Leaseweb Asks Court To Dismiss Copyright Infringement Lawsuit *TorrentFreak
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A few weeks ago, host Leaseweb was sued for copyright infringement in California. Photographer Barry Rosen has filed a lawsuit, claiming the company has failed to take action against “infringing” display sites, despite receiving repeated notices from the DMCA. Leaseweb disagrees and is now asking the court to dismiss the case.
With data centers in Europe, Asia and the United States, Leaseweb is a big player in the hosting space.
The Dutch company has thousands of customers of all shapes and sizes. This includes some that are labeled as pirate sites or are otherwise accused of copyright infringement.
This did not go unnoticed. Ten years ago it was revealed that Megaupload was hosting hundreds of servers at Leaseweb, and at one point Hollywood even considered taking the company to court. This plan was never realized but the complaints did not go away either.
Lawsuit for hosting infringing sites
A few weeks ago, photographer Barry Rosen filed a lawsuit against the unknown operators of idposter.com, nposter.com and celebposter.com. These sites allegedly sell infringing copies of his copyrighted works in the form of posters and other merchandise.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, also added Leaseweb to the mix as the only named defendant. According to the photographer, the hosting company failed to take the sites offline despite receiving numerous DMCA notices.
It’s not uncommon for hosting companies to simply forward DMCA notices to customers, instead of taking customer sites offline. However, Rosen believes Leaseweb should have acted and is seeking damages that could exceed $5.5 million.
A few days ago, the hosting company responded to the complaint. Leaseweb describes the photographer as a prolific litigant who has already filed more than 50 copyright infringement lawsuits. The cloud hosting provider notes that this is the latest target of this “litigation strategy.”
The fact that a rights holder has filed numerous lawsuits says little about the strength of the claim. However, Leaseweb goes on to say that it is simply a passive host that does not control the content that its subscribers make available.
“Leaseweb entities have no control over content uploaded by their customers and can only assist in facilitating the removal of infringing content after reasonable notice from the copyright holder,” Leaseweb writes.
“The Leaseweb entities were just passive hosts,” they add.
The hosting provider doesn’t go into detail about how they respond to DMCA notices, but hosting companies generally don’t delete files hosted by their customers. Instead, they forward the reviews so that the customer can fix the problem on their own.
Leaseweb challenges jurisdiction
Leaseweb’s filing is not intended to challenge the merits of the arguments. Instead, he’s asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction because neither the infringing sites nor the hosting company have any substantial ties to California.
“Leaseweb NL is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and it hosts its customers’/end-users’ content on servers physically located in the Netherlands. It has no offices, property, assets, officers or employees in the United States. He does not own or control any bank accounts in California or the United States and does not pay taxes here.
“Less than a fraction of one percent of Leaseweb NL’s customers are based in California, and neither the Leaseweb NL customer nor the end user involved in this case are based in California as far as Leaseweb NL is aware. “, adds the company.
The hosting provider has a presence in the United States in the form of Leaseweb USA Inc, which is based in Delaware. This company also has two data centers in California, but none of the allegedly infringing sites were hosted there, the company says.
To establish jurisdiction, the photographer must prove that Leaseweb deliberately conducted any activity in California. Also, it should be clear that the counterfeiting activities have a connection to California. That’s not the case here either, according to Leaseweb.
Interestingly, Leaseweb is ready to litigate this case in the Netherlands, but it is doubtful that the photographer is up for it. Before that becomes an issue, however, the court would have to rule on the motion to dismiss.
A copy of Leaseweb’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit for lack of personal jurisdiction is available here (pdf)