RLSLOG, one of the world’s most popular release news sites, has been pulled offline by its German hosting company following a takedown request from Universal Music. The site, which has never hosted any copyrighted material on its servers, is currently looking for a new home outside Germany.
With millions of visitors every month, RLSLOG has grown out to be the authority when it comes to news about scene releases. A hard-working team of editors constantly ensures that fresh releases are covered daily, week in week out.
Yesterday, however, its readers were shook up by an absence of news. Instead of seeing the regular homepage, visitors were welcomed by the following unpleasant message:
“RLSLOG.net was suspended by its German hosting company after removal request from law firm representing Universal Music, although we never hosted any files or copyrighted data on our server. Our site is strictly informative,” the message reads.
TorrentFreak briefly caught up with RLSLOG founder Martin who told us that he’s currently trying to find a new home for his site, hopefully with a hosting company that will not shut down the site so easily. The suspension came without prior notice, hence the downtime.
This is not the first time that RLSLOG is been put out of action by takedown notices. Last year, Web Sheriff sent complaints to RLSLOG’s former host and the host’s bandwidth provider, who then took the site offline. Also, Google has filtered several of RLSLOG’s pages from its search results after complaints from copyright holders.
These issues raise the question whether sites such as RLSLOG are acting within the law or not. Technically the site is not hosting any copyrighted material, but it generally does point readers to various locations where copyrighted material can be found. Legally, this is a gray area in most countries.
As we’ve learned from the cases against torrent sites like The Pirate Bay and Mininova, not hosting copyrighted material on ones site is no prerequisite for the courts to find operators not guilty of assisting in copyright infringement. RLSLOG might actually have an even worse case since the ‘links’ are selected and published by the site’s editors.
Refraining from posting links to searches or files hosted externally might be the only option to avoid legal issues at a future host. However, for RLSLOG founder Martin, his primary concern is finding a new hosting provider so he can get the site back online again.