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Hotfile Ordered To Share User Data With The MPAA

In their ongoing battle with the MPAA, the Florida-based file-hosting service Hotfile has suffered a major loss. A federal court has ordered Hotfile to disclose user data, the identities and revenues of their top affiliates, and financial information on the company itself. District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan argued that the MPAA needs this info to prove that Hotfile is promoting and profiting from copyright infringement.

As one of the ten largest file-sharing sites on the Internet, the file-hosting service Hotfile has become a prime target for Hollywood.

Earlier this year, five member companies of the MPAA filed a lawsuit against Hotfile and ever since the parties have been battling in court.

A few months ago the movie studios requested a substantial amount of information from the file-hosting service, including IP addresses of uploaders and downloaders, and the identities and earnings of top affiliates. In addition the MPAA asked for the source code of the site.

Hotfile protested these requests, arguing that some of the information, including the financials, is confidential. Also, the company claimed that handing over user data and detailed information on its top affiliates,would breach privacy law.

District Court Judge Adalberto Jordan reviewed the arguments from both sides and detailed his decision in a recent order, which is mostly negative for Hotfile. Except for the site’s source code, Judge Jordan ordered that Hotfile has to hand over all data requested by the MPAA.

Source: TorrentFreak

Firstly this means that Hotfile has to disclose details on all files ever uploaded to Hotfile, including the title, number of downloads and the IP-addresses of the uploaders and downloaders.

Hotfile objected to this request because of privacy concerns, and the fact that it would include gathering data on millions of files that are not specific to the case. The judge, however, disagreed and sided with MPAA’s claim that the data is needed to do a proper statistical analysis on how much of Hotfile’s content is infringing.

“To prove this rampant infringement, the movie studios need to do a statistical analysis showing that most of the content uploaded and downloaded on hotfile.com infringes some copyright or another,” the judge writes.

In addition to all user data, Hotfile also has to handover detailed information on the site’s top 500 affiliates, including their identities and the payouts made to these persons or companies. In their request for the affiliate data the MPAA has described these persons as potential key-witnesses who could be used to gather further evidence on Hotfile’s operation.

Hotfile initially refused this request because it would be an unnecessary breach of privacy laws, but Judge Jordan concludes that they failed to show why this would be the case.

“Hotfile pays ‘affiliates’ when content that the affiliates uploaded is downloaded by others. The movie studios want information on the top 500 money-making affiliates. This information, the movie studios believe, may show that Hotfile and Mr. Titov profited from direct infringement or induced direct infringement. I agree,” the Judge writes.

The third request by the MPAA that Judge Jordan granted was that for the disclosure of the company’s financial information. Hotfile declined this request claiming that such information is confidential, but the judge concluded that despite the possible confidentiality the financial information is both relevant and necessary.

“Part of the movie studios’ case concerns Hotfile’s and Mr. Titov’s motives for allowing their users and affiliates to infringe copyright law. And Hotfile’s and Mr. Titov’s financial motivation may justify an inference of unlawful intent. Thus, the information is relevant,” the judge writes.

Hotfile has to hand over all the information above to the MPAA by September 12, and future filings will have to show how the MPAA plans to use this new intelligence.

For now, however, it doesn’t appear that the movie studios are going to use any of the user data to pursue legal action against individual uploaders or downloaders who are not affiliates. In previous court filings the MPAA stated that Hotfile could mask the last digits of users’ IP-addresses as long as they would be able to determine the country of the user.

The top affiliates on the other hand are more likely to be dragged into the lawsuit, as the MPAA noted that these persons or companies could be key witnesses. Whether this will indeed be the case has yet to be seen, but its safe to conclude that Hotfile and its top affiliates will be disappointed with the Judge’s decision.

Comments

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  1. FDKONLiNE
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:25

    DEAD MPAA

  2. Damon
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:27

    I love how they still keep up the pretense of a fair justice system. We all know that the MPAA and RIAA will always get what they want, lest the world becomes happy and everything is shared.

