Feeds

Louis Vuitton stings ISPs for their customers' infringements

Handbags at dawn

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Two web hosting companies have been ordered to pay $32 million in damages after failing to convince a US jury that they were immune from responsibility for their users' actions.

Luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton brought a case against two Californian internet service providers (ISPs) run by Steven Chen, alleging that they were profiting from the sale of fake Louis Vuitton goods by businesses using the companies for web hosting.

Akanoc Solutions, Managed Solutions and Steven Chen were ordered to pay a total of $31.5m for trade mark infringement and $900,000 for copyright infringement after a jury found that they could have acted to stop the illegal activity but did not.

The jury found that the companies "should have known" that their services were being used by customers to sell goods which infringed Louis Vuitton's trade marks. "[The companies] had reasonable means to withdraw [their] services so that their services could not be used to directly infringe but [they] continued to provide [their] services to customers," said a statement agreed on by the jury.

The companies and Chen were accused of copyright infringement as well as trade mark infringement. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) contains specific provisions to protect service providers from having to check every one of the potentially millions of uses of their services which might infringe somebody's copyright.

The 'safe harbor' provisions mean that ISPs and other web hosts are not liable for users' copyright-infringing behaviour as long as they are ignorant of it. They are responsible once they have been told about infringement, though.

"Did [the companies] prove by a preponderance of evidence that they are service providers who acted in a manner that entitles [them] to the 'safe harbor' provisions of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act?" asked the document submitted by the jury. The jury said that neither of the two companies nor Chen had proved entitlement to the protections offered by the 'safe harbor' clause.

Louis Vuitton told news service Associated Press that it would ask the court, the US District Court for Northern California, to issue a permanent injunction banning the ISPs and Chen from hosting any web site that sells counterfeit goods.

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Munich considers dumping Linux for ... GULP ... Windows!
Give a penguinista a hug, the Outlook's not good for open source's poster child
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Yes, but what are your plans if a DRAGON attacks?
Local UK gov outs most ridiculous FoI requests...
Detroit losing MILLIONS because it buys CHEAP BATTERIES – report
Man at hardware store was right: name brands DO last longer
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
UK government accused of hiding TRUTH about Universal Credit fiasco
'Reset rating keeps secrets on one-dole-to-rule-them-all plan', say MPs
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
EU justice chief blasts Google on 'right to be forgotten'
Don't pretend it's a freedom of speech issue – interim commish
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.