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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Google Will Protect File-Sharers

After Hotfile was accused of promoting piracy, Google was quick to intervene and protect the file-hosting service from the entertainment industry.

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Last month the search giant filed a brief at Florida’s federal court, speaking for cyberlocker. The Motion Picture Association of America claims that Hotfile is a harbor for online pirates and their infringing content. In their attempt to prevent piracy, creative industry is interfering with Internet companies and their interests, creating problems instead of solving them.

Last year the SOPA law started a never before seen reaction from online companies and users. Such giants as Google, Yahoo, and Facebook to name a few have started a campaign to speak-out against the copyright legislation, eventually forcing authorities and politicians to shelf the bill. Despite the fact that these Internet companies aren’t pro-piracy, they still want to defend freedom of expression on the Internet.

In attempt to protect Hotfile, Google invokes the DMCA, which has been providing safe harbor for sites like YouTube, Wikipedia and Facebook since 1998. In the brief the search giant stated that safe harbors had helped facilitate the development of the web as a platform allowing for free expression, creativity, and economic opportunity, and it remains as such.

However, the movie industry emphasizes the fact that Hotfile’s success proves the service facilitated piracy. Indeed, in less than 2 years, the cyberlocker has entered the top 100 most popular websites around the globe, which might be a result of the massive digital theft.

Nevertheless, the movie studios aren’t as innocent as they want everyone to believe. Industry observers point out that the creative industry has been promoting piracy themselves (passively, at the very least) with the practice of “windowing”, overwhelming people with their massive production. When combined with poor marketing and the unwillingness to adjust the prices to the economy of poor countries, this leaves the viewer with only two options: either wait for the release of the movie or pirate it.

Google seems to understand that while Internet piracy remains a huge problem for the creative industry, the web still fights for its survival in the environment that was supposed to be free and fun to be part of.

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