The Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) case against file host Hotfile has had an important update, and it's both good news, and bad news, for Hotfile.
The good news for the "digital locker" website is that the judge in the case has thrown out the "Direct Copyright Infringement" claim of the MPAA's lawsuit, ruling that it is Hotfile's users that do are the infringers, not Hotfile. Hotfile has always claimed they're only operating as a service provider, and if any infringing material is uploaded, it is done so by end users, without the company's specific authorization. Hotfile claims that because they don't operate a search service for the uploaded files on their website, they're not actively allowing people to find files without being informed by the original uploader, or via a third party tool. The MPAA contends that Hotfile knowingly relies upon pirates to maintain indexes or pirated files hosted on Hotfile.
The bad news is that the judge decided that the MPAA's claim of "Secondary Copyright Infringement" will go ahead to a trial. The MPAA claims that Hotfile both induced its users to commit copyright infringement, and profited from it. Hotfile operates an affiliate program in which uploaders of the most popular files receive monetary rewards. And as files uploaded by users are available publicly (as long as the URL is known), this kind of mass, public sharing, might make it very difficult for Hotfile to fight charges and they are not guilty of secondary copyright infringement.
The case continues.
How do you think this case will play out? An easy MPAA win, or will Hotfile succesfully defend themselves? Post your answer in this news article's comments section, or in this forum thread: