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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Creative Industry Targeted Hotfile

File-sharing hunting seems to be announced open. Encouraged by their recent victory against MegaUpload service, the creative industry is currently seeking to take down another cyberlocker – Hotfile.


A few days ago a lawsuit was filed against the file-sharing site that is accused by a number of the movie studios, including Disney, Fox, Universal, Sony Pictures and Warner, of copyright violation on a large scale.

The studios complain that 90% of the files distributed through the service were infringing copyright, and almost all users of the cyberlocker downloaded and uploaded unauthorized content. Moreover, Hotfile was accused of having “the temerity” to pay its users for uploading illegal content.

Of course, the Motion Picture Association of America was there quick enough to back up the allegations, insisting that this file-sharing service was a “haven” for pirates and should be closed immediately. They point out that the owner of Hotfile admitted they created the service to compete with MegaUpload.

In response, Hotfile claimed that it had a policy to remove illegal files upon copyright holder’s request. They use the same filtering system as YouTube, which blocks both the viewing and listening of copyright protected material. Hotfile’s service used fingerprinting technology to block the uploading of the content identified as illegal. Moreover, the website has recently upgraded its fingerprint technology to vCloud9.

Meanwhile, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, fighting to protect people’s freedoms in the Internet, said that Warner was deliberately using an unreliable technique to send takedown warnings to potential infringers. The outfit points out that while rights holders are granted by Congress the right to protect their creative works by copyright legislation, lawful copyright users are also granted the right to protect themselves against rights holders acting in bad faith and abuse of takedown notices. The EFF says that any company could sidestep accountability for improper takedowns by just outsourcing the process to a machine. Moreover, rights holders would have a perverse incentive to dumb-down this process, switching from human review to the computer one, so as to avoid the chance of any form of subjective belief. The result for the lawful uses is clear: all legal videos would be deleted, regardless of whether the uses were fair or licensed.

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