Did Warner Bros Abuse The Law With Their DMCA Takedowns?

The MPAA scored a major victory back in August when a judge ruled that popular file host Hotfile was liable for copyright infringement by storing thousands of copyrighted movies and television shows. Much back patting and hand shaking was had, but Hotfile wasn’t going down without a fight.

At the time of the lawsuit, Hotfile filed a counterclaim alleging that Warner Bros. misrepresented many of their DMCA requests. A claim that, much to the chagrin of Warner, will now be decided in front of a jury.

According to Torrent Freak, Hotfile notified Warner of their false claims to little result:

The file-hoster alleged that after giving Warner access to its systems the studio wrongfully took down hundreds of files including demos and Open Source software without holding the copyrights to them. The takedowns continued even after the movie studio was repeatedly notified about the false claims.

While Warner later admitted the accusations, the movie studio argue that they are not to blame because the mistakes were made by a computer, not a person. As a result, the false takedown request were not “deliberate lies.”

Warner even admitted that some of the false take-downs were intentional, having employees remove open source software that would increased speed to illegal downloads.

To combat the charges, Warner Bros. is attempting to have several of Hotfile’s claims excluded from the motion, including a perjury claim and evidence Hotfile collected on the movie studios’ anti-piracy system.

“There is a substantial risk that the jury will see evidence of Warner’s efforts to investigate the claims in Hotfile’s lawsuit and correct any sources of errors as evidence that Warner ‘knew’ about potential inaccuracies in its system at the relevant times, and improperly attribute such knowledge to Warner months earlier.”

“Because Hotfile has selectively cherry-picked the instances in which Warner located and corrected errors as part of its August 2011 audit, there is further risk that the jury will misread the evidence as ‘proving’ that Warner’s system was error-prone and seek to punish Warner for it,” (via)

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in court when the trial begins later this month. If Hotfile manages to win, it could change anti-piracy tactics by major studios and provide a minor, but important victory to those who oppose copyright laws.

Via gettyimages

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