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MPAA Sues Hotfile for 'Staggering' Copyright Infringement

Roblimo posted more than 3 years ago | from the picking-them-off-one-at-a-time dept.

Movies 213

The lawsuit, filed by the MPAA against Hotfile, is on behalf of 20th Century Fox, Universal Studios, Columbia Pictures, and Warner Brothers. "The MPAA argues that Hotfile not only encourages its users to upload illegal content, but actively discourages them from uploading files for personal use, because the site offers incentives for users to upload the most popular files (which invariably end up being copyrighted movies). And because the site charges membership fees before people can download the content uploaded by others, the MPAA says Hotfile 'profits richly while paying nothing to the studios' for the bootleg files."

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213 comments

Ergh. I hate this. (4, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145368)

I don't want to support what you're doing but, charging to download other people's IP that you have no rights to is so horribly stupid.

What the hell was HotFile thinking? At least no one's profiting off of P2P(well, as far as I know, the developers behind Bittorrent and clients aren't) of IP.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (0)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145514)

Bittorrent sites do generate profit. The Pirate Bay has made a fantastical amount of money over the years from advertising, while Demonoid takes donations. I don't mind that, as these Bittorrent community has tried to get the public to requestion copyright law. It's rather unsavory when a faceless corporation who doesn't have that social mission makes loads of money off of our P2P activities, though.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145658)

I think you're confusing profit with income. Dealing with the volume of traffic they get is very expensive, and while the website has ads, the tracker doesn't, so I doubt they see much profit, if any.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145802)

So Pirate Bay is registered as a non-profit and has open books that are freely auditable?

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (2, Informative)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145910)

So Pirate Bay is registered as a non-profit and has open books that are freely auditable?

What difference does that make? I don't have to register as a non-profit to not make money.

Sure, it's all speculation, but I agree with the GP that between operating the site and paying lawyers and other professionals, there's probably not a lot of profit in running the Pirate Bay.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146112)

Sure, it's all speculation

That's entirely the point. The fact is they are getting revenue from ads. Bandwidth and servers have been cheap for a very long time, and many sites make money via advertising.

It's rather naive to assume they aren't making a decent amount of profit out of it, or even if they aren't, that they aren't trying. Do you think if they were making a lot of money they would just give it all back? It's the whole reason why non-profits and open books are put in place.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146384)

No, but we have numbers from a police investigation (who I regard as less biased than anti-piracy orgs), which say their income is around $170,000/year. Considering it's on of the top-100 websites in terms of traffic, doesn't seem like profit to me.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145832)

Back when they were on trial, there were plenty of reports that the founders of TPB had become rather wealthy from the site. Certainly they could pay the immense costs of their legal defence.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (0)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145890)

"The Pirate Bay has made a fantastical amount of money over the years from advertising..."

While this may be true (I don't know), the difference is that Hotfile charges the USERS for access, users that receive files in exchange for money. The Pirate pay makes no money as result of the files being shared--from neither uploader or downloader, but rather from advertisers who themselves have nothing to do with the files.

You're making a connection between money and goods, as well as between provider and receiver, that simply doesn't exist on The Pirate Bay, but does exist on Hotfile.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145558)

Eh, isn't your ISP profiting off P2P, especially if you have some form of usage-based billing, or are paying extra for higher speed and/or transfer cap?

As for the "must pay to download", it's blatant bullshit -- all these sites (hotfile, rapidshare, megaupload, and a host of others) offer basic service for free and charge more for premium -- typically free users get something like 1 download at a time, 30-60 seconds staring at ads before you can start a download, and maybe a 1GB/hour download limit. If you pay for a membership, you get fewer or no ads, no delays, and greatly relaxed limits on downloading.

Using bittorrent, where your download bandwidth is provided by some other bittorrent user's upload bandwidth, everyone only sees bandwidth on the order of one file. Here you're downloading from a server farm, which sees the aggregate load of all downloaders -- and that has to be paid for somehow. You're not paying for the content, you're paying for (or watching ads to pay for) transport -- all the "xxxx should be treated like a common carrier" arguments apply here.

And, like bittorrent, there are legitimate uses -- I've seen some open-source software distributed this way (little scripts where the author didn't have a web server), and one Android tablet has even got official firmware updates from the manufacturer via rapidshare.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (3, Insightful)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145892)

I've also seen more than one open source software distributed this way, but it's not really relevant, unless they only make a profit on open-source software.

My ISP isn't directly profiting by this, any more than AT&T, my telephone provider (protected monopolist) is. Any use that I might have for Hotfile is indirect, in respect to my ISP, or AT&T. If I download a movie (I won't and wouldn't) any profits or the phone company or my ISP are distinctly indirect. Hotfile, however, is making a direct profit, assuming that they're profitable.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146266)

What's your definition of "direct" and "indirect" profit, exactly? they certainly aren't selling you the files or access to them, so that definition goes right out the window.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (0)

bored_engineer (951004) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146406)

huh? Direct access is certainly what Hotfile is selling. Neither my ISP, nor AT&T (my monopolist phone provider) are selling that (direct) access, so their interests are certainly indirect.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (3, Informative)

mywhitewolf (1923488) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146640)

hotfile is selling additional bandwidth & less hassle to access any content on their servers. this includes the plethora of legitimate software on their servers. they aren't selling access to the files (which are freely available on their servers with a small wait) any more than your isp is selling you access to the files by giving you higher broadband speeds.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145942)

Hi MR AC! While I agree with most of what you are saying, the big "uh oh" that Hotfile did was this: they reward popular uploaders which kinda blows all your other arguments out of the water. Because by doing that they aren't just "charging for the bandwidth" they are actively encouraging people to upload...well...hot files.

Because doing so gets them bonuses they otherwise wouldn't get if they uploaded legal files because those Linux ISO or tunes of your band will NEVER get even a fiftieth of the hits say the latest HD Rip will get. It's just common sense.

