‘No longer can a host claim that he has no control over what is posted on the website and is therefore not liable for copyright infringement or libel because these were committed by third parties.

‘Hosts have to either continuously check what is on their websites or face repercussions. This judgment makes that very clear.’

if this is how similar cases would be handled in the future, too bad, anybody can easily destroy any innocent hosting provider any time.

1)why a web host is resiposible for contents that do not belong to them? a web site belongs to web site owner, not the hosting provider. this is very critical difference. if web host is liable simply because the content sit on the host’s server, then all ISPs including singtel, starhub, pacnet, are liable because the illegal content did go through their facilities as well.

2)it’s impossible for web host to check all material on their servers. how can anybody go through millions of posts which is normal for a forum? even if hosts spend money/manpower to do this, how can we know which picture is copyright infringement? how to know who owns copyright to any image? how to know it’s copyright infringement even before the pic is posted (as the report indicates, once it’s posted, your in trouble)? following logic, the rulling leads to, no singaporean or singapore business is qualified to provide web hosting service.

3)all serious web hosts have terms of service, acceptable usage policy, that clients have to agree before signing up, which indicates clearly the web site owner is resposible for any and all web site content. this serves as contract between web hosts and their clients. why it’s not valid/legal?

i fully understand IP is valuable assets, sometimes extreamely valuable, and we honor that. if we find any of our clients uses material that he has no rights to use, we send warning to him, and take the site down if needed.

but the problem is, we have to know the issue before taking action. how can we know?

and why we’re resposible for something that we did not touch, that does not belong to us, that we have never seen, that we have never heard of, that was not generated by us… ?!

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