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WW007. WEBSITE HOSTING AGREEMENT


Website hosting is simply the storage of a Website and Website material on a server, usually that of an Internet Service Provider (“ISP”) and the provision of connectivity. Since the server is under the control of the ISP, it is important for the ISP to ensure that the material contained on the Website (and the material to which it can be linked) is neither illegal, civilly (e.g. containing infringing material such as pirated software or defamatory information), or criminally (e.g. containing instructions on drug manufacturing or money laundering) nor harmful (e.g. containing material which is likely to offend any racial or religious group), otherwise the ISP may incur liability, if it knows or is made aware of the nature of the Website content.

Since there are no global laws at present, which harmonise the standards which should apply to Website content, ISPs have themselves established Codes of Conduct or Codes of Practice to lay down the basic rules and standards to apply to Website content which they host. Such Codes often now also contain generally accepted standards of Internet usage ("netiquette"). Non-compliance with the ISP’s terms and conditions of the Hosting Agreement or with such Codes or such acceptable use standards, will entitle ISPs to bar access and remove Websites immediately which violate ISP's hosting agreement, or the Codes or such Internet standards.

There are several jurisdictions which have now proposed legislation relating to the liability of ISPs for content which they host and for material which they merely carry. This proposed legislation is consistent with many of the provisions which the Codes have already established.
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