So I'd say THAT is the line where they screwed up and will probably get bit in the ass. With the others IIRC the only "rewards" are for buying a membership which just as you say pays for more bandwidth and can be easily explained as such. But by rewarding those that upload popular files simply for that reason? Well THAT was some kind of stupid.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146020)

"Eh, isn't your ISP profiting off P2P, especially if you have some form of usage-based billing, or are paying extra for higher speed and/or transfer cap?"

This also occurred to me. I discount this theory for one reason--my own P2P tracking.

While I am sure there is some bias as a result of language, the vast majority of torrents I download have a high quantity of peers from Comcast, my own ISP. It is not unusual to see as much as 40%-50% of my peers resolve to Comcast. And, very surprisingly, they also seem to be the peers that are uploading to me at high rates, often accounting for 80%-90% of the total data per torrent.

How the hell does Comcast make money from this? I have never reached my 250GB cap on Comcast and I consider myself a "frequent" torrent client. While they did, not so long ago, throttle P2P, I regularly get 1.5-2.0MB sustained download speeds these days (provided the seeds are up to it). If I remember correctly, the vast majority of Comcast customers are not "usage-based" but rather simply capped (reasonably so, IMHO).

Trust me, I am not a big fan of Comcast (their private data-sharing policies suck), but for the life of me I cannot see how they are making any money here except by having...well, satisfied customers.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (2)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145794)

your argument is not even remotely on center. Hotfile is a storage locker. They are paying for the bandwidth in advance and just charging users to use it.

This has nothing to do with IP or even copyright infringement for that matter. Additionally, the lawsuit here is another of MPAA's "we hope the judge is a technology moron" lawsuit. [techdirt.com]

It's not Hotfile's job to give two shits what is on their website, and it's also not their job to watch or monitor it for illegal or other activities. Section 230 among others covers them from that in it's entirety.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (-1)

Odinlake (1057938) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146004)

your argument is not even remotely on center. Hotfile is a storage locker. They are paying for the bandwidth in advance and just charging users to use it.

This has nothing to do with IP or even copyright infringement for that matter. Additionally, the lawsuit here is another of MPAA's "we hope the judge is a technology moron" lawsuit. [techdirt.com]

It's not Hotfile's job to give two shits what is on their website, and it's also not their job to watch or monitor it for illegal or other activities. Section 230 among others covers them from that in it's entirety.

That's a point of view (or several). Saying that there is no reasonable other views possible, just shows your own narrow-mindedness.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35146466)

your argument is not even remotely on center. Hotfile is a storage locker. They are paying for the bandwidth in advance and just charging users to use it.

This has nothing to do with IP or even copyright infringement for that matter. Additionally, the lawsuit here is another of MPAA's "we hope the judge is a technology moron" lawsuit. [techdirt.com]

It's not Hotfile's job to give two shits what is on their website, and it's also not their job to watch or monitor it for illegal or other activities. Section 230 among others covers them from that in it's entirety.

That's a point of view (or several). Saying that there is no reasonable other views possible, just shows your own narrow-mindedness.

Those "reasonable other views" as you put it should carry a high burden of proof (of their own validity) when they want to ruin peoples' livelihood with big lawsuits. The "point of view" that doesn't want to do that is not trying to force anyone to adhere to it, and thus needs to meet no such burden of proof.

You relativist bastard.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146012)

ISPs make money selling bandwidth, file hosts make money from advertising, most usenet servers charge a subscription fee. There's nothing inherently wrong about offering a commercial service, even if you know a significant portion of your users will pirate.

What you don't get to do is cater specifically to that use or encourage piracy, which is what they may run afoul of here. That said the arguments aren't exactly watertight. For example imagine if YouTube had a profit split model where the uploaders got part of the ad revenue. You might say that'd encourage piracy, but you might also argue it's an incentive to create popular content. That people upload pirated material is not as such a fault of the model.

No doubt they're in the gray area of the law, but as long as there's money in it companies will test those limits. What we do know is that RapidShare is legal and Grokster was illegal. Hotfile is floating somewhere in between, either way we're likely to see another precision of what you can do and not.

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35146298)

ISPs make money selling bandwidth

No, they make money selling contracts. They make profit when people use a lot less bandwidth than they're paying for. ISP's don't make more money when their users use up more bandwidth, they make less.

They hope all their users pay the maximum and use the minimum. That's how all "free markets" work: by getting people to pay more than the product is worth.

(posting anon because I'm modding)

Re:Ergh. I hate this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35146622)

I agree, charging fees to download content sounds like selling IP. But as far as I could tell from the HotFile FAQ, you pay to host files so non-paying users can download them.

It seems like the same issue any web host faces. Your service allows people to put things on the internet and you're responsible for what they put on your servers, to some degree. Child porn, copyrighted material, scams, government secrets, whatever; you need to make a reasonable effort to stop illegal activity.

I'm not sure if HotFile has acted responsibly or not, but it's not the new, emerging threat described in the summary.

Which invariably end up being copyrighted movies? (1)

Meshach (578918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145370)

Then I guess they need to go after the users sharing the copyrighted materials not everyone who is using the service. When a bank robber drives to the bank he is going to stick up no one suggests banning driving or suing the road designer; how is this any different?

Re:Which invariably end up being copyrighted movie (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145386)

the site offers incentives for users to upload the most popular files (which invariably end up being copyrighted movies).

I don't think Hotfile should be held liable for its users' poor taste.

Incentive structure discourages noninfringing use (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145454)

When a bank robber drives to the bank he is going to stick up no one suggests banning driving or suing the road designer; how is this any different?

The difference is that the site's incentive structure actively discourages noninfringing use, unlike roads and automobiles whose design generally does not discourage noncriminal use. Copyright has a long-established doctrine of secondary liability [wikipedia.org]. If the maker of a product or service knows that infringement is occurring using the product or service, and the product or service has no substantial noninfringing use, the maker of the product or service is a contributory infringer. If the maker of a product or service profits from infringing use that it has power to prevent, the maker of the product or service is a vicarious infringer.

