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Legal Expert: The Most Downloaded Files On Hotfile Are Open Source

Posted by: , 16:13 AEST, Sat April 14, 2012

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A report commissioned by Hotfile and written by a Duke University law professor shows that the most popular files on the website are in fact legal, open source files, and that Hotfile's affiliate program can help content creators
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A confidential report obtained by TorrentFreak shows that far from having very few non-infringing uses, some of the most popular downloads on Hotfile are for open source software.

The MPAA sued Hotfile for copyright infringement, and their own expert testified that 90% of all downloads on Hotfile are for infringing content. But Hotfile's own expert has testified to something rather different, and described the MPAA's report as "unreliable" and "unscientific". 

According to Hotfile's own commissioned report, by Duke University law professor James Boyle, the two most downloaded files on Hotfile are open source, custom firmware files, iREB and Sn0wbreeze. These two top downloads were in fact responsible for more than 880,000 and nearly 630,000 downloads. Professor Boyle also founds that Hotfile was widely used to distribute other legal content, including public domain eBooks, as well as creative common licensed indie movies.

And while the MPAA has been eager to point fingers at Hotfile's affiliate program, saying that it promotes piracy by rewarding the uploader of popular downloads, Professor Boyle has a different conclusion. Boyle says that the affiliate program actually helps content creators, such as the creators of iREB and Sn0wbreeze, by monetizing the free downloads. "This suggests that the Hotfile Affiliate program is capable of fulfilling the valuable function of compensating authors and distributors," Boyle says in his report.

And Boyle concludes by saying file hosting services such as Hotfile are providing a valuable service, to provide the ability to transfer large files where other traditional services, such as Gmail, fails. Something that's becoming more and more important as more content are being created and shared online. "The growth of distributed creative activity on the Internet suggests that the already important role for services such as Hotfile is likely to grow in the future," concluded Boyle.


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