Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Court Rules "Locker" Site Is Not Direct Copyright

CmdrTaco posted more than 3 years ago | from the hope-for-the-best dept.

Networking 45

suraj.sun writes "A federal judge in Miami has dismissed direct copyright infringement charges against Hotfile, a popular online "locker" service that the major Hollywood studios allege is responsible for massive copyright infringement. But he allowed the case to proceed on charges that Hotfile has induced and profited from the infringing activities of its users. The case, which began in February, represents the latest front in the never-ending arms race between Hollywood studios and users seeking free copies of their movies. Hotfile is a "cyberlocker" site. Users upload files they wish to share with others and are rewarded financially if these files prove popular. The studios allege that the overwhelming majority of the files users upload to Hotfile are copyrighted content being distributed without the consent of copyright holders' like themselves."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Also just in... (3, Insightful)

dirtyhippie (259852) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732802)

Court rules title on website not a full.

Re:Also just in... (5, Funny)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732974)

Don't hate! Copy title from the website of English not is mistake easy made. Editors trouble having with the understanding of reading! For shame.

Or maybe, as you say, they just accidentally a word.

Re:Also just in... (2)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733160)

Yoda, is that you?

Re:Also just in... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733876)

I prefer to read this in Jerry Lewis voice, rather than Yoda.

Of course, I have just recently watched several Animaniacs episodes.

Froinleven, nice lady.

Re:Also just in... (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734340)

Yoda, is that you?

Me, it is not. .... O'dh!

Re:Also just in... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733294)

"[A]ccidentally a word"?!? More like accidentally all of Slashdot.

not particularly exciting (4, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732830)

This is fairly standard given current law, and is the "easy" part of the win. Hosts of these kinds of user-driven content sites (e.g. YouTube) are not themselves considered to be violating copyright when copyrighted material ends up on them. The harder part is that sites alleged to be largely organized around promoting infringement can be held liable, under circumstances not completely clarified, for some variety fo inducement or contributory infringement. The Napster case was the leading one in that area.

So the fact that they got direct-infringement charges dismissed doesn't mean a whole lot, for better or worse; that was mostly a foregone conclusion, and I'd guess was thrown in just on the off chance that plaintiffs would get lucky with their draw of judges. The controversial part of the case, whether Hotfile is more Napster-like or more YouTube-like, is still to come.

Re:not particularly exciting (1)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733322)

I thought I just read a story here the other day about the DOJ going after sites that link to copyrighted materials . . . I can't see how this site could be legal, but the ones that link to it would be seen as infringing. Of course the DOJ is not the courts and perhaps this ruling is paving the way for the others to have recourse.

Re:not particularly exciting (1)

Blindman (36862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734604)

Linking is slightly different in that it may direct people to copyrighted material. In this case, Hotfile provides an empty box that people may fill with copyrighted material. To me, this is similar to a storage facility. People could store stolen goods at the facility, but it is difficult to say that this is the storage facilities fault.

Re:not particularly exciting (1)

CecilPL (1258010) | more than 3 years ago | (#36741964)

Is directing people to copyrighted material a crime?

Could I be convicted for standing on a street corner handing out maps marked with the locations of drug dealers?

Re:not particularly exciting (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735780)

I thought I just read a story here the other day about the DOJ going after sites that link to copyrighted materials

The DOJ is acting extrajudicially, though possibly with the figleaf of legitimacy provided by the 2600 case (in which linking to DeCSS was found to constitute a DMCA violation).

What Hollyweird really wants (0)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732856)

is to kill "locker" sites entirely.

"Lockers" take away from the things the studios want you to purchase, simple as that. Alleging "oh they use these as dropboxes for infringement blarrgh rawr think of the children terrorism rawr" is just bullshit.

It's rather like Hollyweird's quiet support for the various "restrict video game sales think of the children" bullshit laws - Hollyweird is being eclipsed by interactive media.

That and the quiet push to make it so that DVR's can't play back to a recording device. They've been trying to kill off VCR-tape type home archiving for ages.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36732968)

Alleging "oh they use these as dropboxes for infringement blarrgh rawr think of the children terrorism rawr" is just bullshit.

