$80 million and Hotfile shuts down

Hotfile shuts down after settling with MPAA for $80 million:

Hotfile shuts down after settling with MPAA for $80 million

Hotfile shuts down after settling with MPAA for $80 million

MPAA action has resulted in yet another major file-sharing site closing down. Visit Hotfile.com today, and you’ll see the above notice. It’s the result of a massive settlement with the MPAA, who were set to do battle with Hotfile in court next week. Under the terms of the settlement, Hotfile has agreed to pay damages amounting to $80 million.

Unlike some of the larger sites the MPAA and RIAA have gone after, Hotfile didn’t exactly have a stellar track record when it came to copyright takedowns. Prosecutors claimed that more than 10 million requests had been sent to Hotfile before the lawsuit was filed (back in 2011) and that only 43 user accounts had been terminated as a result. That’s not the kind of vigilance that keeps the Copyright monopoly off your back.

Hotfile also made things worse by offering what amounted to a cash incentive system for uploaders, who in turn responded by making copywritten content a substantial 10% of Hotfile’s total holdings. Hotfile did eventually put a copyright filtering mechanism in place, though not until well after the lawsuit had been filed. Clearly it turned out to be too little, too late to satisfy the MPAA.

Presiding Judge Kathleen Williams had already ruled that Hotfile wasn’t eligible for DMCA Safe Harbor protection, so net week’s trial would have been focused on sorting out the total bill for damages. Now that a settlement has been reached, all that remains to be seen is how much of the $80 million the MPAA will actually be able to collect from Hotfile.

That, and how much money actually makes it back to the supporting cast of folks who produced the content in question. After the lawyers and MPAA take their cut, there likely won’t be a whole lot left. But hey, a win against piracy is still a win — at least that’s what the MPAA always says.

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