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Saturday, March 10, 2012

Warner Bros. vs Hotfile

Hotfile, one of the largest players in the field of file-sharing, is currently risking to follow the fate of MegaUpload if the Motion Picture Association of America wins the lawsuit that has been started last year.

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Unlike MegaUpload’s founder Kim Dotcom, who is living in New Zealand, thus making it difficult for American authorities to reach him, Hotfile’s head Anton Titov, is residing in Florida. So, while Dotcom is barricading himself inside his house, Mr. Titov decided to fight back and claimed that Warner Bros. is abusing its anti-piracy instruments.

The matter is that the film studio has sent over a million of notices to the cyberlocker since 2009, but at the same time made the takedown system unavailable after the file-sharing service accused Warner Bros. of abusing their anti-piracy instrument. In response, the movie studio filed a motion last week to have the company’s accusations dismissed. The statements of both sides reveal new details about anti-piracy efforts, and how they both reacted after being involved in the case.

Warner pointed out that Hotfile’s methods don’t allow rights holders to search the site for infringed content, so the studio had to invest a lot of time, money and manpower to find out other services linking to the cyberlocker. In order to explain how big this operation is, Warner Bros. reveal that the company has sent a million notices to the file-sharing service since 2009.

In response, Hotfile claimed that the movie studio had sent takedown notices on materials that they didn’t even own, and this fact was admitted by Warner which said that errors sometimes occur, but that they shouldn’t be relevant in this case. In its turn, the movie studio claimed that Hotfile’s counterclaims should be disregarded for a number of reasons. It also pointed to deposition testimony by Anton Titov, where he admits that errors can also occur during the take-down process. Finally, he acknowledged that the hosting website reacted to the take-down orders only after the Motion Picture Association of America launched this lawsuit. Titov stated that the service has never benefited from having pirates on board, and argued that he isn’t aware of any user who made a complaint on movie studio’s faulty notices.

Of course, MegaUpload’s demise was a hard hit for the entire file-sharing community, but if Hotfile follows its fate, the industry may witness a battle of epic proportions…

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