Re:Incentive structure discourages noninfringing u (5, Interesting)

lostmongoose (1094523) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145518)

They have a DMCA form for copyright holders to use. If the MPAA doesn't wanna use it, tough shit. It's why the safe harbor clause exists. They have a way to get the files taken down, and are choosing not use it and instead are doing an end run around the law plain and simple.

Re:Incentive structure discourages noninfringing u (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145684)

As far as I can tell, the DMCA does not protect Hotfile with the safe harbor clause. The safe harbor clause gets voided when you directly profit off of the infringement.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_Copyright_Infringement_Liability_Limitation_Act#Direct_Financial_Benefit

Re:Incentive structure discourages noninfringing u (3, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145906)

As far as I can tell, the DMCA does not protect Hotfile with the safe harbor clause. The safe harbor clause gets voided when you directly profit off of the infringement.

Hotfile doesn't directly profit from the infringement -- i.e., they aren't selling you copies of movies. They charge you for access to their system. What you do with that access is none of their concern. If people are uploading improper content then send Hotfile a DMCA takedown notice.

Hotfile is no more "directly profiting" than Youtube, which makes many millions of dollars every year. When Viacom tried to sue Youtube they lost because Youtube demonstrated that they have a policy in place to properly deal with DMCA takedown notices. As long as Hotfile takes stuff down when notified of infringement then I see no difference between them and Youtube.

No safe harbor here. (4, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146246)

Question: What does a service provider have to do in order to qualify for safe harbor protection?

Answer: In addition to informing its customers of its policies (discussed above), a service provider must follow the proper notice and takedown procedures (discussed above) and also meet several other requirements in order to qualify for exemption under the safe harbor provisions. ...

Finally, the service provider must not have knowledge that the material or activity is infringing or of the fact that the infringing material exists on its network. [512(c)(1)(A)], [512(d)(1)(A)].

If it does discover such material before being contacted by the copyright owners, it is instructed to remove, or disable access to, the material itself. [512(c)(1)(A)(iii)], [512(d)(1)(C)].

The service provider must not gain any financial benefit that is attributable to the infringing material. [512(c)(1)(B)], [512(d)(2)].

Question: What is third-party liability, also known as "secondary liability"?

Answer: The concept of third party liability refers, as the name implies, to situations in which responsibility for harm can be placed on a party in addition to the one that actually caused the injury. The most common example comes from tort law: a customer in a grocery store drops a bottle of wine and another customer slips on the puddle and injures himself; he may bring an action for negligence against the customer who dropped the bottle and against the owner of the grocery store. Under the common law doctrine of third-party liability, a plaintiff must show not only that an injury actually occurred, but also (in most cases) that some sort of connection existed between the third party and the person who actually caused the injury.

As such the concept of third-party liability is often divided into two different types: contributory infringement and vicarious liability.

Typically, contributory infringement exists when the third party either assists in the commission of the act which causes the injury, or simply induces the primary party to do so commit the act which caused the injury.

Vicarious liability often requires the third party to have exerted some form of control over the primary party's actions.

In copyright law, vicarious liability may be established if the third party had the "right and ability to control" the infringer's activities, and if the third party received some financial benefit from the acts of infringement.

Frequently Asked Questions (And Answers) about DMCA Safe Harbor [chillingeffects.org]

If you know you are hosting infringing content and do nothing about it you are dead.

You can't let things slide until someone rats you out.

If you are aiding the infringer in any way - or rewarding him for posting infringing content - you are dead. If you penalize the legitimate content provider you are dead.

If you are making money on the infringement you are dead.

Re:No safe harbor here. (1)

causality (777677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146550)

Question: What does a service provider have to do in order to qualify for safe harbor protection?

Answer: In addition to informing its customers of its policies (discussed above), a service provider must follow the proper notice and takedown procedures (discussed above) and also meet several other requirements in order to qualify for exemption under the safe harbor provisions. ...

Finally, the service provider must not have knowledge that the material or activity is infringing or of the fact that the infringing material exists on its network. [512(c)(1)(A)], [512(d)(1)(A)].

If it does discover such material before being contacted by the copyright owners, it is instructed to remove, or disable access to, the material itself. [512(c)(1)(A)(iii)], [512(d)(1)(C)].

The service provider must not gain any financial benefit that is attributable to the infringing material. [512(c)(1)(B)], [512(d)(2)].

Question: What is third-party liability, also known as "secondary liability"?

Answer: The concept of third party liability refers, as the name implies, to situations in which responsibility for harm can be placed on a party in addition to the one that actually caused the injury. The most common example comes from tort law: a customer in a grocery store drops a bottle of wine and another customer slips on the puddle and injures himself; he may bring an action for negligence against the customer who dropped the bottle and against the owner of the grocery store. Under the common law doctrine of third-party liability, a plaintiff must show not only that an injury actually occurred, but also (in most cases) that some sort of connection existed between the third party and the person who actually caused the injury.

As such the concept of third-party liability is often divided into two different types: contributory infringement and vicarious liability.

Typically, contributory infringement exists when the third party either assists in the commission of the act which causes the injury, or simply induces the primary party to do so commit the act which caused the injury.

Vicarious liability often requires the third party to have exerted some form of control over the primary party's actions.

In copyright law, vicarious liability may be established if the third party had the "right and ability to control" the infringer's activities, and if the third party received some financial benefit from the acts of infringement.

Frequently Asked Questions (And Answers) about DMCA Safe Harbor [chillingeffects.org]

If you know you are hosting infringing content and do nothing about it you are dead.

You can't let things slide until someone rats you out.

If you are aiding the infringer in any way - or rewarding him for posting infringing content - you are dead. If you penalize the legitimate content provider you are dead.

If you are making money on the infringement you are dead.

And if you die of old age, you are dead.

Re:No safe harbor here. (2)

nzap (1985014) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146626)

Question: What does a service provider have to do in order to qualify for safe harbor protection?

