stop using for hosting – they don’t understand copyright

December 30, 2007

My personal domain was disabled sunday with no other notice due to a terms of service violation. When I contacted them I was told copyrighted materials were found on my site. I asked where, thinking the site had been cracked b/c I don’t host anything on there at all. It’s just mail redirectors and a couple of imap accounts. I had performed a backup of my music directory. This is encoding to ogg that I had made of my music collections. It was available in a directory only to me and not available via the web at all. In order to access this directory a person would need to compromise my ssh key for the account and login. They were inspecting data on their servers, found the oggs, determined they were a copyright violation and suspended my account.

When I said I don’t understand what the copyright violation was, I made a backup of my files, I wasn’t distributing anything. They said that violating their terms of service was a copyright violation. Now, I’ve read their terms of service and that makes no sense whatsoever. I spoke with someone named ‘craig’. I have multiple backups of these files so I removed this backup and moved along.

However, it is not possible, according to bluehost for me to store legally purchased copies of any content on their site as a backup. Not even if the data is inaccessible to anyone other than the licensee.

I’ll be terminating my contract with them soon. I encourage everyone else to do the same.


11 Responses to “stop using for hosting – they don’t understand copyright”

  1. Mace Moneta Says:

    According to the RIAA, backing up your music collection, or converting to another format is a copyright violation. See:

    Who needs a legislature to create laws, when we have the RIAA to do it for us? It just cuts out the middle man – they would have paid our impotent congressvermin for the law anyway.

  2. Daniel Says:

    i’ve had the best luck with

  3. Actually, the RIAA does have a leg to stand on here. When you ‘purchase’ the music you purchase it under a limited usage license. You do not own the bits in it any more than you own the bits in a book you buy. Under the law, the music creator(s)[writer, producers,etc] own the bits and you have bought a limited lease to use those bits for playing in a designated player. This lease is in a EULA format which while not sensible is ‘legal’ in many countries.

    The reason that the hosting company has to be careful is that they can and will be sued as liable in aiding a criminal act by the RIAA, MPAA, Software Business Alliance, etc.

    Yes it is Buggy Whip versus Car type thing.. but until enough people start getting on the cases of their legal representatives in their countries to get them out of the pocket of the monied interests… the ISP has to deal with silly rules.

  4. skvidal Says:

    Stephen, They don’t, actually. I have every right to make backup copies of legally purchased content. This is a protected act. That’s what I was doing.

  5. Fred Says:

    The issue here is what were they doing looking at your private content.

  6. Cody B Says:

    Actually they have tools that notify them of content like this and then they can go look and verify if its copyright material or not. They have no way of proving whether you actually own it or not if the FBI questions them. They are covering themselves. This is standard practice for most shared hosting. If you believe you have the right thats fine, I think the law now states we don’t have to many rights left when it comes to digital media :(. but you shouldn’t store it remotely on another company’s property. Store it on a dvd/cd for yourself.

  7. Bret McMillan Says:

    So nice to see hosting providers invading your privacy. I was about to go down this path for backing up my digital photos, etc. Right now I’m using S3, and they’ll probably complain that I’m violating Mattel’s copyright b/c of pictures of Graeme opening his 1st Xmas gift.

    /me starts searching for a best-practice around encrypted off-site backups…

  8. Anthon Pang Says:

    While you may have an expectation of privacy for your personal website, it may be difficult to argue in a court of law because shared hosting is a managed service.

    File scanning makes good business sense if the goal is to mitigate risk (e.g., detecting security vulnerabilities, copyright violations, malicious content, etc).

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