US court finds file-hosting service Hotfile infringed copyright, says MPAA

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

A U.S. federal court has found file-hosting website Hotfile liable for copyright infringement, according to movie industry body Motion Picture Association of America.

The US District Court for the Southern District of Florida also held that Hotfile's principal, Anton Titov, was personally liable for Hotfile's infringement, MPAA said in an emailed statement Wednesday.

"This case marked the first time that a US court has ruled on whether so-called cyberlockers like Hotfile can be held liable for their infringing business practices," it added.

The order was marked on online court records as "restricted/sealed until further notice." The opinion will be made public by the court in about two weeks, after confidential and proprietary information has been redacted, MPAA said.

Five U.S. movie studios filed a copyright infringement suit against Hotfile in 2011, alleging that the company paid incentives to those who uploaded popular files to the system, that were widely shared. Its affiliate program still offers payment "calculated based on a percentage of the total value of premium accounts purchased by users who download the affiliate's uploaded files."

The scheme gave incentives to users to upload popular copyright infringing content to lure users who would pay for premium accounts to access and download the files, according to the complaint by the studios. Hotfile offers downloads on a high-speed connection to holders of paid premium accounts, in contrast to slower download speeds and fewer downloads offered to free users.

"The more frequently the content is downloaded illegally, the more defendants pay the uploading user," the complaint said. Hotfile was also charged with paying websites that hosted and promoted links to infringing content on its servers.

The file-sharing site did not provide a searchable index of the files available for download from its website, and instead relied on "third-party pirate link sites" to host, organize and promote URL links to Hotfile-hosted infringing content, according to the complaint.

In a filing to the court in the civil suit, Hotfile said it is in full compliance with the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. "Hotfile and Mr. Titov run a legitimate business that fully complies with (and, indeed, embraces) the United States' copyright laws and the DMCA," it said. The terms of service and an intellectual property and rights policy published on its website explicitly prohibited copyright infringement, it added.

The website said it removes access when notified about files that allegedly infringe copyright, and has provided copyright holders, including the five studios, the "unfettered ability to remove access to files by directly commanding Hotfile's servers through special rightsholder accounts."

Hotfile in Panama could not be immediately reached for comment.

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

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesintellectual propertycopyrightlegalHotfileMotion Picture Association of Americainternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Crucial® BX200 SATA 2.5” 7mm (with 9.5mm adapter) Internal Solid State Drive

Learn more >

D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Gigabit Network Kit

Learn more >

D-Link TAIPAN AC3200 Ultra Wi-Fi Modem Router (DSL-4320L)

Learn more >

ASUS ROG Swift PG279Q – Reign beyond virtual world

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >


Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

ASUS VivoPC VM62 - Incredibly Powerful, Unbelievably Small

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Lexar Professional 2000x SDHC™/SDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Best Deals on Good Gear Guide

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?