Answer: In addition to informing its customers of its policies (discussed above), a service provider must follow the proper notice and takedown procedures (discussed above) and also meet several other requirements in order to qualify for exemption under the safe harbor provisions. ...

Finally, the service provider must not have knowledge that the material or activity is infringing or of the fact that the infringing material exists on its network. [512(c)(1)(A)], [512(d)(1)(A)].

If it does discover such material before being contacted by the copyright owners, it is instructed to remove, or disable access to, the material itself. [512(c)(1)(A)(iii)], [512(d)(1)(C)].

The service provider must not gain any financial benefit that is attributable to the infringing material. [512(c)(1)(B)], [512(d)(2)].

Question: What is third-party liability, also known as "secondary liability"?

Answer: The concept of third party liability refers, as the name implies, to situations in which responsibility for harm can be placed on a party in addition to the one that actually caused the injury. The most common example comes from tort law: a customer in a grocery store drops a bottle of wine and another customer slips on the puddle and injures himself; he may bring an action for negligence against the customer who dropped the bottle and against the owner of the grocery store. Under the common law doctrine of third-party liability, a plaintiff must show not only that an injury actually occurred, but also (in most cases) that some sort of connection existed between the third party and the person who actually caused the injury.

As such the concept of third-party liability is often divided into two different types: contributory infringement and vicarious liability.

Typically, contributory infringement exists when the third party either assists in the commission of the act which causes the injury, or simply induces the primary party to do so commit the act which caused the injury.

Vicarious liability often requires the third party to have exerted some form of control over the primary party's actions.

In copyright law, vicarious liability may be established if the third party had the "right and ability to control" the infringer's activities, and if the third party received some financial benefit from the acts of infringement.

Frequently Asked Questions (And Answers) about DMCA Safe Harbor [chillingeffects.org]

If you know you are hosting infringing content and do nothing about it you are dead.

You can't let things slide until someone rats you out.

If you are aiding the infringer in any way - or rewarding him for posting infringing content - you are dead. If you penalize the legitimate content provider you are dead.

If you are making money on the infringement you are dead.

And if you die of old age, you are dead.

I almost died of old age scrolling down. You didn't have to quote the entire post.

Re:Incentive structure discourages noninfringing u (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145586)

I think you'll find the incentive structure encourages popular files.

There is no law of the universe dictating that the most popular files will be ones infringing MPAA copyrights.

Re:Incentive structure discourages noninfringing u (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145866)

There is no law of the universe dictating that the most popular files will be ones infringing MPAA copyrights.

Can you name any files that might be more popular than those infringing the copyrights of the MPAA studios, the major porn studios, the big four record labels, or the major video game publishers?

Re:Incentive structure discourages noninfringing u (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145588)

By that logic, the **AA should sue Google for secondary liability as well. The service (Google search) has no substantial noninfringing use yet the maker knows that infringement is occurring using the product or service (their recent attempts to take The Pirate Bay out of auto-complete). Therefore the maker (Google) is a contributory infringer. Heck you can go even further and sue Google Videos for copyright infringing videos and Google Images for copyright infringing images.

You have to draw a line somewhere when it comes to charging/suing people for indirectly contributing to crimes.

Re:Incentive structure discourages noninfringing u (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145678)

A lot of times you can type in the name of a game and instead of getting the game company's website, amazon, or gamestop, you'll get something like "starcraft 2 crack" "starcraft 2 mods" "starcraft 2 torrent" etc etc... All you want to do is find it legitimately (especially since you want to play on battlenet) but google keeps suggesting that you pirate it instead so I can see how the temptation is hard to resist by some xD

Viacom sued Google and lost (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145920)

The service (Google search) has no substantial noninfringing use

For one thing, Google Search and Google Image Search don't have an incentive structure with the effect of deterring noninfringing use. I use Google every day to search for documents on the web that aren't obvious infringements, as do millions of other U.S. residents. For another, Google can claim safe harbor because it responds swiftly to OCILLA notices from copyright owners.

Heck you can go even further and sue Google Videos for copyright infringing video

MPAA member Viacom tried that and lost [zdnet.com] due to Google's OCILLA safe harbor.

Re:Incentive structure discourages noninfringing u (1)

Broolucks (1978922) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145632)

The incentive structure does not discourage noninfringing use, it encourages infringing use. I am not saying that's much better, but it's different. I mean, if I want to use the service to upload my own stuff, I don't see what would discourage me.

Re:Incentive structure discourages noninfringing u (1)

jappleng (1805148) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145702)

Clearly they were hoping that reverse psychology would work.

Re:Incentive structure discourages noninfringing u (5, Informative)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145898)

When a bank robber drives to the bank he is going to stick up no one suggests banning driving or suing the road designer; how is this any different?

The difference is that the site's incentive structure actively discourages noninfringing use, unlike roads and automobiles whose design generally does not discourage noncriminal use. Copyright has a long-established doctrine of secondary liability [wikipedia.org]. If the maker of a product or service knows that infringement is occurring using the product or service, and the product or service has no substantial noninfringing use, the maker of the product or service is a contributory infringer. If the maker of a product or service profits from infringing use that it has power to prevent, the maker of the product or service is a vicarious infringer.

Remember when Sony was sued for helping people infringe copyright by selling Betamax VCRs?

The "Beta can be used to make illegal copies" lawsuit alerted more people that such could be done and Sony sold a bit more units because of this newly publicised use-case.

Lets not kid ourselves, Betamax cassettes were primarily used to "pirate" TV or other cassettes; Sony knew this hence: double cassette "duplication" models, models with timed recording settings, etc.

So, Universal sues Sony -- Sony Inc. v Universal Studios [wikipedia.org]:

The Court's 5-4 ruling to reverse the Ninth Circuit in favor of Sony hinged on the possibility that the technology in question had significant non-infringing uses, and that the plaintiffs were unable to prove otherwise.