(First, let me state that I disagree with the way copyright is currently structured in the US - it is for way to long a term, etc.). So you are saying that one of the primary uses for these tools is not infringement? I think most reasonable people rather disagree. Certainly people use features of some of these platforms (like the dropbox platform) to sync files between machines. And yes, there are many non-infringing uses. However, it is just disingenuous to insinuate that these services don't get used for a lot of copyright infringement. It's kind of like saying, "BitTorrent is used for Linux distros". Sure, it is. But it is also used for a huge amount of copyright violation. It will probably depend on the service's terms of use, advertising, and policies whether they are judged to be contributory or not.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (3, Insightful)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733182)

Many firearms are used in the commission of a crime here in the United States, go ahead and try to ban guns based on that fact. Never happen.

At some point, we have to accept that people are going to misuse services and devices to break the law. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater by banning said service or device because of the misuse by a small segment of the population is a tad too Orwellian for me.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733306)

He wasn't saying these services should be banned, numbnuts. He was just pointing out that people trying to claim that the majority of the users of these sites aren't using it for copyright infringement are full of shit. And he is quite right. That 5 people on Slashdot might use Bittorrent for Linux ISOs and public domain movies/music doesn't change the fact that nearly all of the content on the pirate bay is infringing someone's copyright. What you idiots do is make it quite easy for people like the RIAA and MPAA to dismiss anyone who wants to reform copyrights as being loony.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733652)

Bittorrent =/= The Pirate Bay.

As for the piracy figures, how the hell does anyone even know for sure what percentage is being used for what? Are ISPs now capable of reading bittorrent packets and seeing what type of file they are pieces of, and even if they are capable, are they legally allowed to do it?

Just another case of Big Media playing the "moral panic" game to try and secure their monopoly on content delivery again. "I hear that there might be child porn on the internet, guess we'd better shut it down until we can stop it completely. Oh, wait, that's literally impossible. Oh well, might as well keep it shut down for good."

If you don't think that's the trick they're trying to pull, you're either naive or willfully short-sighted. Big Media gets caught infringing on just as many copyrights as regular joes, but no ones shutting them down...go figure.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733878)

Bittorrent =/= The Pirate Bay.

*facepalm* Are you really that fucking stupid or dense? Of course they are not the same. The Pirate Bay was AN EXAMPLE OF A BITTORRENT TRACKER. Jesus christ, numbnuts.

As for the piracy figures, how the hell does anyone even know for sure what percentage is being used for what? Are ISPs now capable of reading bittorrent packets and seeing what type of file they are pieces of, and even if they are capable, are they legally allowed to do it?

By going to the major trackers and looking at the content being shared? Wow, so hard.

Just another case of Big Media playing the "moral panic" game to try and secure their monopoly on content delivery again. "I hear that there might be child porn on the internet, guess we'd better shut it down until we can stop it completely. Oh, wait, that's literally impossible. Oh well, might as well keep it shut down for good."

No, it's not that at all. The site is being used by people to facilitate copyright infringement. It's trivially easy to verify this by looking at the thousands of links to the site that are copyrighted material.

If you don't think that's the trick they're trying to pull, you're either naive or willfully short-sighted. Big Media gets caught infringing on just as many copyrights as regular joes, but no ones shutting them down...go figure.

Except in this specific case it has nothing to do with child porn or anything. Once again, you prove that idiots such as yourself make it trivially easy to get politicians and others to dismiss people, such as myself, who want to legitimately reform copyright laws because enough of you idiots are vocal enough to drown out those of us who are reasonable and don't have the motivations of thinking that these media companies owe giving us their works for free.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (1)

SCPRedMage (838040) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734920)

*facepalm* Are you really that fucking stupid or dense? Of course they are not the same. The Pirate Bay was AN EXAMPLE OF A BITTORRENT TRACKER. Jesus christ, numbnuts.

*facepalm* Are you really that fucking stupid or dense? Of course the Pirate Bay was an example of a Bit Torrent tracker. The point is that Bit Torrent is used for far more than the kind of crap you find there. Jesus christ, numbnuts.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735470)

hmm. You don't sound reasonable!

