Internet Service Provider Copyright Infringement in Taiwan
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.
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