  3. deny_everything
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:30

    no comments yet..how many here mask their ip with proxy whilst dl, and what method of proxy discovery do you use if you do? i suppose this is a boost for torrents

  4. Top Files
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:31

    They will loose lots of users for sure

  5. Wow
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:33

    Wow way to be a douchenozzle MPAA

  6. Rocko
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:39

    I use hot file for a few months, and am from canada, what doe this meen for me…

  7. enermax
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:42

    I doubt they even have any users anymore

  8. ROTFL
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:44

    hotfile has users ?

  9. I wonder
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:48

    Rlslog and sites like it have seen very high traffic for years now.

    I wonder if any editors/top uploaders are among those top 500 affiliates?

  10. Joao Reis
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:54

    Just dont use this hotfile, its realy bad service, they turned to the dark side long before…really a shame.

  11. ssada
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:56

    Private trackers all the way baby, sites like hotfile need to be shut down all they care is to make money and in the end user data is handed over lol (this ain’t the first time this kinda thing is happening), priate trackers on the other hand only ask for donations to keep em alive.
    P.s public trackers can su*ck my balls

  12. @number6
    August 30th, 2011 | 15:59

    @ 6 Rocko

    Don’t worry it looks like thay are going after the top 500 affiliates (people who made money from sharing). The way Hotfile workes was the more users who downloaded a file you uploaded the more cash you recieved.

    So unless you were a heavy user I think you are safe…but honestly just “Keep Calm and Carry On”

  13. aushistoryx88
    August 30th, 2011 | 16:03

    NO RACISM PLEASE!

    Prich edit

  14. Rocko
    August 30th, 2011 | 16:10

    Thanks “numbers6, i hope you are right. You calmed me down a bit. I used it last year i think, before they got rid of the points system. This was the first thing I read this morning and was not good to see.

  15. Ape lover
    August 30th, 2011 | 16:20

    yeah, going after the d/l? And how the hell they will prove the downloader did know what he/she was downloading. :) idiots.

  16. 9inchnail
    August 30th, 2011 | 16:29

    @ape lover

    “And how the hell they will prove the downloader did know what he/she was downloading.”

    There are enough uploaders that don’t bother to rename files and just use the scene release names. Who are you going to tell that you didn’t know what you were downloading if the name clearly says what it is?

  17. Substrata
    August 30th, 2011 | 16:37

    Screw the MPAA… The likes of Hotfile and Rapidshare are bound to be fuked, seeing that they’re in USA (land of freedom uh?) and Europe.. Use Filesonic and Fileserve, based in HK so they don’t give a $hit about the MPAA.. W@nkers!

  18. Jew
    August 30th, 2011 | 16:39

    @aushistoryx88, the world will certainly be a better place without racists like you in it. There are Jews who support file sharing and freedom of information just like people of any other religion.

  19. stst
    August 30th, 2011 | 16:46

    never liked hotfile anyway, torrents and megaupload is where it’s at

  20. Robinhood801
    August 30th, 2011 | 16:57

    Its obvious that the MPAA has lined the judge’s pocket. That’s the American way anymore… All corrupt scumbags.
    I think it is time that the boys at “ANONYMOUS” needs to pay the MPAA a visit it and hit them with everything they have.

  21. vel
    August 30th, 2011 | 17:17

    hotfile links plx?

  22. blimey
    August 30th, 2011 | 17:18

    Have to wonder they these companies aren’t all offshore buy now?

  23. Oops
    August 30th, 2011 | 17:30

    Does this mean rlslog will stop linking to hotfile now?
    The next 2 posts have HF links – are these mistakes.

  24. Tom
    August 30th, 2011 | 17:49

    Hello World

    How wouldn’t sell everybody hoes life hang on a string between service for some Humans, he don’t knows, but the Ip`s to get out of the mess?

