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Our private team of gamers has a small gaming community. In order to increase our reach of people and to let our community grow, we do provide some users with free Minecraft servers, as well as hosting space for files on our servers.

As trusting people in the internet is a difficult topic, we want to be sure that if we do provide them with our services (Minecraft server, file hosting for server files and ressources, community forums), we are not responsible for the contents that the service user hosts on our servers.

It's not that we don't constantly check what's going on on our servers but we want to be on the lawful side and make sure we cannot be sued for helping others host their Minecraft servers and files on our servers.

Is it valid to let every upcoming server administrator that we donate some "hardware" sign a document that states that he is solely responsible for his server as well as he has to comply German laws and the Minecraft EULA?

This document will also include that it is prohibited to host illegal files (files one has no rights for, adult material, hate-motivated etc.).

We will still continue constantly monitoring what is going on and log every action on our sites.

Our servers are located in Germany so if I am not wrong, German right apply.

Is there any basis we can build such a document on, is such a document even allowed, what is such a document called (disclaimer?)?

  • In this respect you are providing them the service, and as such are responsible for any content held on the server. You are correct that German laws apply. You may wish to create a small ToS (Terms of Service) defining the service you are providing, and the limitations of said service. Do be aware that organisations such as Teamspeak Systems (who own the Teamspeak communication software) dislike those who misuse their licenses for community hosting (what you're doing). If you're going to be offering Teamspeak servers, you need to have a commercial license. – AStopher Dec 14 '15 at 23:08
  • Thank you cybermonkey. As we do not have a commercial license for our Teamspeak, we will not provide this as a service. If defining such a small ToS what advantages does this have? Is there a good example somewhere? – Flatron Dec 14 '15 at 23:59
  • This article seems somewhat relevant. Notably, there does not appear to be a German equivalent to the DMCA's safe harbor protections for ISP's. That seems to imply that you could face liability for things your users do (regardless of any ToS you make them sign), but only in cases where direct action against the users themselves is either unsuccessful or impossible. – aroth Dec 16 '15 at 4:57
  • I couldn't give you a full answer but I can suggest that a EULA by itself won't absolve you and if you are monitoring/aware of use then you will need to take a more active role in dealing with misconduct. There are often safe harbours for copyright infringement, defamation etc by 'subsidiary distributors' such as internet service providers but it is usually based on a 'hands-off' 'couldn't have known' basis. – Patrick Conheady Jun 5 '16 at 6:03
  • Did you ever complete this? What was your solution? – Angelo Fuchs Mar 14 '17 at 20:44
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In Germany the person who broke the law is the person to be liable to any juristic action. You as the service provider are liable if you cannot produce the identification of the original offender (read on the topic of §1004 BGB Störerhaftung, more explanation on what that means is on the Wikipedia page of the same name).

That means: If you allow people to host stuff on your servers you should be sure to have their Names and Addresses and comply with any law enforcement requests that might come to you to ask for this.

You must notify your users up front of this in a ToS style announcement that comes with the contract, because of German personal data protection law (read on Informationelle Selbstbestimmung for more details). If you can spare the 500€ you might want to have that ToS written by a proper layer that specializes in IT-Law to be on the save side.

Also, you have (most likely) bought storage in some datacenter. They have a contract with you that is very similar to what you have with your users. Look at what they do with you, hand that down to your userbase.

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