I run a small ecommerce, hosted site here on TCH. For a number of years we have been re-selling a product that can best be described as being in the realms of cottage industry.
Recently our supplier seems to have become psychotic. On her own site she has pasted the following:
"WE DO NOT SUPPLY edit- MY SITE WHO HAVE BEEN MAKING POOR COPIES OF OUR PRODUCTS TO SELL TO YOU THE PET BUYING PUBLIC. THEY COULD BE PLACING THE HEALTH OF YOUR PET IN DANGER AS THEY ARE UNQUALIFIED TO PRODUCE ANY PET PRODUCT.IF IT DOES NOT HAVE MY NAME ON IT ITS A COPY, PLEAS ENSURE THAT YOU CONTACT YOUR LOCAL TRADING STANDARDS.DEMAND YOUR MONEY BACK"
I was pretty shocked when I discovered the statement had been added to her homepage. It goes without saying that the statement is false- we can show the parity between incoming and outgoing orders.
My first response was to contact the hosting company- IXWEBHOSTING part of ECOMMERCE.COM- I asked them to suspend the pages that libeled us. I had assumed that it would be covered by their offensive behaviour clause in the ToS.
Unfortunately their stance has been one of "By law and by policy, we will remove content indicated in a formal DMCA complaint, Trademark complaint, or indicated in a warrant, subpoena, other court decree, or as indicted by applicable law enforcement agencies. If you wish to provide such documentation, please attach this to a ticket or forward this to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will review it accordingly."
Personally this strikes me as being BS, hand washing, buck passing and a cop out. Are they really suggesting that they will allow anything to be hosted on their site until the point at which the authorities demand that they remove it.
Surely a webhost has some degree of liability with regard to the content that is hosted on their servers, especially once someone has highlighted potential issues. Sometime back I hosted a not for profit site for a friend of mine that was strongly criticising a large institution, a Cease and Desist letter was sent and TCH replied that the content an expression of opinion and therefore covered by the First. I don't imagine that the remarks about me are covered by the first.
I would like to know if web hosts are legally liable for the content that they enable to be relayed to the public and how I go about resolving things. I do not want to have any contact with the witch that used to supply us. I am not sure that I would be able to act in a professional manner, she also has a history of selectively posting parts of emails on her forum.
I also really need help with regard to dealing with this stuff. I am uk based and at the moment have no idea how to proceed given that the witch is UK based but the site is hosted in the USA.
It is also worth mentioning that her product equated to the primary bread winner in our family household. Now that the plug has been pulled by her without any warning the ability to pay lawyers has been severely impacted.
i really would appreciate any advice regarding this.
I'd like to get things resolved before the way back machine and google cache it. TBH i have no idea of the time frames involved.