    You`ll know from History that you cant count on trusty rusty ;-)

    Stars that shine are from the past and never tells the writers claims about hes oh so wonderful trusted Name like largest file-sharing sites on the Internet?!?!?

    Take it easy if the time comes the Names are $ and if so move out the way….

    We pay for Files we like and for that we dont, we > move out of the way<

    Testing Software isn`t a crime – sell it "YES!"

    greets

    keep cool!

  25. OperationLog
    August 30th, 2011 | 18:18

    So they want all of the details, ip addresses of the top 500 money making uploaders and anyone who downloaded from them????

  26. Coral
    August 30th, 2011 | 18:41

    I hope a lorry load of paper arrives at MPAA offices, they won’t pay to manually process all that data.

  27. david davidson
    August 30th, 2011 | 18:49

    and THIS is why you never pay for filesharing

  28. asfas
    August 30th, 2011 | 18:50

    hotfile is dead, morons banned most of the users

  29. J
    August 30th, 2011 | 19:04

    A little confused by the article. It first states that HF has to turn over intel on the identities and revenues of their top affiliates, and financial information on the company itself. But then later, it sounds as if they’re also handing over detail on every file ever uploaded & the IPs of those who downloaded them… That’s a lot different than just info on the top affiliates… Can anyone clarify exactly what information got shared?

    @ssada (#11) I won’t dis private trackers, but… According to a recent report on Torrentfreak (the source for this article), sites like Hotfile, et al are actually generating more traffic than torrent sites are. So torrents may be slowly phasing out. Of course though, I think they only monitor public trackers, so maybe its just that people are fleeing public trackers in favor of either host sites and/or private trackers.

    Although, I wouldn’t put too much faith in private trackers keeping you 100% safe. Sure they’re not primary targets (yet/mostly), but I’m sure if one gets taken down, I’m sure the MPAA/RIAA could find a way to convince the admin to turn over your information. And I’m sure private trackers, to ensure your share ratio is accurate keep a lot more detailed info on what all you’ve up/down -loaded than public trackers or host sites do….

    @blimey (#22)& @Substrata (#17) Just being in another country doesn’t entirely help. The US’s reach is massive. I know the threat of having their site blocked in the US has compelled some sites to hand over data, or set up copy”right” filters, etc… And we are a major driving force behind ACTA, which, among other things, is trying to ensure filesharers across the globe are treated as high priority criminals, 3-strike laws, etc…

  30. Thomastick Jeffersonian
    August 30th, 2011 | 19:16

    Hotfile should do the right thing and DESTROY EVERYTHING! HAND IN NOTHING! DON’T LET THE TERRORISTS WIN!

    Until they hand in their records, their records are still technically theirs to do with as they please. They’re not allowed to share/sell/trade any of it… but they can DELETE it all. Nothing wrong with just accidentally “misplacing” or losing it.

    But I’m guessing none of the people at HF will realize they can do that, and actually give up their data. It’s the job of the courts/police/etc to TRICK us into voluntarily giving up information.

    Despite what the court/judge says, they have EVERY right to keep it, destroy it, whatever. There’s a MASS of ignorance in this country that all leans towards the belief that ALL court rulings are fair and just and must be followed…. The truth, THE FACT, is ONLY if they aren’t trumping other laws which were set up to prevent such things from happening. WHEN THIS HAPPENS, IT IS OUR DUTY AS PATRIOTS, AS CITIZENS, AS HUMANS, TO DISOBEY ANY AND ALL UNJUST LAWS! RESIST!

  31. JT
    August 30th, 2011 | 20:01

    Does Florida citizens not have a right not to be a witness against themselves and not to be forced to incriminate oneself.

  32. Saman SarKo
    August 30th, 2011 | 20:33

    Whatever they do , they are unable to stop the Warez or Sharing …..

  33. a7mag3ddon
    August 30th, 2011 | 20:38

    This is only the beginning. First its hotfile then its fileserv, Wupload and the 20 other sites that offer the same ‘service’ its clear that these sites incite pirating for money, why else do we use it? This is a case in point. If the MPAA/RIAA succeed in prosecuting anyone from the ruling will be used everywhere!

