A hosting provider is under no obligation to investigate what their customers put online. However, he must act expediently in case he has been notified of any illegal or unlawful content. The handling of such complaints is called notice and takedown: investigate information on the basis of a complaint (notice) and remove if necessary (take down). For many hosting providers it is not entirely clear how such a procedure should look like and in many cases there is no NTD-procedure at all. Is your procedure up to scratch?
In addition to all obligations the law sets out, you should also take into consideration the procedure that applies to NTD-requests. First of all, it is wise to implement clauses in your general terms and conditions enabling you to take down content. Additionally, there are many other points you should be aware of. I have taken upon myself the task to come up with a checklist covering the most important aspects.
- Do you currently have a NTD-procedure published on your website?
- Does this procedure set out what types of information are prohibited?
- Do you have an online complaint form or any other medium that may be used to lodge complaints?
- Do you explicitly ask complainants for an indemnification against claims of your customers?
- Are complaints handled with priority?
- How do you block or remove content, and is this reversible if it later turns out that a mistake has been made?
- Is it clear to customers how their complaints are handled and what is expected from them?
- Do your terms and conditions allow you to take down content in the event this content is manifestly unlawful.
- Do your terms and conditions allow you to release the name and address details of your customers if a request thereto seems plausible.
- Does your support staff know how to handle incoming complaints?
Questions regarding Notice and Takedown? Contact us! firstname.lastname@example.org