Google Takes a Stand in MPAA Lawsuit Against HotfilePosted by William on Mar 27, 2012 in Art, Business Litigation, Business Transactions, Commercial Litigation, Commercial Transactions, Copyright, Entertainment, Film, Intellectual Property, Music, News, Television | 0 comments
The Motion Picture Association of America has filed a summary judgment motion in its lawsuit against Hotfile,which could allow the court to decide fairly soon whether or not Hotfile will be held liable for encouraging and facilitating copyright infringement.
Many consumers may be unfamiliar with the Hotfile website and more familiar with past websites like Napster and Limewire. Similar to Napster and Limewire, Hotfile is a website that serves as a download hub where users are encouraged to upload files to Hotfile’s servers. Hotfile does not have a search function on its website. Instead, it encourages users to post Hotfile download links on other websites and has also paid referral fees to websites that refer its users to Hotfile.
Google is not a plaintiff or defendant in this lawsuit, but the media giant has stuck its foot in the door and insisted that the court allow it to file an amicus brief so that it may add its two cents to the discussion and, most importantly and most likely, to persuade the court to adopt Google’s interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”).
Google insists that the DMCA puts the burden on copyright owners to police for potential copyright infringement. As a result, Google insists that websites like Hotfile should only face potential liability for copyright infringement, i.e., lose safe harbor from copyright claims, only if they are provided knowledge of specific infringing material and then fail to do something about it expeditiously.
Google is, in effect, trying to persuade the court to set precedent to make it harder to hold websites like Hotfile liable for copyright infringement. Many copyright holders who oppose Google’s interpretation of the DMCA argue that websites like Hotfile should become liable for copyright infringement when they see red flags or are otherwise aware of facts or circumstances that make it apparent someone’s copyright in a work is being infringed.
Whether or not the Court will accept Google’s interpretation of the DMCA or even consider Google’s amicus brief has yet to be decided, but what is apparent is that Google and other large players in America’s media industry are taking a second look at copyrights and the discussion will likely become more heated in the coming months.