MPAA: Court Says Hotfile Must Protect Copyrighted Content or Shut Down

According to the Motion Picture Association of America, a Florida U.S. District Court has ordered Cyberlocker Hotfile to shut down unless it starts using copyright filtering technology to prevent illegal trafficking in copyrighted content, including TV shows and movies, by its users.

The court also ordered the company to pay $80 million in damages.

The court in August ruled that Hotfile was liable for copyright infringement and had no safe harbor defense under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. 

MPAA had alleged that the site paid users to upload files containing illegal copies of TV shows and motion pictures to its servers, making it liable for contributing to the theft. Hotfile argued it was simply a storage service. MPAA says it was the first time a court had weighed in on whether cyberlockers could be held liable for infringement by users.

“This judgment by the court is another important step toward protecting an Internet that works for everyone,” said Senator Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.  “Sites like Hotfile that illegally profit off of the creativity and hard work of others do a serious disservice to audiences, who deserve high-quality, legitimate viewing experiences online.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.