Hotfile Agrees to Settle Piracy Lawsuit With Major Book Publishers

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Hotfile and several major book publishers have agreed to an out-of-court settlement of their piracy dispute. Last year the publishers filed a complaint with a Florida District Court, demanding up to $7.5 million from the defunct file-hosting service. How much Hotfile will pay to resolve the case is likely to remain unknown.

hfpLittle over a year ago the MPAA announced that it had settled its legal dispute with Hotfile for $80 million, which in reality came down to just $4 million.

Shortly after the settlement was announced a group of major book publishers followed in Hollywood’s footsteps.

Pearson Education, Cengage Learning, John Wiley and Sons, Elsevier and McGraw-Hill lodged a complaint with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, accusing Hotfile of vicarious copyright infringement.

“Hotfile built a business off of infringement. The book publishers’ rights were massively infringed by the site and its operators. They should not be allowed to simply pocket their profits and walk away from the harm they caused,” a representative of the book publishers told TF at the time.

The publishers held Hotfile liable for the many copyright-infringing works that were shared by its users, including ‘Office 2007 for Dummies’ and ‘C++ How to Program,’ As compensation for the damage that was suffered they demanded up to $7.5 million.

Hotfile later refuted that is was responsible for pirating users, and last December the Court scheduled a mediation conference hoping both parties would be able to resolve their issues.

This session was indeed effective as mediator Jeffrey Grubman informed the Court this week that both parties have agreed on a settlement.

“Mr. Anton Titov attended the mediation via Skype on behalf of Defendants, along with Defendants’ counsel. At the conclusion of the mediation session, the parties agreed in principle to a complete resolution of the dispute subject to final written settlement documentation,” Grubman writes.

The details of the agreement are unlikely to become public. However, it’s likely that Hotfile agreed to pay a settlement fee as it did in the MPAA case.

The finer details still have to be fleshed out and District Court Judge Beth Bloom has decided to administratively close the case for now. If the planned settlement falls apart either party has the option to reopen it.

For Hotfile the settlement will mark the end of several controversial years where it went from being one of the top file-hosting sites more than 100 million page views per month, to a defunct service with no visitors at all.

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