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The Courts Piracy

Hotfile Settles With MPAA, Drops Countersuit Against Warner Bros 88

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the some-heads-are-gonna-roll dept.
After winning the right to use the term perjury in regards to Warner Bros abuse of the DMCA takedown procedure, and successfully blocking the MPAA from using the term "piracy" at their trial, Hotfile settled out of court with the MPAA today (mere days before the trial was scheduled to begin). As part of the deal, they are dropping their countersuit against Warner Bros, paying $80 million, and halting all operations immediately. The Hotfile website has been replaced by an MPAA message. From Torrent Freak: "The settlement deal was rubber stamped by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, ... The MPAA is happy with the outcome which it says will help to protect the rights of copyright holders on the Internet. 'This judgment by the court is another important step toward protecting an Internet that works for everyone,' MPAA boss Chris Dodd says."
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Hotfile Settles With MPAA, Drops Countersuit Against Warner Bros

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  • by jeffb (2.718) (1189693) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:08PM (#45596749)

    So, after winning the right to use an incendiary term in trial, and blocking their opponents from using another incendiary term, Hotfile... rolled over?

  • "Everyone" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:15PM (#45596861)

    Of course, by "everyone" he means the only people that count... rich people.

    • Of course, by "everyone" he means the only people that count... rich people.

      Not even. Only a small segment of rich people. Their only joy is getting richer than the guys in the other business segments, like Hollywood verses Big Oil.

    • Re:"Everyone" (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rnturn (11092) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:55PM (#45597435)

      Yep... Dodd also has a different definition of "works" than a lot of people would find to be appropriate. His definition appears to refer to "a mechanism that closes off content until rich folks' palms are greased with enough silver". When he says "works" he's not saying that it does anything for content creators after their initial legal contact with publishers.

  • surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot AT hackish DOT org> on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:15PM (#45596867)

    The most surprising thing to me here is that Hotfile was profitable enough to have $80 million.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Copyright will only work for everyone if the term is dropped to 7 years and no extensions.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Seven years? Kid, seven years is nothing. How old are you, fourteen? I just published Nobots [mcgrewbooks.com] last month, have been working on it since 2009. I'd have a two year copyright.

      The Paxil Diaries aren't even in print yet but the copyright would have expired.

      Asimov's Foundation trilogy was out for ten years before Asimov made a dime from it.

      The present copyright term is way too long and harms creativity and culture, but your length is equally ridiculous. Make it twenty years, same as patents.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Make it zero years, and do the same with patents. You can have your government-imposed monopolies in hell. Copyright (and patents) are anti-free market, anti-private property, and copyright often utilizes censorship to try to stop websites from hosting copyrighted materials. Truly a disgusting concept.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Seven years? Kid, seven years is nothing. I just published Nobots [mcgrewbooks.com] last month, have been working on it since 2009. I'd have a two year copyright.

        And did you spend those 4 years working on this book because of a personal passion for the subject or was it solely based on financial motivation? If your concern is some arbitrary ROE then you're not a writer I'd bother to read, and would suggest if you can't earn a living from a product in 7 years you're just too damn slow for the realities of the world today. Certainly artists and writers should be able to earn a living from their creative works, but the current state of copyright is the public domain on

      • And not when you first started working on something?

        If so, then your argument makes no sense.

        > Seven years? Kid, seven years is nothing. How old are you, fourteen? I just published Nobots [mcgrewbooks.com] last month, have been working on it since 2009. I'd have a two year copyright.

        No, you would have 6 years and 11 months left.

        • Copyright in the US starts at the moment of creation. I don't know if this is further defined anywhere. At the very least it means when a work is first completed. Publication is irrelevant.
        • Current copyright in the US exists from the time of creation but the 70 year expiry period does not start until the author dies, which clearly has nothing to do with either publication or creation dates. The assumed death of the author and periods for works-for-hire do not kick in until 95 years after publication or 125 years after creation, whichever occurs first. Publish something in your twenties and the world can expect it to be locked away for at least the next 125 years.

          It seems reasonable to assum

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          I published the first draft at slashdot as I wrote it. Hadron Destroyers [slashdot.org] was published on slashdot on Dec 2, 2009. And as I don't have a huge marketing budget it will take some time for people to discover it, if they ever do. Click my home page link to read the finished version.

          And four from seven is three. I released the book November this year, Dec 2 is four years.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:26PM (#45597053)

    Quoting from the MPAA message now on hotfile.com:
    "If you are looking for your favorite movies or TV shows online, there are more ways than ever today to get high quality access to them on legal platforms."

    How about a list of those numerous platforms? How about a link to an MPAA sponsored page of links to these various legal platforms?

    Yes, they are out there, but why the hell wouldn't they promote them?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:40PM (#45597245)

      Moreover, how about list such platforms usable in places other the US.

    • So where can I get a copy of all the episodes of Robert Morse's wonderul show "That's Life"?

      • >So where can I get a copy of all the episodes of Robert Morse's wonderul show "That's Life"?

        Or Esther Rantzen's

    • by mythosaz (572040)

      How about a link to an MPAA sponsored page of links to these various legal platforms?

      To which ones? What vendor do you pimp over another vendor? Who does Google sue when you put up the iTunes link? Who does Apple sue when their link is buried halfway down the page? How many people refresh the page and then sue because the sorting algorithm wasn't random enough (like choosing a default IE search provider)? How many of the links does Comcast block or throttle because they are or aren't getting a share of HBO GO or ESPN on Demand?

