Thursday, October 14, 2010

Question on downstream liability for copyright infringement for forum hosts?

If you run a discussion forum on your website, you have Section 230 protection regarding defamation. But if you use shared hosting and don’t have your own Internet connection (are not a service provider), and someone else posts an article in a forum posting that commits copyright infringement, are you exposed to downstream liability, since you had no way to register yourself as a copyright agent for DMCA safe harbor purposes? Does anyone know?  A few of the Righthaven defendants appear to be forum hosts, to me at least.

Conceivably, a blogger using this service (or Wordpress) could be liable for a comment that itself made an illegal copy of an article without recourse to DMCA safe harbor first.

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