Internet Service Provider Copyright Infringement in Taiwan

  • Lung-Sheng ChenEmail author
Part of the Ius Comparatum – Global Studies in Comparative Law book series (GSCL, volume 25)


Internet-related legal issues arise in various contexts, such as white collar crime, consumer protection, free speech, pornography, privacy, and intellectual property. The question whether an Internet Service Provider (ISP) should be responsible for its users’ conduct in all these realms triggers fierce public debate. Legislators around the globe take different approaches to addressing these issues. While some countries adopt a horizontal approach and provide a uniform standard to regulate ISPs’ liability, others provide multiple standards for different contexts. In Taiwan, there is so far no statute that provides a general and uniform legal basis that regulates ISPs’ liability for their users’ conduct. Instead, in 2009, Taiwan’s legislature amended the Copyright Act by adding a new chapter. The 2009 legislation provides a set of provisions that regulates ISPs’ liability for their users’ conduct that infringes other persons’ copyrights. It shields ISPs from copyright liability if an ISP complies with the requirements set forth by this legislation. This 2009 legislation was similar to the safe harbour provision adopted by the United States in the DMCA. This chapter proceeds in five parts. Section “Secondary liability theories” is a brief introduction to the secondary liability theories rooted in U.S. law. Section “Legal standards for secondary liability in Taiwan” focuses on the legislative basis for secondary liability in Taiwan. Section “ISP copyright infringement liability and safe harbour in Taiwan” addresses ISP copyright infringement liability and safe harbor provisions under Taiwan’s Copyright Act. Section “ISP copyright infringement liability in practice” discusses two cases dealing with ISPs’ copyright infringement liability in Taiwan and examines the specific problem of the safe harbour’s scope.


Journal Articles

  1. Ballon, Ian C. 2009. Secondary Copyright Liability. American Law Institute – American Bar Association Continuing Legal Education SP016: 1257–1315.Google Scholar
  2. Becker, Gary S. 1968. Criminal and punishment: An economic approach. Journal of Political Economy 76: 169–224.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Elkin-Koren, Niva. 2006. Making technology visible: Liability of internet service providers for Peer-to-Peer traffic. New York University Journal of Legislation and Public Policy 9: 15–76.Google Scholar
  4. Freiwald, Susan. 2001. Comparative institutional analysis in cyberspace: The case of intermediary liability for defamation. Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 14: 569–655.Google Scholar
  5. Frischmann, Brett M., and Mark A. Lemley. 2007. Spillovers. Columbia Law Review 107: 257–301.Google Scholar
  6. Hamdani, Assaf. 2002. Who’s liable for cyber wrongs? Cornell Law Review 87: 901–957.Google Scholar
  7. Hylton, Keith N. 2007. Property rules, liability rules, and immunity: An application to cyberspace. Boston University Law Review 87: 1–39.Google Scholar
  8. Kim, Eugene C. 2007. Youtube: Testing the safe harbors of digital copyright law. Southern California Interdisciplinary Law Journal 17: 139–171.Google Scholar
  9. Lee, Jyh-An. 2014. Policy implications of the ISP safe harbor in copyright law. National Taiwan University Law Review 43 (1): 143–207.Google Scholar
  10. Lemley, Mark A. 2007. Rationalizing internet safe harbors. Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law 6: 101–119.Google Scholar
  11. Levin, Elizabath K. 2009. A Safe harbor for trademark: Reevaluating secondary trademark liability after Tiffany v eBay. Berkeley Technology Law Journal 24: 491–527.Google Scholar
  12. Lichtman, Douglas, and William Landes. 2003. Indirect liability for copyright infringement: An economic perspective. Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 16: 395–410.Google Scholar
  13. Tsai, Huei-ju. 2005. Media neutrality in the digital Era a study of the Peer-To-Peer file sharing issues. Chicago-Kent Journal of Intellectual Property 5: 46–89.Google Scholar
  14. Wan, Ke Steven. 2011. Internet service providers’ vicarious liability versus regulation of copyright infringement in China. Journal of Law, Technology and Policy 2011 (2): 375–412.Google Scholar
  15. Wang, Yi-Ping. 2009. Internet service provider civil liability immunity provisions in copyright act. The Taiwan Law Review 173: 25–41.Google Scholar
  16. Zhang, Zhong-Xin. 2008. The legislative trend of internet service provider copyright infringement liability and its limitation (Wang Lu Fu Wu Ti Gong Zhe Zhe Zuo Quan Qin Hai Ze Ren Xian Zhi Zhi Li Fa Si Kao Yu Fang Xiang). Taipei Bar Journal 347: 28–44.Google Scholar


  1. Goldstein, Paul. 2003. Copyright’s highway: From Gutenberg to the celestial jukebox. California: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Gorman, Robert A., and Jane C. Ginsburg. 2001. Copyright: Cases and materials. New York: Foundation Press.Google Scholar

Book Chapter

  1. Sun, Andy Y. 2007. Contributory and vicarious liability for copyright infringement. In Copyright law and the information society in Asia, ed. Cristopher Heath and Kung-Chung Liu, 227–268. Oxford: Hart Publishing.Google Scholar

Online Document

  1. Chang, Mag. 2012. Internet Use Hits All-Time High in Taiwan. Taiwan Today Accessed 14 Aug 2015.
  2. International Intellectual Property Alliance. 2013. 2013 Special 301 Report on Copyright Protection and Enforcement: Taiwan. Accessed 14 Aug 2015.
  3. Stone, Brad. 2007. EBay says fraud crackdown has worked. New York Times. Accessed 14 Aug 2015.

Organization Site

  1. Taiwan Intellectual Property Office. 2015. Copyright Law. Accessed 14 Aug 2015.

Online Database

  1. Laws & Regulations Database of the Republic of China. 2015. Civil Code. Accessed 14 Aug 2015.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LawNational Chung Hsing UniversityTaichung CityTaiwan

Personalised recommendations