If I were to set up an online storage company and sell GB/TB who would be responsible for my customers uploading pirated/illegal data on my storage servers? Would declaring in the terms and conditions that is definitely against the rules enough?

Assuming the data is completely private and only available to the custom who uploaded it.

How do companies like Dropbox handle it?


1 Answer 1


If you have no knowledge and can't possibly have knowledge because the data is totally private, you should fall into the safe harbor protection of 17 U.S. Code § 512 - Limitations on liability relating to material online.

See this answer here which covers a lot of the information you are looking for: Legality of Proxy sites and DMCA

  • What if the service I sell doesn't promote illegal content but is a huge possibility? I am aware of that and I can see the file names are clearly pirated torrents? Dec 5, 2015 at 21:31
  • You lose the protection of the safe harbor if you are “aware of facts or circumstances from which infringing activity is apparent.” You must have knowledge that the files exist and the infringing activity would have to be apparent to a reasonable person. You say that file names are clearly pirated torrents - a defense lawyer might argue that you cannot know whether the customer owns a license. However, I wonder what sort of service this is that you are looking at the file names.
    – jqning
    Dec 9, 2015 at 18:16
  • Thank you for your answer, there is no service yet. I was just trying to figure out where I would stand in terms of legality. Thanks again Dec 10, 2015 at 6:42

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