Sunday, November 16, 2008

Copyright Violations as bad as Child Pornography?

I found this legal factoid in a washington post article a bit surprising.... "Web hosting providers are generally not liable for illegal activity carried out on their networks, except in cases involving copyright violations and child pornography." Hmmm... why are copyright violations being held to the same standard as child pornography? I was about to get myself into a big huff believing that recording and movie industry lobbyists snuck this in without anyone realizing.

But then I did a bit of research and realized that the quote is actually innacurate. Web hosting providers can get themselves into legal trouble for a variety of reasons other than copyright violations and child pornography including: trademark violations, inciting or abating terrorism, and defamation (with limits). Additionally, ISPs are almost never liable unless they are aware of the activity on their network. So if the ISP is ignorant of the activity, then they're probably safe.