On the question of whether Sony could be described as "contributing" to copyright infringement, the Court stated:

[There must be] a balance between a copyright holder's legitimate demand for effective - not merely symbolic - protection of the statutory monopoly, and the rights of others freely to engage in substantially unrelated areas of commerce. Accordingly, the sale of copying equipment, like the sale of other articles of commerce, does not constitute contributory infringement if the product is widely used for legitimate, unobjectionable purposes. Indeed, it need merely be capable of substantial noninfringing uses....

(emphasis mine)

So, WTF, file sharing services meet the qualification of merely being capable of substantial noninfringing uses.

It's amazing how X on a Computer or X on the Internet somehow requires a whole new legal precedent rather than just X on a cassette or CD.

Ignorant judges and jurors are the main cause of my copyright rage today... It's quite simple to understand, yet blows my mind on a regular basis just how ignorant the general public (including courts) are about such things.

File sharing technology much like Sony, has made available something that could help people infringe copyright; In neither case does the file sharing site or Sony's Betamax cassettes require that the users infringe copyright. If someone does infringe copyright using a file sharing service, Bittorrent search site, or a Betamax cassette then you don't hold the creator of the tools in use responsible.

Hint: Betamax cassettes, blank CDs, blank DVDs, Flash USB drives, magnetic hard drives, the Internet, file sharing protocols & websites -- All these things havesubstantial noninfringing uses. The DMCA exists, if the MPAA issuing take-down notices and the hosts are not removing the content, they lose safe harbor and may be culpable. Simply charging for a service (or for Betamax cassettes) which can be used to commit copyright infringement, does not imply contributory infringement.

Re:Which invariably end up being copyrighted movie (1)

obeythefist (719316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145496)

Well, this is more like the government filing charges against the owner of the bank for allowing the crime to occur on their premises, simply by not actively preventing the robber from entering the bank and taking the currency, which is the "property" of the government, in a legal tender kind of sense. The government in this analogy, much like the MPAA, didn't directly lose anything, but something happened to something they have copyright over. It's clearly the banks fault...

Re:Which invariably end up being copyrighted movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145768)

If you're going to throw about the word clearly, then clearly this is like a landlord being held liable for criminal activities committed by tenants. A landlord who gives incentive to said criminal activities.

Re:Which invariably end up being copyrighted movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145540)

Road builders rarely build roads that lead right into Bank Vaults.

Just saying.

Re:Which invariably end up being copyrighted movie (0)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145722)

Then I guess they need to go after the users sharing the copyrighted materials not everyone who is using the service. When a bank robber drives to the bank he is going to stick up no one suggests banning driving or suing the road designer; how is this any different?

Well, this is a little more like suing a limo company that specialises in clients who walk out of banks with bags of money, wearing masks and waving guns around...

More realistic example (2)

Roger W Moore (538166) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146224)

Well, this is a little more like suing a limo company that specialises in clients who walk out of banks with bags of money, wearing masks and waving guns around...

Why not go for a more realistic example. Most car manufacturers sell vehicles capable of travelling well over the maximum speed limit on public roads and yet I have yet to see one of them being successfully sued for encouraging drivers to speed. Of course technically you could use them to drive at high speeds on private roads but the overwhelming use of the vehicles is on public roads where they cannot exceed $LEGAL_MAX m/s.

It seems that this is exactly like Hotfile: you can use the service to share legal files but the overwhelming use is to share illegal files. The only difference is that big corporations gain from selling fast cars but lose when people share files.

Re:Which invariably end up being copyrighted movie (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145844)

... except when they do go after the users, everyone screams foul on that too.

No matter what they do to protect their content, whether it be technical means (DRM), going after the people breaking the law (users), or going after the companies facilitating the breaking of the law (services), everyone screams that they're evil. It's a really shitty situation to be in - people are constantly stealing their content and then slamming them for protecting it.

Pro bono, or pro-Bono? (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146168)

people are constantly stealing their content and then slamming them for protecting it.

The movie studios are notorious for taking from the commons without giving back. Walt Disney Pictures especially is known for adapting films, often right after they go out of copyright (such as Pinocchio and The Jungle Book), and then closing the barn door behind it by not only successfully lobbying for successive legislative extensions of the term of copyright in all works published during the existence of the company but also acting like it owns the original work and harassing smaller studios that make their own adaptations. Case in point: Disney owns a trademark on "Pinocchio" for dolls [uspto.gov], so good luck selling toys based on your own film adaptation of Collodi's novel. Disney has also sued GoodTimes Entertainment over "trade dress" rights in the packaging of its direct-to-video adaptations of the same stories that Disney had adapted.

Publishers of proprietary computer programs such as Apple also own copyrights. But some Slashdot users have a better view of Apple and tolerate its action to defend its copyright in Mac OS X (Apple v. Psystar) in part because Apple does charitable work by contributing to Darwin, WebKit, and select other free software projects. If the major record labels and major motion picture studios were to do some analogous pro bono work* by releasing some of their back catalog under a license for free cultural works [freedomdefined.org], Slashdot users might have a better opinion of them.

* That's pro bono [wikipedia.org], not pro-Bono [wikipedia.org].

Re:Which invariably end up being copyrighted movie (1)

Eskarel (565631) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146068)

I think it's more like renting out rooms to people for cash and then giving them a discount if you find human blood on the walls when they're done. You didn't actually tell them to break the law, but you encouraged it and profited by it.

Note I am not saying copyright infringement is the same as murder.

Re:Which invariably end up being copyrighted movie (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146676)

"When a bank robber drives to the bank he is going to stick up no one suggests banning driving or suing the road designer; how is this any different?"

I just want to say that I'm sooooooooo sick and tired of people on the internet making whatever sketchy analogy supports whatever view they want to advance. Considering how often analogies are used to re-write the situation into something different, I propose making analogies the equivalent of invoking Nazis.

Plausible (3, Insightful)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145390)

It's one of the few, perhaps the first plausible claim I've heard from the MAFIAA. They've still got a lot of work to do to prove it, but it's at least a plausible claim.

