A ruling recently handed down by the Court of the Hague has set a potentially game-changing precedent for future rulings against hosting companies and their customers. The court determined that hosting provider XS Networks is responsible for paying damages to copyright holders affected by torrents that former client SumoTorrent shared.
As outlined by TorrentFreak, Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN had been in pursuit of SumoTorrent for several years. The popular file-sharing destination was initially hosted in the Netherlands before being moved to Canada. Following that brief stint, SumoTorrent landed with hosting provider XS Networks.
BREIN asked XS Networks to hand over personal data about those behind SumoTorrent. The hosting company eventually handed over some details which turned out to be fake. In the meantime, SumoTorrent relocated to the Ukraine to escape the clutches of BREIN once again.
BREIN officials weren’t exactly thrilled by this outcome and decided to instead focus their efforts on XS Networks. They filed suit against the hosting company claiming they acted negligently by refusing to take the site offline. In a surprising turn of events, the court sided with BREIN.
Officials say SumoTorrent clearly facilitated copyright infringement and XS Networks should have taken the site offline when asked by BREIN to do so. XS Networks is now on the hook for thousands in legal fees not to mention how much they will owe in damages (yet to be determined). The court has further ordered the hosting provider to turn over all information they have on SumoTorrent or pay 10,000 euros per day until they do so.
In summary, it now appears that hosting companies are the ones responsible for policing clients' content. We will be keeping a close watch on this to see how it plays out and how it might affect similar outfits in the near future.