As one of the ten largest file-sharing sites on the Internet, Hotfile has become a prime target for Hollywood.
“Hotfile is responsible for billions of infringing downloads of copyrighted works, including plaintiffs’ valuable motion picture and television properties. As with other adjudicated pirate services that came before it, from Napster and Grokster to Isohunt and Limewire, Hotfile exists to profit from copyright infringement,” they write.
“More than 90% of the files downloaded from Hotfile are copyright infringing, and nearly every Hotfile user is engaged in copyright infringement.”
The latter statistic comes from research conducted by University of Pennsylvania professor Richard Waterman on behalf of the movie studios. Waterman concluded that 90.2% of all daily downloads on Hotfile are infringing, opposed to 5.3% that are clearly non-infringing.
Aside from pointing out the massive infringement on Hotfile, the crux of the case is whether the file-hoster is protected under the DMCA’s safe-harbor provision. According to the MPAA this is not the case.
Among other things, the studios point out that Hotfile previously failed to disconnect repeat infringers and that Hotfile employees actively induced copyright infringement. Not meeting these requirements means they have no right to safe-harbor protection.
The MPAA’s motion is supported by a slew of exhibits ranging from internal emails where Hotfile staff assist users with downloading infringing files, to forum discussions about the affiliate program, and testimonies from anti-piracy chiefs at the movie studios.
While there can be no doubt that some users of The Pirate Bay are indeed engaging in copyright infringement, for others the site is their gateway to the world, the mechanism by which their own work can be distributed – for free – to the masses.