A judge in California ordered two ISPs to pay $32 million in damages to Paris-based Louis-Vuitton Malletier. The ISPs -- Akanoc Solutions and Managed Solutions, both owned by Steven Chen -- allowed knockoff Louis-Vuitton goods to be sold by Web sites that they hosted. In the past, ISPs have been protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which limits the ISP's liability for criminal activity on its sites. However, in the Louis-Vuitton case, the ISP knew about the illegal activity and did not take action to stop it.
ISPs have taken it on the chin over the past year. A Latvian ISP was taken offline in August after it was discovered that the ISP was running a botnet. In June, Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y., announced plans to introduce a bill that would require ISPs to get regulatory approval for their pricing plans. And just last year, the Federal Communications Commission said it would investigate the practices and promises of upload and download speeds to consumers.
Utilities do business with businesses that break the law all the time. Should they continue to do business with them if they know that they are breaking the law? Let's use the ISP as an example. Would you continue to use an ISP if you knew it allowed illegal activity on its network?