The Florida-based file-hosting service Hotfile intends to file a lawsuit against Warner Bros. for abusing its anti-piracy tool. Hotfile claims that Warner Bros. deleted files from the file-hosting service to which it didn’t hold the copyrights. In addition, the movie studio allegedly deleted files from Hotfile without verifying the contents.
Earlier this year five major Hollywood movie studios sued file-hosting service Hotfile for several copyright-related offenses.
While Hotfile has settled cases with copyright holders in the past, they are determined to fight this pivotal lawsuit to the end.
And not only that. A court document obtained by TorrentFreak reveals that Hotfile also plans to countersue one of the Hollywood studios.
Hotfile last week opposed a motion from the studios and the MPAA to limit the information (so called privilege logs) they have to produce in their ongoing case. As with a related filing we reported on yesterday, the reason to refuse access is that the movie studios claim their anti-piracy strategies are trade secrets.
Hotfile, however, wants the MPAA members to provide standard privilege logs as required by law, and for a good reason. Hidden in a footnote of the court papers Hotfile explains that it may use the information to file a lawsuit against Warner Bros.
“Being able to determine which withheld documents are related to Plaintiffs’ cooperative antipiracy efforts to remove material from Hotfile is also important for a counterclaim Hotfile intends to bring against at least one of the Plaintiffs—Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. (“Warner”).”
The file-hosting service explains that they plan to sue Warner Bros. for abusing their anti-piracy tool. Via the tool copyright holders can remove infringing content from Hotfile themselves, but the Hollywood studio allegedly did more than that.
“Hotfile has evidence that Warner used an antipiracy tool provided by Hotfile at Warner’s request to improperly remove material for which Warner did not own a copyright, and that Warner removed some material without ever verifying the contents of what it was deleting. Hotfile is entitled to full information as to any claims of ‘privilege’ with respect to evidence withheld related to that claim.”
Hotfile’s lawyers don’t provide any further specifics on the case but one possibility could be that the Warner Bros. account was used to remove files from other movie studios. More details will likely become available when Hotfile submits an official complaint to the court.
The ongoing legal battle between Hotfile and Hollywood is important for many similar services operating in the United States. Two weeks ago the file-hosting service scored its first win when the judge ruled that Hotfile is not liable for primary copyright infringement, but the case is far from over.
There is little doubt that the planned countersuit against Warner Bros. will add even more fuel to the fire.