Can a web hosting company be liable for user trademark and copyright violations posted on a website hosted by the company?
As an internet lawyer, I see web hosting companies get dragged into all sorts of trademark, copyright, defamation and other litigation. A good example of this can be seen in the recent contributory copyright and trademark infringement litigation case Louis Vuitton Malletier SA v. Akanoc Solutions, Inc., No. 10-15909 (9th Cir. Sept. 12, 2011) where a US-based web hosting company, Akanoc, was sued for hosting websites selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton goods and failing to comply with numerous takedown notices sent by Vuitton.
websites are not ethereal; while they exist, virtually, in cyberspace, they would not exist at all without physical roots in servers and internet services....Appellants had control over the services and servers provided to the websites. Stated another way, Appellants had direct control over the “master switch” that kept the websites online and available.
Although the appeal was partially successful by reducing the Jury's award of approximately $32 million down to $10.8 million, ignoring or failing to promptly respond to or honor a copyright or trademark infringement takedown notice may result in expensive and lengthy litigation. If you are faced with a copyright or trademark infringement notice letter, you may be best served to seek representation from a internet lawyer who has both trial experience and the skills and knowledge of copyright and trademark law.
- Ninth Circuit Upholds Web Host's Liability for Counterfeiting Retailers--Louis Vuitton v. Akanoc, by Eric Goldman - Technology & Marketing Law Blog
- Another Bad Ruling In Louis Vuitton v. Akanoc, by Eric Goldman - Technology & Marketing Law Blog
- Making Sense of the $32M Contributory Trademark Infringement Judgment Against a Web Host, by Eric Goldman - Technology & Marketing Law Blog
- Web Host Faces Potential Contributory Trademark Liability, by Eric Goldman - Technology & Marketing Law Blog