  34. Coal
    August 30th, 2011 | 21:53

    I hope hotfile has an “accident” and loses all the info they have to turn over =D

  35. dr.anonym
    August 30th, 2011 | 22:42

    Good thing I just re-discovered usenet.
    Seriously, try SABnzbd, Sick Beard and Couch Potato (and Periscope) – You’ll never ever go back.

  36. Kewl
    August 31st, 2011 | 00:27

    Where are the links please.

  37. Darkfall
    August 31st, 2011 | 00:46

    The big question in my mind is why are they keeping logs of IPs that download files? Or upload files, for that matter.

    They have zero need to do that – very few sites need to log IP information, and yet they all do, and when this kind of thing happens, their logs are collected and problems occur. I just don’t get why they’d put themselves in that kind of position.

  38. anonym
    August 31st, 2011 | 01:12

    anyone not in the USA is safe from the motion picture assoc of AMERICA.

    in the mean time, all american pirates should run and hide !!!!! the MPAA is coming for you.

  39. gee
    August 31st, 2011 | 02:37

    Nobody will be targeted by the MPAA for uploading or downloading from hotfile. The MPAA are only given the info to prove if hotfile are guilty. Privacy laws will not allow the MPAA to use the info in any other case.

    Good luck hotfile, but im afraid you’re fcuked.

  40. varsh
    August 31st, 2011 | 03:15

    They just suspended my account yesterday!

  41. criss
    August 31st, 2011 | 08:14

    Think logically guys. Whenever a company gets hits by the MPAA or otherwise they fight it for a while. Trash what can actually make them pay a heavy payout and give the rest in. Why? Cause this puts them into the “What we have to pay don’t we category”. Then they wait a few years and rebuild the company under a different name and in a different county. Look at L1mew1 re and read about it closely. Why do you think they asked for the Sites coding and it was the one thing the judge said they didn’t have to hand over. Welcome to 21st Century.

    Hotfile probably agreed to the terms outlined by the MPAA and this is just the story that went public. Use Proxy and reroute your ip. Don’t download Scene releases that haven’t been renamed. Look towards a new torrent application in China that disguises itself as a Browser and encrypts its content while downloading. If they knock down a pawn on the board we replace it with three more.

  42. Paul Abbotson
    September 24th, 2011 | 10:58

    I use Fileserve or Megaupload most of the time. The video series and movie industry uses very restrictive and uncompetitive practises in restraint of trade. I’m more inclined to order a de luxe commercial edition of a movie or series from Amazon.com (some even come in hefty “cookie” tins adding to freight costs) that I have previously downloaded if the product is particularly good rather than order it “blind” based on reviews etc. Often the download sites advise they cannot supply something because it has breached copyright so one assumes if one can download something it is legal.
    I dwell in Europe and the free weekly video one can watch on site are unavailable to viewers outside the USA. Even Canadians cannot access these videos though they do have the advantage of seeing the episodes when broadcast on local or US TV, and can directly record such broadcasts on tape or disk. This means-in the absence of downloading- one must wait until the series ends and the product is available from Amazon at a very high price plus freight costs where one is obliged to pay for fancy packaging and many bonus features one may not want. In the days of VHS I could tape record movies from two or three movie channels in Asia free of charge and apparently legal so what’s the difference with disks?
    I do not see why somebody should be penalised for downloading episodes or movies for one’s own use, mostly on erasable disks or simply onto the lap top hard disk and later deleted. Moreover, even if full IP codes are sought by US justice it is up to the Internet provider in a non-US jurisdiction to yield up the private information, an act which its own country’s laws may forbid. Canada -with an obedient poodle as PM- presents a greater risk for down-loaders than Europe or Asia. (As it is Canada provides passenger lists to Washington DC on every flight to Cuba which is disgraceful).

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