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36742056)

Are ISPs now capable of reading bittorrent packets and seeing what type of file they are pieces of

Yes.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (1)

kwbauer (1677400) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734200)

I think someone was trying to make a distinction between vast majority and small minority. Yes, some firearms are used to commit crimes but only an extremely small minority of firearms in the US are used for such purposes (as in 99.999% are not used for criminal purposes). So yes, some sites are used more heavily for non-infringing purposes and some sites are used almost exclusively for infringing purposes.

Overall, I agree that shutting down types of sites is wrong. However, shutting down individual sites based on their usage and how they promote themselves, etc. may not be. To continue the gun analogy... shutting down licensed dealers and gun shows is generally wrong but shutting down the guy selling out of the back of his van in a back alley in downtown big city is probably a good way to prevent guns from being used for criminal activities.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36736110)

If a large group of criminals happens to move to your small town should we shut down the only gas station for 50 miles since they are using it to buy gas to haul drugs? Discriminating against a site because of the actions of some, or even a majority, of it's current users doesn't seem like a good precedent to set.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#36736796)

But not a majority of guns are used in violent crime.

* Roughly 7% of all violent crime in 2008 involved a firearm... ( http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/glance/percentfirearm.cfm [usdoj.gov] )
* Number of violent crimes in the US in 2008 - 1,392,628 ( http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm [disastercenter.com] )
* Quick math: 97483.96 ... let's say 98,000
* there were over 4 million firearms manufactured in the US 2008 (4,152,082) ... this does not include manufactures outside the US.
* there were about 3.8 million produced in 2007

That's 2.4%-2.5% of guns produced (just of the US made guns, so this is a high estimate) being used for crime.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733154)

Think of the child-terrorists!

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733254)

They want more than that. They're totally unreasonable. They want to kill off the entire Internet. They want to turn the clock back for us to circa 1985 when the Internet was unknown to the general public, hard drives were far too small to hold 80 minutes of music, the mp3 format and the CD-R didn't exist, and they had a rock hard monopoly on distribution. They themselves would like to benefit from newer technology, as long as the rest of us can't.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (1)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733334)

and they're using all of the Democrats that they've bought off. Hollywood = Democrat. Democrats = the ones pushing crap laws these days about "copyrights" and making it a felony to have a video camera in a movie theater.

They're not even trying to hide it anymore. Five RIAA lawyers placed in cabinet positions by Obama? FIVE of them. Even Bush didn't obviously suck up to one trade group like this administration has.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733442)

Don't just blame the Democrats. Republicans from the deep south are equally on the hook here.

It's really rather bizzarre. They happily bend over forwards for interests in another state 2000 miles away that they will gladly eviscerate as totally immoral.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#36735718)

Politics and morality... An interesting combination... Is that like sweet and sour?

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733944)

and they're using all of the Democrats that they've bought off. Hollywood = Democrat. Democrats = the ones pushing crap laws these days about "copyrights" and making it a felony to have a video camera in a movie theater.

*yawn* not this stupid canard again. Republicans are just as much supportive of this crap as the Democrats. Hell, the DMCA was introduced to the House by a Republican Representative and face pretty much no Republican opposition neither does most of the other copyright lunacy.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733364)

Oh bullshit. They want to get paid for their content. They don't want their content on the internet if it is not being paid for. If you have any evidence to the contrary, please present it.

"They want to get paid for their content" (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733976)

They want to get paid for their content. .. If you have any evidence to the contrary, please present it.

They use DRM.

That is, they have decided to create a situation where pirated content (the stuff they don't get paid for) is worth a lot more: easier to use, more reliable, more functional, and interoperable with more devices than their own for-sale content. And they are entirely in control of this; it's a decision, not a accident of fate or luck.

If you offer them money in exchange for hassle-free content, they say NO.

If they wanted to get paid, they would offer what pirates offer, except in exchange for money. Pirates have already done the research and proved that people want it. Moving to a for-profit model would be a move completely free of risk and R&D.

If someone says No to money, and continues to voluntarily create conditions which punish people who stubbornly pay them, and benefit those who give up on the hassles of doing business with someone who doesn't want to do business, I think that is pretty strong evidence that they want to not be paid.

Interestingly, they are owned by companies that also produce hardware (e.g. Sony). I'm not saying they're not in business, just that they're not in the business of selling content.