Re:Plausible (2)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145546)

Indeed, this is a sensible case. I've avoided Hotfile specifically for this reason. It encourages piracy so much that it screams "Honeypot". Seems not to be the case, which makes it a pretty clear-cut case of wilfully enabling and encouraging others to commit a crime. Of course, the law isn't that simple, so it'll be up to the courts to decide. As much as I am fairly neutral on "enabling" where there are other, legitimate uses - Hotfile's encouragement I cannot support.

Re:Plausible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145670)

IANAL but apart from the user that uploads initially would assume downloading liability for the end users would be limited to the price of the dvd as the downloaders are not 'distributing' (and therefore not really worth the cost of pursuing)

The case against hotfile for 'encouraging' may be explorable but looks like they are just trying to damage the reputation of hotfile and loose them revenue. Functionally there are many more where that came from - megaupload, filesonic etc etc etc etc etc

Re:Plausible (3, Informative)

Musically_ut (1054312) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145640)

Someone [techdirt.com] doesn't think so.

However, the summary is misleading here:

And because the site charges membership fees before people can download the content uploaded by others, ...

Hotfiles allows for downloads (though at limited speeds) for non-premium accounts too.

Re:Plausible (1)

scurvyj (1158787) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145708)

It's one of the few, perhaps the first plausible claim I've heard from the MAFIAA. They've still got a lot of work to do to prove it, but it's at least a plausible claim.

It is almost a plausible claim, yes. And yet.......They can STILL burn in hell for all I care.

we should just make a bot to generate these (0)

TravisHein (981987) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145422)

/etc/cron.weekly:
y=`tail -1 file_containing_every_existing_company_or_service_or_individual` ;
for x in RI MP; do
echo "${x}AA sues ${y} for `/dev/random` stupid reason.";
done;

"Staggering" .... (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145448)

i dont know these people who use words like 'staggering', 'shocking', 'outrageous' etc while describing things like these think that they can fool the public into buying their word through that wordage still.

its 21st century. not 19th. pretty much everyone knows that the only one 'staggered' with situations like these, are private interests or governments catering to them.

so its pointless to attempt portraying a self-interest, public-enemy move as something positive and socially acceptable. they should just cut to the chase.

"Staggering" != "In Stages"? (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145502)

I thought they meant that Hotfile infringed on copyright in stages or something. The hyperbolic meaning didn't even occur to me; and now that it has, I really wish all those MBA marketing types would go fall down a well somewhere.

Meh.

Re:"Staggering" .... (1)

cshake (736412) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145584)

And here I first read it as the other definition, i.e. starting things at different times so they don't all happen at once, and wondered what the hell the author was talking about.

Re:"Staggering" .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145710)

The same thought occurred to me, and I immediately jumped to the conclusion that the MPAA had a beef with multipart RAR archives.

Oh, English.

Bit of a stretch (1)

biohazard123 (1539865) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145452)

"actively discourages them from uploading files for personal use, because the site offers incentives for users to upload the most popular files (which invariably end up being copyrighted movies)" Seems like just a little bit of a stretch!

Re:Bit of a stretch (1)

Kalidor (94097) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145570)

That's a stretch. So is the pay to download. Technically membership pays for faster, unlimited downloads. Lower bandwidth downloads are free. A technicality I know, but it's one of the same technicalities that MPAA loves to try and get a toehold with.

Re:Bit of a stretch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145606)

Yeah. The most popular files are often games, applications, etc. They are all good examples of copyright infringements though.

Hate to admit it, but the mafiaa is onto something here.

The MPAA & their client are jealous? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145530)

I think because their business model does not get them enough recurring revenue they are jealous? Why not use Hotfile business model?
#MPAA fails! As usual...

Re:The MPAA & their client are jealous? (0)

black3d (1648913) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145626)

Because the business model requires piracy. Even if the MPAA and every organisation they represent put their content on a website, and charged a low monthly all-you-can-eat fee, it still wouldn't equal an unrestricted cross-organisation warez amalgamation site. They could still only legally have their own content up. That's why "stealing" isn't a "business model", its a crime. In most cases, anyhow. ;)

Re:The MPAA & their client are jealous? (2)

CopyrightMadowOwner (1992526) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145704)

That's why "copyright infringement" isn't a "business model", its a crime. In most cases, anyhow. ;)

Fixed that for you.

Re:The MPAA & their client are jealous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35146062)

Ah, using the ol' pirates dictionary, eh? Try define: steal on Google and let us know why the very first definition does not apply to copyright infringement. Or maybe the first definition from Webster's "to take or appropriate (another's property, ideas, etc) without permission".

Re:The MPAA & their client are jealous? (2)

CopyrightMadowOwner (1992526) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146516)

That's idiotic. When hearing the words "steal" or "theft," the very first thing that most people would think of is "loss of previously owned property," not "loss of potential revenue due to digital data being copied." There is a difference, and accurate definition or not, that is very confusing (like the word pirate being used to describe someone who infringes upon copyright).

Re:The MPAA & their client are jealous? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35146654)

That explains why people always look so confused when a baseball player steals a base, or a lover steals a kiss, or a plagarist stole someone's idea, or a cute girl stole their heart, or a blowhard stole their thunder, etc. Because the FIRST THING people think of when they hear steal is "loss of previously owned property". No, the only people who have (or claim to have) any trouble at all understanding what steal means are morons who try to pretend that copyright infringement ISN'T stealing.

Re:The MPAA & their client are jealous? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146520)

Crime implies the legal definition, not the laymanâ(TM)s. And in legal terms, copyright infringement is not stealing.
Webster isn't a legal dictionary.

Where have they been? (4, Insightful)

techwreck (1992598) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145534)

Did they somehow miss what has happened to every other site that has attempted to use that same business model over the the past several years? Am I missing something or is this kind of like jumping off a boat to go for a swim after a shark has just devoured every other member of your party that got in before you?

Re:Where have they been? (2)

kylemonger (686302) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145734)

I'm sure they knew the party would end. But until it did, they made money. Now they corporation will be driven into bankruptcy, but so what? It will be a looted shell by the time the MPAA gets to it.

