If *you* host the offending account (as a reseller, etc.) and it violates the Terms of Service then you should take it down.
If you don't host the account then inform the plaintiff's attorney that he would need to send the takedown notice to the hosting company. The hosting company may or may not take it down depending on their TOS. They might only take it down upon a court order..
Taking down the site arbitrarily and without just cause violates the first amendment rights of the site owner..
Just because someone doesn't like what you say about them on the web doesn't give them the right to make you stop. Evidence microsoftsucks.org. Many attorneys will huff and puff and send out a takedown notice just hoping it will scare somebody into doing something they legally don't have to do..
If the plaintiff sues, there will be a high cost of defending yourself. Best to seek legal advice to keep yourself in the clear...
Any information about the typical process for obtaining a court order?..
"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one".
-A. J. Liebling.
You aren't required to host anything you don't wish to host ( barring contractual obligation ).
If this is a smaller hosting company, you may not want to deal with the legal hassles. You could always ask the client to move the site to another service...
Since this would be a civil action and not criminal, the plaintiff would file a suit claiming libel, defamation of character, etc. The plaintiff could also ask the judge for an injunction so you would have to take the site down until civil judgement could be rendered..
I fully agree with ambirex though that it's not worth the hassle. If possible you should always have a TOS that let's you back out of the hosting agreement gracefully so the customer has no recourse against you..
True back in Liebling's 1939. Now you only have to own a computer and a connection to the internet...
I had a discussion with a couple of business owners some time back and we come to a understanding..
When there is a defamatory site out there, it is firstly a PR effort then a legal effort. Taking the legal way may take time and money, while taking a good and tactful PR effort can twart and render any defamatory action by the offending party ineffective..
Hope this can help...
I just had this experience in November with a customer of mine hosting some extremely defamatory, way-out-there stuff about a guy (apparently an ex-boss.) My lawyer suggested that I take the site down, since my ToS clearly bars defamatory stuff, and retained a copy just in case I need it in the future. The attorney for the guy being defamed also wanted all kinds of other shit about the customer, right down to his credit card number and billing address to which my attorney essentially said "fuck you." They never followed back up on the other stuff and seem satisfied with just the site coming down.