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Court Rules Against Piracy Website Hotfile

28 Aug, 2013 By: Erik Gruenwedel

A U.S. District Court in Southern Florida Aug. 28 ruled that piracy website Hotfile.com violated studio copyrights, and that the site’s chief executive, Anton Titov, was personally liable for infringement.

The decision reportedly marked the first time a digital locker service was deemed to be violating content copyrights by incentivizing users to upload movies and TV shows that could be then downloaded to third parties.

Titov and Hotfile argued they were protected under provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Major studios Disney, Fox, Universal, Sony Pictures and Warner in a March 2012 filing sought summary judgment against Hotfile and its owner, aiming to shut down a second major file-sharing site this year. Megaupload was shuttered in January 2012.

The Motion Picture Association of America hailed the ruling as another win for content holders and studios.

“We applaud the court for recognizing that Hotfile was not simply a storage locker, but an entire business model built on mass distribution of stolen content,'' MPAA CEO Chris Dodd said in a statement. "Today’s decision is a victory for all of the men and women who work hard to create our favorite movies and TV shows, and it’s a victory for audiences who deserve to feel confident that the content they’re watching online is high quality, legitimate and secure.”

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