      "Please consider legal alternatives" is fine -- in the bigg

    • by noldrin (635339) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @03:42PM (#45599149)
      Unfortunately there is a ton of content locked up copyright holders with no legal way to view or access it, whether for entertainment or study. Much of it is decades old and some of it is culturally significant.
    • by Nyder (754090)

      Quoting from the MPAA message now on hotfile.com:
      "If you are looking for your favorite movies or TV shows online, there are more ways than ever today to get high quality access to them on legal platforms."

      How about a list of those numerous platforms? How about a link to an MPAA sponsored page of links to these various legal platforms?

      Yes, they are out there, but why the hell wouldn't they promote them?

      Because they know people will go back to thepiratebay to get their stuff. Or one of the other many file lockers. MPAA only has a PR victory here.

    • This is the MPAA, they will not do anything unless someone is paying them to do it. What do you think the MPAA's per-click charge would be? Seriously though, the message is probably court approved and cannot be seen to be commercially preferential to non-parties in the action.

  • Whoah there! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pla (258480) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:33PM (#45597141) Journal
    "Perjury" doesn't mean they called Hotfile's CEO mean things and ate the last cupcake. It means Warner Brothers committed a fucking crime. Hotfile can settle all it wants, that doesn't make WB's actions any less of a crime.

    So, anyone taking bets on the temperature of Hell when we see formal charges filed here?
    • Re:Whoah there! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:38PM (#45597205)

      Perjury isn't a crime if a big corporation does it. Just like if you infringe copyright then you're an evil, artist killing individual. If a corporation steals your copyrighted image/photo/etc and uses it for their own purposes, at most they just need to say "oops" and toss some token payment your way. Corporations are people and all people are created equal, but some people are more equal than others.

      • by ihtoit (3393327)

        there's this thing in English law, I don't know about the US code, that specifies for every civil or criminal offence, a section entitled "Offence by Bodies Corporate", in which the Director of a company is legally responsible - whether he is aware of the act or not* - for every single thing that occurs on his watch.

        *caveat: ignorance is not a defence. - seven hundred year old maxim of English case law

        There is, of course, an exception to this rule: Section 71 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 20

    • Re:Whoah there! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:53PM (#45597411)

      I've had people commit perjury against me in court. Judge didn't do shit. I was able to prove that they had forged a "sworn testimony" against me from a 3rd party by showing that the dates that it was dated outside the scope of when that 3rd party would have had any dealings or knowledge about the case. All the judge did was dismiss that single piece of evidence. You can get away with perjury all you want because judges don't care (they're used to being lied to) and juries will almost NEVER convict someone of perjury -- so good luck getting a DA to prosecute. There is no real defense for an honest man in court against a dishonest man.

      • by DrJimbo (594231)

        You can get away with perjury all you want because judges don't care [...]

        That is only because you are an individual and not a corporation. We live in a feudal society where individuals are serfs and corporations are the lords and masters. The purpose of the courts now is to protect corporations from individuals. Crimes against serfs are usually not considered significant but if an uppity serf rebels against a corporation then there is hell to pay.

  • You forgot to mention that Chris Dodd is a disgraced former senator. Why the MPAA would want to associate with a scumbag of that caliber is anyone's guess.
    • He must've done nice things for the movie studios while he was in office. Giving him a nice cushy job after he's out is how they repay their lapdogs.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Disgraced or not, he still retains access to his former Senate colleagues. And by "hiring" him, MPAA gets more lobbyist results than they would get from hiring a K street firm or funding a PAC (although they do that as well). When something the MPAA is interested in comes up, by virtue of his position, they get a head start in influencing the results leaving everyone else to react. This also allows for the possibility of "stealth lobbying", where he can lobby his former Senate Colleagues, and (hopefully

    • Why the MPAA would want to associate with a scumbag of that caliber is anyone's guess.

      That's his perfect qualification for the job, of course.

  • Jurisdiction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:54PM (#45597421) Homepage

    How does a US federal court gain jurisdiction over a company located in Panama?

    A ruling prior to this settlement held that Hotfile could be subject to vicarious liability for failing to comply with the DMCA (they allegedly ignored a bunch of DMCA takedown requests and failed to shut down a bunch of accounts despite repeat infringements), but the DMCA is US law, not Panama law. Unless copyright is somehow a special case (due to, say, international agreements), I fail to see why Hotfile should be subject to US copyright law anymore than US companies should be subject to Chinese or Iranian censorship laws.

    What gives?

    • by shentino (1139071)

      In the US, the government bends over for business.

      In China, business bends over for the government.

    • >What gives?

      Where have you been? There's this new law of the world called Intellectual Property which,... wait wait I'll explain it in peasant terms

      "Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!"

      See it all makes sense now

    • by X0563511 (793323)

      (due to, say, international agreements)

      That, exactly, is what gives.

      • [International agreements], exactly, is what gives.

        OK, but aren't such agreements usually limited to those specific terms which signatories agree to incorporate into local law?

        Do these agreements instead create a situation where US copyright holders can sue in the United States without regard to what the law says in the defendant's place of residence?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 04, 2013 @01:55PM (#45597427)

    The MPAA message says that a federal court found Hotfile liable. The court didn't find anything because the parties settled before trial began. It seems a little disingenuous, but perfectly within the normal bounds of the MPAA playbook, to blatantly lie like that.

  • This really sucks for the Android modding community, as these type of file hosting sites were really popular for sharing ROMs. What really surprises me is that there actually were enough fucktards sharing Hollywood shit through file hosting sites that the MPAA took notice. I thought anyone with half a brain used torrent sites (like piratebay) for movies/tv shows. Hotfile seemed more or less for sharing legitimate files. If they can be intimidated into shutting down, can Mediafire and Dropbox be far behi

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