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  Post #1 (permalink)   08-17-2008, 10:59 AM
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At this time I will refrain from naming the hosting company in question. I will give them ONE chance to show they can practice good customer service, as well as issue a full apology, before I do so.

I have a small website where I post my personal concert photos of a certain band with a small but rabid fanbase. I also have a VB forum for fans of the band. On a subdomain, I also happen to post photo and graphic design work here that I show potential clients. Now this particular band allows fans to record and show audio of their concerts, and fully allows fan to freely share these recordings.

I had recently posted a couple of mp3 clips from a concert on my web directory. I didn't have the link posted, the directory wasn't browsable, this wasn't even public. I let a grand total of 5 people get this file. Well late Friday afternoon I get online and find several emails asking what happened to my site. One of those was from a potential client and one from my place of business. It had been taken down, my passwords no longer worked, and the domain only resolved to a page about cpanel billing or something. I checked my voicemail since surely there was a message from my host regarding whatever was going on. (They have no problem calling me when they're trying to get me to purchase additional services or upgrade to a plan I don't need, so I know they have my number.) I then checked my email since obviously there MUST be at least one message from them regarding this. Nope, nothing, nada. I got on their website looking for a phone number but all contact links just led to a form submission, without even so much as a real email address. I frantically sent in the form letter. Received a generic form reply a few hours later telling me how to reset my passwords. On Saturday afternoon I FINALLY received an unnecessarily terse email from the hosting company stating that my entire site had been taken down for a copyright violation due to my sharing this mp3. Anyway the letter went on to state that my site would be restored as soon as I deleted the clip in question, and not to contact the company until I had done so. Only, they locked out my access to the site. I have sent several frantic emails over the weekend but so far, no answer.

At this point I am livid. The band knows who I am and knows of the situation. They themselves do not even understand why the file would have been taken down. I am guessing that some scriptmonkey admin was scanning directories for files ending in ".mp3", found mine, and went on a power trip. That's really all I can come up with.

Either way, mistakes do happen, but what really matters is the way a mistake is handled. The correct way for the company to handle this? I should have been contacted about this file BEFORE any action was taken to my site. If they were that concerned, that could have deleted that ONE file or locked that directory while attempting to contact me. Taking down the entire site (without notifying the customer) because of the file is equivalent to bulldozing a house because there is a snake inside and you think it MAY be poisonous. At the very least they could have notified at the time they did this, not the next day. Or given me a solution that made sense.

So now here I sit and wait. Luckily my domain is not registered with them so they cannot hold that hostage. Luckily I have a recent backup downloaded so I will be able to move to another host. That is, unless my host actually makes this right, issues an apology, credits me for downtime, and supplies me with an explanation of HOW this happened. So yeah. Can anyone recommend a host with integrity and good customer service?
 
 
 


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  Post #2 (permalink)   08-17-2008, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joey b View Post
On Saturday afternoon I FINALLY received an unnecessarily terse email from the hosting company stating that my entire site had been taken down for a copyright violation due to my sharing this mp3.

[...]

Either way, mistakes do happen, but what really matters is the way a mistake is handled. [...] I should have been contacted about this file BEFORE any action was taken to my site.
Hi Joey,

First, sorry about your situation. However, you have to take into consideration few things:

1. Always check Terms of Service. Most web hosting companies openly describe which files and material are not allowed on their servers.

2. Always check Terms of Service. Yes, again. Most web hosting companies are not obligated to warn you or send notification that your web site has been taken down.

3. Logically, an MP3 file constitutes intellectual property of some kind. Your mistake was not to submit a formal permission on behalf of this band that permits you to share the files during the sign-up process. Especially that the band knows you personally, it would have been very easy to do.

I think that to correct the situation, if you are able to have the band write/or sign the letter to the hosting company that allows you to host these files - that might help speed up the process.

If you could share the name of the company in question, we would be able to look at their Terms of Service to see whether the company is acting within its legal capacity.

My advice to you: Try to speak with the company you are going to sign-up next and provide necessary documentation to protect your site being pulled. And perhaps this time pick a company that has live phone numbers available in case you need assistance (since you mentioned you had hard time contacting the company during this time).
 
 
 


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  Post #3 (permalink)   08-17-2008, 10:22 PM
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Woah isn't that something, my name is Joey B too!

Copyright violation or not, the host was in my opinion wrong in causing downtime in this case. They shouldn't be so cut and dry about cutting clients from their accounts, this just causes unnecessary grief for both the host and client.

I could see if there was a huge directory of MP3 files, and if there was constant traffic to them, that this would raise concern for the host. That being said, MP3's are simply an audio format, and not grounds for such abrupt action without strong reasonable doubt.

Sometimes I think certain host operators should learn to submit support tickets themselves! Simple communication between host and client can solidify a customers thoughts and perhaps give the host a loyal client for years to come.

Best of luck, hope they help you out!
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Last edited by diligent : 08-17-2008 at 10:27 PM.
 
