LOS ANGELES — A federal judge last week pared Steadfast from a lawsuit waged by adult publisher ALS Scan, finding that the hosting provider is not liable for copyright-infringing activities that took place on the server of a client.
ALS Scan in 2016 dragged Steadfast, as well as other third-party internet companies, into court after connecting the dots after finding its original adult material on sites offering pirated content.
Claims against ad network Juicy Ads and cloud computing company Hebergement OVH Inc. were dropped from the suit last year.
Content delivery network provider Cloudfare, however, continues as a defendant in the suit. While Cloudflare has managed to slice off several counts, the accusation of contributory copyright infringement still remains on the table.
ALS argued in its case against Steadfast that it refused to shut down the servers of image-sharing platform Imagebam.com, which was operated by its client Flixya.
Steadfast received dozens of DMCA notices regarding the infringement, according to ALS Scan, but Steadfast refused to act on them.
However, Steadfast denied the allegations, stating that the hosting provider did indeed lease servers to Flixya for 10 years and that it forwarded all notices to the client.
The hosting company said it could not address individual infringements and take action, other than shutting down the entire site, which would have been disproportionate in its view.
U.S. District Judge George Wu agreed with Steadfast and dismissed all copyright and trademark infringing claims, concluding that Steadfast did enough to put a crimp in copyright and trademark infringement.
“[T]he court is not convinced that Steadfast had any reason, legal or practical, to terminate Flixya’s account and power down its servers,” according to Wu’s ruling, which dismissed all claims — including contributory copyright infringement, vicarious copyright infringement and contributory trademark infringement — against Steadfast with prejudice.
Wu, in his ruling for summary judgment, found “that Steadfast did not ‘[fail] to take simple measures’ to prevent the specific acts of infringement of which it was aware. Steadfast took simple steps that resulted in all of the at-issue images being removed.”