A brief legal note for fans of Icelandic law.
Recent posts elsewhere suggest readers may be interest in the urban myth that web hosting companies in Iceland hold immunity from United Kingdom (or other) libel laws. When I had finished laughing, I thought I would write this brief post.
Iceland is not in the European Union, but Iceland, the UK and other European countries have signed a reciprocal treaty agreeing to enforce civil judgements with each other called the Lugano Convention (Practical Law link, Wikipedia link). Litigants can just rock up to the Iceland courts and ask for registration.
There is also a myth that Iceland web hosts have immunity. In fact it works pretty much exactly like the United Kingdom. Here is a link to an English translation of the immunity law Merchants and Trade – Act No. 30/2002 on Electronic Commerce and other Electronic Services.
Under Article 14 (1) of the Iceland law there are three circumstances under which a web host can lose immunity –
“A service provider who hosts information provided by the recipient of the service is not liable for the information provided that he promptly removes it or disables access to it on receiving:
1. knowledge that a county magistrate has placed an injunction on the hosting of the information or a court has ruled on its removal or disablement of access to it,
2. notification pursuant to Article 15 in the event of a purported violation of copyright legislation or
3. knowledge of information containing child pornography.”
So to make an Icelandic web host liable for the content on their website a litigant need only drop a polite letter letting them know of the existence of a court order, alleging copyright infringement and / or the presence child pornography.
Likewise anyone who wants to have copyrighted material removed need only write to the host. For copyright requests there are a set of requirements much like the DMCA –
“Notification under Item 2 in Paragraph 1 of Article14 shall include:
1. the name of the sender, address and further information which makes it possible for the service provider to contact the sender,
2. the name of the rightholder, address and further information which makes it possible for the service provider to contact the rightholder,
3. identification and location of the information for which removal or disablement of access is requested,
4. identification of the intellectual property or performance rights forming the basis for the request,
5. a statement to the effect that the information in the notification is correct,
6. a statement to the effect that the sender is a rightholder or derives his authority from the rightholder,
7. signature of the sender.
In the event of substantial flaws in the notification pursuant to Paragraph 1, the service provider is not under obligation to comply. If the flaws in the notification are minor, the service provider shall promptly invite the sender to make amends. If the sender does not respond to the invitation, the notification shall have no effect on the liability of the service provider.”
That only appears to apply to notices about Copyright, not other legal issues.