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Hotfile ordered to pay damages, install copyright filtering, says MPAA

Hotfile was sued in 2011 by five studios for allegedly promoting and benefiting from copyright infringement

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File-hosting website Hotfile has agreed to pay US$80 million in damages and was also ordered to stop operations unless it uses copyright filtering technologies that prevent infringement of the works of studios, the Motion Picture Association of America said Tuesday.

The entry of the judgment against Hotfile marks the end of the studios' litigation against the cyberlocker and its principal, Anton Titov, the movie industry body said. The jury trial of the case was scheduled for Monday.

Five U.S. movie studios filed a copyright infringement suit against Hotfile in 2011, alleging that the company paid incentives to users for uploading popular files to the system, that were widely shared. The scheme hence provided incentives to users to upload popular copyright infringing content to attract users who would pay for premium accounts to access and download the files, according to the complaint by the studios.

The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida found in August that Hotfile was liable for copyright infringement, and Titov was personally liable for Hotfile's infringement.

Details of the Tuesday judgement were not immediately available on online court records.

In an earlier filing, Hotfile said it and Titov ran a business that was in compliance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other U.S. copyright laws. The website said it removes access when notified about files that allegedly infringe copyright and also has provided copyright holders, including the five studios, the ability to block infringing files on Hotfile's servers through "special rightsholder accounts."

Hotfile in Panama could not be immediately reached for comment. MPAA CEO Chris Dodd said in a statement that the judgment was another step "toward protecting an Internet that works for everyone."

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com



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