Re:Where have they been? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145962)

And then, another one will pop up in its place.
Really, the situation is looking more and more like what happened in the Prohibition era.

Re:Where have they been? (1)

Broolucks (1978922) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145774)

I wager the venture will still have been profitable to them while it lasted. I assume that they will simply settle to drop their incentive system, share profits and probably implement a better system to filter out infringing content. I doubt they will face any real consequences.

Good sites like Hotfiles are a blight (0)

grapeape (137008) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145578)

This is the first case like this where I can honestly say I'm on the MPAA's side. Though I have seen some like rapidshare that get used for legitimate purposes, the vast majority exist simply to shuffle around pirated crap. When its a pay for use scheme like this it cant be more blatant, in fact i'd put it on the same level of piracy as running a disk duplication shop. I dont really care what people do on their own time and can even deal with the "information wants to be free" crowd, but it takes alot of nerve to basically put up a warez site and then have a toll gate leading to it.

Re:Good sites like Hotfiles are a blight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145662)

Except that it can be used for legitimate purposes. Basically, a bunch of pirates came along and uploaded copyrighted material. Now you, not the pirates, get sued, and your website (and potentially you) are ruined because of what your users did. These copyright imbeciles are as pathetic as always. Also, as far as I know, they say that they comply to DMCA notices.

Re:Good sites like Hotfiles are a blight (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145716)

So what's the solution? Content verification won't work: file sharers already encrypt it using passworded rars. So what do you propose? Banning any kind of file hosting service?

Re:Good sites like Hotfiles are a blight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35146316)

This is the first case like this where I can honestly say I'm on the MPAA's side. Though I have seen some like rapidshare that get used for legitimate purposes, the vast majority exist simply to shuffle around pirated crap. When its a pay for use scheme like this it cant be more blatant, in fact i'd put it on the same level of piracy as running a disk duplication shop. I dont really care what people do on their own time and can even deal with the "information wants to be free" crowd, but it takes alot of nerve to basically put up a warez site and then have a toll gate leading to it.

So lemme get this straight: you think that every site that allows users to store data should somehow be responsible for the content stored, and should have to *filter* the content to protect the profits of a handful of international megacorps. In other words, that the site's PAYING CUSTOMERS are somehow less deserving of their rights than the content holders.

Did you learn how to gobble dick like that from your mom, or are you just a natural? Because the MAFIAA are going to need a cigarette after that post.

you can download from hotfile with paying a fee (5, Informative)

redwhine (1990662) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145622)

"the site charges membership fees before people can download the content uploaded by others" I got to call bullsh*t on that... Without registering, I could download Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat from hotfile.com: http://www.google.com/search?q=http://hotfile.com/dl/65769082/cd84b25/Ubuntu.10.10.i386.part1.rar.html [google.com]

Fig Leaf Linux ? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146404)

Without registering, I could download Ubuntu Maverick Meerkat from hotfile.com

Now tell me what files you can download after your "membership fee " clears through your bank card or PayPal.

Re:you can download from hotfile with paying a fee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35146440)

strawman much? hotfile premium users are not downloading FOSS. They're downloading these http://www.hotfiledownloads.org/type-movie.htm

Solution to crime! (2, Insightful)

ProzacPatient (915544) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145624)

The MPAA has found the solution to all kinds of crime!
Instead of going after individual perpetrators we should instead go after the post office because the post office allows people to exchange everything from child porn to music discs and does nothing to discourage it!

Re:Solution to crime! (1)

McTickles (1812316) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145698)

You may be joking but the french government is considering doing that...

Yes it is beyond retarded.

Re:Solution to crime! (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146000)

say goodby to the internet. a win hear would cripple any hosting company. being any server can have its user upload stuff he shouldn't be. hotfile is just like everyone else they offer free http uploads. and the list of sites offering this is massiv. i never used it myself but i used others to send files to my friends and no not movies lol. its just easer to send them a link then deal with trying to upload the files directly and getting blocked by firewalls etc.

Old Tactic (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145642)

MPAA tried this on Rapdishare a few years ago. As a result, Rapidshare simply dropped its "Rapidpoints" incentive system. Looks like MPAA is going after fresh meat; Rapidshare already has a crapton of experienced lawyers and has largely pre-emptively guarded itself against convoluted "they're trying to help people infringe" arguments.

Hardly a unique service. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35145850)

To say that:
"the site charges membership fees before people can download the content uploaded by others"
is completely inaccurate as you can download links as a free user just as on other filehosting sites such as Rapidshare, Fileserve, Megaupload etc. Hotfile is not a unique service to encourage uploaders by giving rewards for the the number of times a file is downloaded.
In fact their rewards system is not as highly paying as some other sites.
The result of the lawsuit should be the same as when Rapidshare got sued ... they are not responsible for what people upload to their service.

ok what (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35145958)

hotfile isn't any different from any other file site out there. and no you do not need to even subcribe to the site to get the files people uploaded. they also actively delete copyrighted works. in fact most groups have aruldy moved away from hotfile to a faster site ill leave unnamed. but i guess they got sick of trying to take down pirate bay and decided they had smaller fish to fry lol. if they where to win a suit agenst any of these sites say goodby to any sort of http hosting of anything. being any hosting site you make its bound to have users upload copyrighted works on it.

Re:ok what (1)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146182)

Suing smaller fish is a business tactic, especially if they can get a precedent that ANY public file repository is a infringement trove. If not, then they could probably bleed hotfile dry and swimming in legal fees. If hotfile fights back and wins, you can bet the next step is a domain seizure by ICE, then more court proceedings to get their domain back as they argue with the court that they followed the DMCA to the letter to remove infringing content.

If ICE can seize domains for merely linking to Justin.tv streams, then they'll take a site that's actually hosting the content offline in a heartbeat. Funny thing, ICE never responded to me when I informed them of a site that was distributing my and a slew other indie developed games online illegally. I guess we don't contribute enough to the GDP to receive the same level of treatment from non-tax paying corporate entities that control the other 94% of the media. Not that I wanted the site seized (better them pirate the game now and becoming paying customers later), but just curious if they would actually respond to the small voice in the room.

