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Hotfile Lawsuit: Warner Removed Content It Didn't Own, Including Open Source Software

Posted by: , 17:55 AEDT, Thu November 10, 2011

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Warner Bros. admit to wrongly removing files from Hotfile that it did not hold copyright to, and to removing an open source software also hosted by the file hosting website

Answering Hotfile's allegations that when Warner Bros. was provided with an anti-piracy tool to remove infringing content from the file sharing website, the studio removed files that it did not hold copyrights to, Warner has owned up to accidental and deliberate unauthorized removals of files.

Warner Bros. and other major studios as part of the MPAA sued file host Hotfile for copyright infringement, alleging the company promoted illegal file sharing, but Hotfile filed back a counter-lawsuit claiming WB abused the DMCA-friendly anti-piracy tool that Hotfile has given WB access to, including the removal of open source software without the knowledge of its owner.

But Warner has come clean that, yes, they did remove files that they did not hold copyright on, simply because their automatic detection filter was set too broadly, and included files that simply shared part of the name of the offending content. For example, when trying to remove content for the film "The Box", the WB filter also had the title "The Box that Saved Britain" removed.

But more serious was the allegation that Warner Bros. had removed an open source software simply because it was one of the most popular downloads on Hotfile. WB was candid in its response, saying that one of their employees did remove the software, but did it on justification that the software in question helped to speed up downloads, and therefore, the piracy process.

Despite admitting to DMCA abuses, Warner Bros. is defiant and is still asking the judge to dismiss the case, saying that most of the erroneously removed files were also infringing copies, even if they did not belong to the studio.


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