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Ruling: torrent site host liable for copyright infringement

updated 08:35 pm EDT, Wed October 24, 2012

Court fees plus undetermined copyright damages due from host

Anti-piracy outfit BREIN has won a prescedent-setting case against web host XS Networks, the previous provider for torrent site SumoTorrent. XS Networks was found to be culpable in facilitation of copyright infringement, and has been acting unlawfully against the interests if the copyright holders represented by BREIN. The landmark ruling at the Court of the Hague has implications worldwide for the liability of hosting companies for the conduct of and content hosted by paid clients.

After a worldwide hosting shuffle, SumoTorrent returned to the Netherlands as a client of hosting provider XS Networks. BREIN asked XS Networks to shut the site down and hand over the personal details of the site owner. XS Networks initially refused, and demanded a court order to provide the data, but eventually agreed to voluntarily hand over some personal details. No court order was ever provided.

During the negotiations between BREIN and XS Networks, SumoTorrent fled the host, and relocated to the Ukraine. The personal information on record at XS Networks was false. According to the court filing, XS Networks was to blame for the outcome, and BREIN sued the company pursuing damages for the copyright infringment it thought to be as a result of XS Networks' failure to turn over data in a timely fashion.

"The unlawful characteristics of the (activities on) SumoTorrent were evident. Moreover they were obvious to XS Networks, or should have been obvious to XS Networks," the verdict reads. No financial judgement has been specified, but beyond legal costs the provider is on the hook for damages for the infringing content that was shared through Bittorrent magnet links (and not necessarily hosted) on XS servers. The company must also hand over all personal information they have on SumoTorrent operators, or face a fine of 10,000 euros a day.

by MacNN Staff



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