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  1. #1

    Getting sued by 3M for hosting a copyright infringement website

    Hello,
    Today, we have got sued by 3M. Here is a summary of what happened:
    1. Received a complaint from Pirkey Barber LLP on 6/10/2011 3:49 (HKT)
    2. We forward the email to our customers on 6/11/2011 5:22 (HKT)
    3. No repsonse and we blocked his IP on 6/12/2011 (no exact time recorded)
    4. Customers moved the website to elsewhere
    5. We reply the email confirming the customer is out on 6/13/2011 12:45 (HKT)
    6. We received an email saying we got sued on 6/14/2011 22:19 (HKT). In the same emails, I see lots of other webhosting providers getting sued, like thePlanet, bluehost, pacnet and etc...

    I am very worried. Does anyone here have similar experience before? We only have a few servers and customers from US.... I guess we take action in a reasonable time....

    Thanks in advance
    Pang

  2. #2
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    "We received an email saying we got sued..."
    I wouldn't lose any sleep over it until you receive that nice yummy registered letter in the mail.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mekhu View Post
    I wouldn't lose any sleep over it until you receive that nice yummy registered letter in the mail.
    Agreed. They have to send you a certified notice.

  4. #4
    Thanks. It is mid-night here. I will go to sleep.

  5. #5
    Yeah to be honest dont think you have anything to worry about. I am sure any legit Solicitors would send out a letter in the mail then maby follow up with an email or a phone call

    But they must sent you a recorded delivery letter in the mail

    thanks

    craig

  6. #6
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    And if they are not still on your server, there is no way you can be sued in the first place. I would tell them to go pound sand. YOU NEED TO MAKE IT VERY CLEAR TO THEM IN WRITING that you do not host that client, etc. Send it certified mail.

    I stress that highly, because if you make them very aware that you no longer have anything to do with the client, did everything you in your power to remove the copyright infringing content, and they sue you anyway, you are going to be entitled to your legal fees, your time off work to appear in court, and quite possibly punitive damages, because they knowingly did the wrong thing legally.

    I'm sure the SoftLayer and BlueHost attorneys will take these folks to the cleaners (we all know that web hosts can't be liable for the content their clients host, so long as they respond to the DCMA/Copyright infringement notices appropriately).

    What these cats need to do is to be suing the client.

  7. #7
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  8. #8
    Whoa, that's going to get a little messy. They sued the whole farm for copyright infringement. Datacenters, Hosts, sites, domain providers, everyone involved.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by hostjunkies View Post
    Whoa, that's going to get a little messy. They sued the whole farm for copyright infringement. Datacenters, Hosts, sites, domain providers, everyone involved.
    and it looks quite funny which includes all of them.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by pang View Post
    Hello,
    Today, we have got sued by 3M. Here is a summary of what happened:
    1. Received a complaint from Pirkey Barber LLP on 6/10/2011 3:49 (HKT)
    2. We forward the email to our customers on 6/11/2011 5:22 (HKT)
    3. No repsonse and we blocked his IP on 6/12/2011 (no exact time recorded)
    4. Customers moved the website to elsewhere
    5. We reply the email confirming the customer is out on 6/13/2011 12:45 (HKT)
    6. We received an email saying we got sued on 6/14/2011 22:19 (HKT). In the same emails, I see lots of other webhosting providers getting sued, like thePlanet, bluehost, pacnet and etc...

    I am very worried. Does anyone here have similar experience before? We only have a few servers and customers from US.... I guess we take action in a reasonable time....

    Thanks in advance
    Pang
    Looks like you dealt with the issue within 3 days and in my personal opinion that is a really good turn around time for a copyright complaint.
    Doran
    Senior Support Advisor for daily.co.uk
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  11. #11
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    First, speak to a solicitor. In terms of general advice (IANAL), as a hosting provider, in most jurisdictions you have protection from prosecution so long as you do not continue hosting the alleged infringing content after you have been made aware that it is illegal.
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  12. #12
    That's a big list of products. I don't know how they can keep track of all of the cyber-squatters.

    http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3...ods/3M-Brands/

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by M Bacon View Post
    That's a big list of products. I don't know how they can keep track of all of the cyber-squatters.

    http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3...ods/3M-Brands/
    Lawyers never sleep

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by M Bacon View Post
    That's a big list of products. I don't know how they can keep track of all of the cyber-squatters.

    http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3...ods/3M-Brands/
    they have specialist to trace for them to keep track of all of the cyber-squatters.

