A small VPN service, Koppla, has had its service terminated by its host, Santrex Hosting Solutions. Despite actively advertising their services to be oriented toward file-sharing including torrents and XDCC, even going so far as to put “Seedbox Hosting | An Effective Solution” in the title of their contact page, the UK based Santrex will independently act to terminate users who are thought to be distributing content that they don’t own the copyright to. This is regardless of whether the infringement is done by a third party, as is the case with a VPN service such as Koppla who received only this generic explanation for the abrupt discontinuation of their hosting service.
Your server has been suspended due to malicious traffic, this is either port scanning or torrent / warez downloading.
Under Santrex’s TOS it is clear that they will terminate service for anything they perceive to be infringing activity, specifically stating that their customers will be held liable for the activity of a third party using their service.
Third Party Accountability: santrex.net subscribers will be held responsible and accountable for any activity by third parties, using their account, that violates guidelines created within the Acceptable Use Policy.
Unfortunately, copyright law in the UK calls this “secondary infringement” which includes knowingly enabling or assisting in copyright infringement. However, the ECJ has just ruled that service providers are not obligated to monitor for such traffic and are safeguarded by the E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights.
This ruling may have finally established a safe harbor for ISPs in the EU as it would be pretty difficult to claim secondary infringement when there is no obligation for service providers to have knowledge of user activity. It is unreasonable to expect that this is possible or feasible anyway.
Perhaps this ruling came a bit too late for Koppla, but the implications look good for the future. Green Pirate caught up with on of the owners of Koppla who did not seem too deterred by the current interruption in service.
TBH, I’m not really all that concerned as it was never that great a connection…always dropping off. However I suppose you get what you pay for. [...] I got what I paid for
Perhaps under the new ECJ ruling, smaller services will no longer have to sacrifice their rights as a bargaining chip for affordable service.