Re:ok what (1)

luther349 (645380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146376)

oh i agree thats there tactic pirate bay was to big of a shark to kill. the underlying issue hear isn't copyright. its the damage they could couse to every http hoster out there including web-host. and yea i have been there wile my work was free a linux distro for netbooks back when support in linux was lacking. some duchbag took my iso and sold it. wile not braking any laws under gpl it still pissed me off. he didnt do any work or help in any way making my distro work he tryed to profit off my work. and trust me i responded on my site abought it and told people not to pay for something thats free and it was not me selling cds. but yea in your case a payed work being tossed around for free still is annoying but cant really be helped. you can scream yell and even wast the courts time but in the end knothing will change. you can only inform your fan base of it and tell them to avoide it.

it's obvious.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35146016)

Clearly a MPAA operative started Hotfile -- designed it to fail spectacularly and prove who the good guys are.

So let me get this straight... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35146122)

MPAA has a problem that people are PAYING (membership fees) to download movies.

Seriously, if pirates want to see videos online so badly that they're actually PAYING for them, isn't that a good thing? MPAA should look at starting their own online video service (something in the neighborhood of Netflix) and take advantage of this consumer demand. The war is over. Pirates are now itching to spend money for products as long as they're delivered in the correct fashion.

The reality however is that unless something's changed recently, there isn't a requirement to pay a membership fee to download. You just get more, simultaneous, faster downloads with the premium subscription, just like most of the other file sharing sites. There are plenty of legitimate uses - if you need to send a whole whack of home videos to your family somewhere else in the world, compress 'em, encrypt the archive, and you can use hotfile to send it rather than having to break it up into a million pieces through e-mail. If you do it periodically, the free service will work just fine. If you're sending your kitten videos on a daily basis, you might want to look into the paid service.

If they're going to base their claim on hotfile being used primarily for pirated stuff, then fine. I don't agree with it (why do we have to put up with the DMCA if it doesn't apply to both sides), and I hope they lose because of the DMCA, but fine.

Talking about the profits from a paid membership just makes it look like the MPAA is inept when it comes to monetizing video products.

Staggered? (1)

charlieo88 (658362) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146134)

Didn't anybody else read the title and figure the site was forcing a delay in the copyright infringements, so they didn't all occur at once?

a funny thing happened on the way to the internets (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35146142)

I'm obviously going against the mob here, but i think Hotfile.com is just a GENERAL service provider... No more responsible for "copyright infringement" than your ISP.

I personally don't think they deliberately set out to achieve "staggering copyright infringement", just like I don't think the guys who hacked together the first BitTorrent client and tracker, the first Gnutella servent, and the first 'Internet' were "out-and-out" encouraging copyright infringement (well, at least publicly... I certainly can't speak for their personal views.) I think the coolness of these technologies speaks for itself, and I for one have used ALL of them for copyright-irrelevant tasks, Hotfile included, and was glad to have them. I don't think anyone would sue the inventors of the Internet for "staggering copyright infringement" because of the irrefutable FACT that a LARGE portion of the content available on it infringes someones's copyright. But maybe I'm wrong... Maybe that's the next step. (Heads up guys...)

FWIW, Hotfile.com has a usage policy forbidding illegal uses (of course), INCLUDING copyright infringement (of course), and an easy-to-find DMCA-takedown page (of course; 2 clicks in, at http://hotfile.com/reportabuse.html). How else is the Internet supposed to work?

The truth of the matter is that the people USING Hotfile.com are uploading copy-written content, not (to my knowledge) the operators. This fact stands in stark contrast to the general consensus here, and the obvious paradox leads (me at least) to some interesting conclusions. One is that people (here, there, and everywhere) are incredibly two-faced about the whole situation, and another is that people are glad to have a commercial scapegoat to take the heat.

Looked in a mirror lately?

Not quite accurate, but huge implications (1)

D J Horn (1561451) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146180)

You can in fact download without paying, just like the other eight thousand sites like this (rapidshare, megashare, megaupload, duckload, etc etc etc)

And just like all those other sites, hotfile removes offending files as soon as they get reported (often within minutes of the files being posted!)

So really this site (and the others like it) are just like youtube or any other place you can post things - as long as they remove offending files can they be considered guilty of infringement? Granted these kinds of sites are huge piracy magnets - its how things spread before torrents even - but does that alone make them different?

It may seem different but if hotfile can be sued, there are staggering(!) implications for the rest of the internet.

Payment (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146274)

the MPAA says Hotfile "profits richly while paying nothing to the studios"

Funny thing for the MPAA to say. How much money will the musicians, actors, composers, directors, etc. (you know, the people with talent) make if/when the MPAA wins this case?

Stupid fat cats (1)

buss_error (142273) | more than 3 years ago | (#35146284)

As I've said numerous times before, if you don't like what the MPAA and RIAA do, buy nothing that has the slightest taint from them. Do not vote for politicians that support them.

I have not been to a MPAA associated movie in 16 years (even getting a rating from the MPAA is enough for me to boycott it). I do not buy RIAA artist's work. I write letters telling the producers and artists why I won't buy their works. I haven't bought any IP from Sony in more than twenty years for personal use. I try not to buy computers chips copyrighted by Sony at my work.

I stopped buying television in March 2009. If I can't get it for free over the air or on the Internet, I don't watch it. (I do not approve of IP Infringement and do not view things I know to be infringing.)

If you want to see someone doing IP right, go to www.baen.com/library and read Eric Flint's thoughts.

"There was a school of thought, which seemed to be picking up steam, that the way to handle the problem was with handcuffs and brass knucks. Enforcement! Regulation! New regulations! Tighter regulations! All out for the campaign against piracy! No quarter! Build more prisons! Harsher sentences!

Alles in ordnung!

I, ah, disagreed. Rather vociferously and belligerently, in fact."

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