Re:"They want to get paid for their content" (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734368)

How does use of DRM equate to 'kill off the entire internet'?

If have some scheme where you can 'do what the pirates do' and still get paid for your content, I am sure the studios would LOVE to hear about it. Actually, I am sure that the studios would be happy to do business with anyone who wants to run such an operation - just buy the copyright from the studio, then 'do what the pirates do'.

Re:What Hollyweird really wants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36734248)

What kind of moron modded this "troll"? This is exactly what Hollywood and MafiAA executives have been saying for years. They want to control things in such a way that users/consumers have zero rights at all.

Their ultimate model is one where everything is rented, nobody owns anything, and they can obsolete or "expire" your media at any time for any reason to force you to "buy" it again.

A little disingenuous (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732922)

"users seeking free copies of their movies" is being a little disingenuous. How many of the people who would download the movie off of hotfile actually own the DVD? I'd wager a vanishingly small percentage.

Re:A little disingenuous (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733006)

I think in this context "their movies" refers to the studios.

Comforting (1)

Palmsie (1550787) | more than 3 years ago | (#36732990)

Find comfort in knowing that while the copyright trolls continue their march into the bowels of the internet, other companies will have opportunities to succeed who take advantage of more creative business models (i.e. Hulu, Netfix) rather than force old models down the throats of customers. Those new models don't have to spend millions on lawyers and instead can spend that money on R&D and outpace and outprofit those older models. Essentially the damage has bee done, these companies are the new Borders to Amazon, or Best Buy to NewEgg. They won't win, even if they win this battle.

Re:Comforting (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733326)

Protip: Hulu is owned by major media companies. People who make up the very same people you call copyright trolls.

Re:Comforting (2)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#36733394)

WTF are you talking about? The 'new model' which you refer to is: Netflix pays studio for right to stream content. When they don't agree on a price, Netflix does not stream the content. Without the studios and their content there is no Netflix.

Re:Comforting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36738586)

or Best Buy to NewEgg.

Huh? Best Buy pulls in 25 times more revenue and nearly 50 times the net income of Newegg. Best Buy also opened hundreds of new stores last year. Newegg is microscopic in comparison to Best Buy and has significantly smaller growth.

Why fight it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733210)

Did they not listen to the point of the website? Upload shit. If it's popular, get paid.

...

Upload the same fucking movies that these users upload, and in higher quality. Get paid.

Car analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36733370)

Cars can be used to kill people, let's ban cars.

DMCA (2)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 3 years ago | (#36734204)

Isn't the DMCA supposed to protect such services against these kinds of lawsuits? So long as the operators of these websites respond to DMCA takedown requests on a timely manner, they really should not be held responsible for their users' actions. To make the operators of these services liable for their users' actions would no doubt harm those who seek to use them for legitimate purposes such as distributing their own original content.

DMCA for the big guys, nothing for the little guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36736346)

The DMCA is SUPPOSED to protect services like Hotfile but really its just a tool for the big guys (like Youtube) to use to create a mask of legitimacy and no one else.

Really, this is nothing more than the same legal argument Hollywood tried to use against Youtube a few years back.

Hollywood: "Your users are posting our content without permission!"
Youtube:"Well, find out what videos contain infringing content and we'll take it down."
Hollywood: "That requires too much effort, you do it!"
Youtube: "Wtf? No! The law says its your burden."
Hollywood: "Fine! I'll see you in court!"
Youtube: "?!"

Re:DMCA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36738014)

define timely manner. with content re-uploaded within hours, and done so anonymously, the ability to get a single link removed after 48 hours is useless in terms of protecting content producers.
The DMCA needs to be stronger, to punish sites that knowingly and constantly allow peristant uploaders of copyrighted content.

Responsible? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36743644)

A federal judge in Miami has dismissed direct copyright infringement charges against Hotfile, a popular online "locker" service that the major Hollywood studios allege is responsible for massive copyright infringement.

I love studio thinking here: Sure, Hotfile is responsible for copyright infringement just as Stanley Tools is responsible for murder every time one of their hammers is used to kill someone. There's a difference between enabling a crime and being responsible for it. Mind you, Hotfile is paying its users to upload files to be shared, so they aren't helping themselves or anyone else wanting to store their media online.

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?