Yesterday, it was announced the the cyberlocker service Hotfile had reached a settlement with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and would pay $80 million to the organization in damages for copyright infringement.
The service had previously claimed that it was protected from liability due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). However, the judge had previously found that Hotfile had lost its protections under the law due to the fact it lacked an adequate policy for terminating repeat infringers. This put the case on course for a trial on damages alone, which was to start Monday, but has been avoided by the settlement.
The judge in the case also ordered Hotfile that, if it wishes to remain open, it has to use “digital fingerprinting” to filter out infringing works. However, Hotfile, either unable or unwilling to comply with that request, has decided to shut down its site, effective immediately.
Hotfile’s closure is easily the biggest case of a cyberlocker being forced offline through legal action since Megaupload in January 2012. However, with nearly two years passed since Megaupload’s shuttering, the Web, especially for illegal downloads, is already a very different place.
So what impact will the closure of Hotfile have on piracy? It certainly won’t cause the shell shock that the Megaupload raids did, but it will likely cause some changes in by cyberlocker sites and the ways people use them.Continue Reading