Major setback for Hotfile, as the court grants the MPAA permission to, in the words of Hotfile's defence, "murder" the file hosting company
Hotfile's worst fears have been confirmed as the MPAA's lawsuit against the file hosting company took a nasty, and privacy invading, turn this week.
Back in June, the MPAA requested any and all information that Hotfile holds, including the IP addresses of all uploaders and downloaders. It also requested financial information for the top 500 affiliates (Hotfile pays commission to those that upload popular content), as well as the company's entire financial records.Hotfile described this as "murder by litigation", and this week, the judge gave permission for the MPAA the rights to "murder" Hotfile by granting all of the movie industry lobby's requests.
The judge's ruled that even though there are serious privacy concerns in relation to disclosing all IP addresses of uploaders and downloaders, even those that uploaded and downloaded legal content, or content that does not belong to the MPAA studios, this request was granted to allow the MPAA to perform "statistical analysis" to show "that most of the content uploaded and downloaded on hotfile.com infringes some copyright or another", Judge Jordan wrote in his decision. The good news for users it that the MPAA will allow Hotfile to mask the last digits of the IP address, as they only require enough information to work out the country of origin for the address, and so this suggests the MPAA is unlikely to take on individual uploaders and downloaders in a mass copyright suit.
But the MPAA is requesting detailed information on top affiliates, and may plan to add them to the suit, or ask them to provide evidence for the allegation that Hotfile actively promotes piracy by encouraging affiliates to upload copyrighted content.
As for the company's full financial records, Judge Jordan ruled the information "relevant" in helping to establish Hotfile, and it's Russian owner Anton Titov's financial motives.
Hotfile now has until September 12 to hand over all the requested information.