Saturday, 5 October 2013

Another One Bites The Dust

Hotfile Lost to MPAA in Piracy Battle

The Motion Picture Association of America has scored a significant victory against the file-hosting service Hotfile. The District Court of Florida ruled that Hotfile failed to control the distribution of pirated films via its service. The anti-piracy outfit was happy to hear the verdict and claimed that Hotfile’s business model was built on mass distribution of stolen works.
Once in the top 10 file-sharing websites, Hotfile has recently become a prime target for Hollywood. More than two years ago the MPAA filed a lawsuit against the website, and since then the court battle was watched by industry observers. Moreover, Hotfile even sued MPAA member Warner Bros. right back for allegedly abusing its copyright takedown tools.

The movie industry hoped to avoid a trial and asked for a summary judgment on the alleged copyright violations committed by the file-sharing service. In response, Hotfile insisted that it is just a service provider and wants a jury to decide the outcome of the case. In result, Florida District Court Judge has decided in favor of the industry. Although the verdict has yet to be released in public, the outfit has already claimed its victory, revealing that the court noted that the file-sharing service was successful in large part because it failed to control infringement activity on its system. The judge most likely found Hotfile responsible for secondary copyright violation, or a related charge.

The movie studios insist that Hotfile’s entire business revolved around piracy. The MPAA boss described the court ruling as “a victory for all of people who work hard to create the movies and TV shows. However, Hotfile has always contested the characterization of being a “pirate haven”. In addition, the service previously pointed out to the judge that it had been following the DMCA. In the meantime, Hotfile demonstrated that the most downloaded files were not pirated films but Open Source software. Finally, the service argued that affiliate programs are essential for compensating content creators for their works. However, in the end the District Court sided with the Motion Picture Association of America and issued a summary judgment.

Considering the time and effort Hotfile has spent in the legal battle thus far, the experts believe it is going to file an appeal.

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