 
 


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  Post #4 (permalink)   08-18-2008, 01:30 AM
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I'm sorry for your bad experience.There're too many free web hosting providers,you can try and choose as you like.Maybe it'll be better not upload audio files on the host unless u've the copyright.

Don't be angry for all day,life is still beautiful.
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  Post #5 (permalink)   08-18-2008, 03:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joey b View Post
At this time I will refrain from naming the hosting company in question. I will give them ONE chance to show they can practice good customer service, as well as issue a full apology, before I do so.

Can anyone recommend a host with integrity and good customer service?
You've faced really terrible problems with the hosting company, but I can advise you to check out **********.com. The thing is that with this company you will never cause any problem. I can give my word of honour that it is reliable, stable and honest hosting company. You will receive evidence, if you look at the website.
 
 
 


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  Post #6 (permalink)   08-18-2008, 09:46 AM
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Artashes has some good advice: when you're going to upload MP3 files or video clips, let your host know that you have the rights to distribute this content BEFORE you upload it. That will show your host that you're not trying to pull anything illegal, and if someone does complain, your host has evidence from you that you have the rights to redistribute.

You might also look for a host that lists itself as a DMCA Safe Harbor. Some web hosts and ISPs, upon receiving a copyright complaint, may delete the offending files or even suspend the account immediately. They want to avoid being sued by the copyright holders, so they err on the side of caution: shutting down one account keeps their business and their servers operating with no impediments to their other clients (read: sources of income). By contrast, a host who's a DMCA Safe Harbor follows the Safe Harbor provisions of the DMCA strictly: complaints must name the specific files violating copyright, the complaint must come from the copyright holder or someone acting on the copyright holder's behalf, and the complaints have to contain a mimimum of specific information - for example, the specific files which violate copyright have to be named. Someone can't make a copyright violation complaint that just says, "I saw material that violates my copyright on this forum." They have to provide the thread and post number, or (if necessary) the specific image file. The host's legal representative then passes this along to the account holder, who has a set time to investigate the complaint and either remove the files in question, or refute the original complaint to the person who filed the complaint. Depending on what happens next, the offending account may be shut down - or it may be left up. It all depends on what happens in each specific case. All of this puts the host in the position of messenger, the host will not be liable to a lawsuit for copyright violation, so the host does not need to act precipitously to protect the rest of their business.

Doing business with a host who's a DMCA Safe Harbor won't guarantee that your files won't be deleted, like they were in this case. It just gives you a few more protections if you are *not* violating copyright. (Hosts may also question you about specific files or scripts if they see an activity spike - so while hosts won't police clients' content, many of us do investigate if there's an unusual amount of activity surrounding a given file or account. We want to make sure someone's not using excessive CPU resources, or hosting scripts prohibited by our TOS, or is the unwitting subject of a hack attempt.)

That was a bit wordy - apologies. Hope that helps, though.
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  Post #7 (permalink)   08-18-2008, 11:35 AM
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It does suck when this happens but the host is trying to cover themselves. If a client of mine had done something like that I am sure we would have done the same, rather than be hit with some fine on copyright's from said artist.
 
 
 


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  Post #8 (permalink)   08-18-2008, 05:35 PM
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I can understand them deleting or making the files inacessable but then telling you that your account will be put to right after you remove the offending files is just silly as you've been locked out of your account and can't do anything. I would anticipate the entire site going down though as thats how most hosts seem to handle a copyright complaint when I have filed them against other people for stealing my graphics. Putting up your permission, submitting it to your host, etc seems to be your only chance to host your mp3s without always worrying about your site being pulled.
 
 
 


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  Post #9 (permalink)   08-20-2008, 02:19 AM
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seems like a pretty ugly situation. Let us know how it works out. Best of luck my friend.
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  Post #10 (permalink)   08-20-2008, 04:34 AM
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  Post #11 (permalink)   08-20-2008, 09:01 AM
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I would definitely agree with checking the terms of service before signing on with any host. If it says your site will be closed for certain actions, chances are it will. While I don't agree at all with this policy, if it's in their TOS then they probably won't bend the rules for anyone. A written statement from the band might help, but then again, if that does not matter to the host then it may not change things at all. I believe I would just move on to a different host and be sure to have a clear idea of what their rules and regulations are first and foremost. Then submit all necessary documents upfront and have an agreement between you and the host so that you can be sure to run your site the way you choose. I hope this all gets better for you very soon.
 
 
 


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  Post #12 (permalink)   08-21-2008, 05:31 AM
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I would like to know which company is it, to beware of..
 
 
 


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  Post #13 (permalink)   09-12-2008, 07:00 PM
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People cancel and then ask questions, you should email and state your case.
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  Post #14 (permalink)   09-15-2008, 12:45 AM
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  Post #15 (permalink)   09-17-2008, 02:42 AM
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Any situation can be solved. But not every company is ready admit guilt if they ghad fault...
 
 
 
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