    Pang,

    have your written terms; limited of liability + disclaimer, register it as legal document.

    agreed with hostjunkies
    dazmanultra

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patrick View Post
    Whoa...

    I guess my comment above is retracted. Time to lose some sleep. I wouldn't even respond back in this thread anymore. As others have said, the way you describe things sounds pretty decent in regards to a timeframe of warning and taking something offline. GO GET A LAWYER!

    Best of luck.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mekhu View Post
    Whoa...

    I guess my comment above is retracted. Time to lose some sleep. I wouldn't even respond back in this thread anymore. As others have said, the way you describe things sounds pretty decent in regards to a timeframe of warning and taking something offline. GO GET A LAWYER!

    Best of luck.
    I agree - seek legal counsel now.

  17. #17
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    Everyone is involved except for the guy doing the content that probably paid $10/month, now Pang have to seek for a lawyer for GOD knows how many money.

    This is not fun at all.
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  18. #18
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    Wow I am surprised a large company like that is going after that many people...

  19. #19
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    If you guys read the filing, they allege that the hosting companies didn't respond...

  20. #20
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    Looks like they filed suit the same day they sent the DMCA; this is not kosher. Regardless, seems like you will need a lawyer ...
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  21. #21
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    I hope you registered with your DMCA agent with copyright.gov. If you didn't, you have very little protection against DMCA safeharbor and are liable for damages if they try to seek them from you.

    We recently went through something similar, the best advice I can tell you is not to respond and talk directly to an attorney.
    Last edited by stablehost; 06-16-2011 at 04:16 PM.

  22. #22
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    You should try contacting some of the other companies (larger ones) in the suit and see what assistance there law department will provide. Some companies might just offer to settle and if you don't have deep pockets, not sure how you'll battle...

  23. #23
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    Is there exist any law to protect hosting company ?
    In this case, a guy, who has hosted a website is problem of all but why hosting company/domain registrar has to suffer ?
    Today, hosting company/domain registrar have their automated billing systems. Nobody is having time to check where our servers are hosting copyrighted material or not.

    Why 3M has not asked details of that website owner/client who is having copyrighted issue ?
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by troboy View Post
    Is there exist any law to protect hosting company ?
    In this case, a guy, who has hosted a website is problem of all but why hosting company/domain registrar has to suffer ?
    Today, hosting company/domain registrar have their automated billing systems. Nobody is having time to check where our servers are hosting copyrighted material or not.

    Why 3M has not asked details of that website owner/client who is having copyrighted issue ?
    This is why there's the DMCA Safe Harbor to protect hosting providers, however to be protected, you need to register and pay the fee.

    Most people don't do this and get bit in the ass after the fact.

    To register: http://www.copyright.gov/onlinesp/agent.pdf

  25. #25

    Fishy

    You were notified and thus removed said content (removed customer).
    IHMO you did your due diligence however now potentially on the hook for this clients container.
    I look it like a rental car. They are renting space (the car) should they upload infringing content (crash the car) they are ultimately responsible.

    If it were me I would tell them to eat it, it's been removed. But reality is they have lawyers you don't, yet.. Talk to one pronto..

  26. #26
    I think this is taking things too far as for the 3M guys. The lawsuit enlists Name.com and DirectI.com amongst some other registrars. They allowed domains with 3m to be registered on their sites.

    This raises a few very serious questions:

    - How can a registrar prevent a copyrighted name from being registered?
    - How can 3M claim rights to a domain like 3minter.com or 3m-thai.com? Did it find content that talked about 3M on these sites?
    - How can a small web host who makes $20 a month from the said account be held accountable for a client who uses cpanel or WHM to create accounts post the setup of his reseller/client account?

    Essentially, where does the accountability stop for a domain registrar and a web host?

    I think the lawsuit will be contested well by the likes of Name.com and other registrars and it won't hurt to get legal opinion. However, the good thing is that you have taken prompt action.

    The problem I see is that this lawsuit has a potential to open the entire web hosting industry to frivolous complaints. At the end of the day, we need to ask whether the hassle is worth it for the sake of $10 a month?

    Again, I am looking forward to the ruling on this one. It will have far-reaching consequences on the future of the domain registration and the web hosting business.

    Wish you the best.

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