Torrent site hoster liable for piracy damages

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Torrent site hoster liable for piracy damages

Rights holders go after defunct web host.

A precedent-setting ruling by a Dutch court has found a web host guilty of facilitating copyright infringement by one of its customer sites and therefore, liable for damages.

According to the BBC, the case was brought by the Dutch Protection Rights Entertainment Industry Netherlands or BREIN against XS Networks, which hosted file sharing site SumoTorrent.

BREIN had asked XS Networks to shut down SumoTorrent but the hosting firm refused, saying it would only do so under court order.

SumoTorrent is no longer hosted by XS Networks, and has moved its servers to the Ukraine. XS Networks itself ceased operations in February this year.

Even then, BREIN intends to pursue the case against XS Networks. Dutch law states that if "evidently illegal sites" are uncooperative to take-down requests, hosting providers have to act and take them offline.

"What is new now is that the court has ruled that a hosting provider that doesn't act promptly becomes liable for damages," the head of BREIN, Tim Kuik, told the BBC.

Kuik said the Dutch case will have consequences throughout the European Union.

The court in The Hague is yet to set the amount of damages payable to BREIN on top of 2000 euro ($2500) in legal costs by XS Networks.

However, XS Networks must hand over all the information it has on the operator/s of SumoTorrent, or face a penalty of 10,000 euro ($12,500) a day, to a maximum of 500,000 euro ($625,000).

The web hosting firm and SumoTorrent have already provided some personal details to BREIN voluntarily, but these records turned out to be false.

XS Networks also hosted h33t.com which is one of the torrent sites that UK ISPs this week have been requested to block by the British Phonographic Industry.

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