Google defends hosting site under attack by MPAA

Google is lending a legal hand to hosting site Hotfile, upping the battle between tech and the movie industry.

Paul Sloan Former Editor
Paul Sloan is editor in chief of CNET News. Before joining CNET, he had been a San Francisco-based correspondent for Fortune magazine, an editor at large for Business 2.0 magazine, and a senior producer for CNN. When his fingers aren't on a keyboard, they're usually on a guitar. Email him here.
Paul Sloan
2 min read

The battle of Silicon Valley vs. Hollywood continues.

Google filed a brief earlier this month in federal court in Florida defending Hotfile, an Internet locker service that the Motion Picture Association of America accuses of acting as a clearinghouse for pirated films.

The MPAA filed suit against Hotfile a year ago, arguing that the cyberlocker has made a business out of offering a stash box for people to store their pirated movies. At the time, the MPAA said, "In less than two years, Hotfile has become one of the 100 most trafficked sites in the world...That is a direct result of the massive digital theft that Hotfile promotes."

That marked the first time a group of Hollywood film studios filed a copyright lawsuit against a cyberlocker, and just two weeks ago the MPAA asked for a summary judgement against Hotfile, effectively trying to shut down the site.

Google argues in an amicus curiae that Hotfile is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Google writes that YouTube, Facebook and Wikipedia all thrive because of they are protected by the DMCA, and that the movie industry's case arguments would in fact thwart such businesses.

According to the brief:

The safe harbors have helped facilitate the development of the Internet as a robust and revolutionary platform for free expression, creativity, and economic opportunity. A wide variety of online services--including Amazon, eBay, YouTube...have all been held protected by the DMCA against potentially crippling infringement claims.

Google, which wasn't immediately available for comment, obviously has good reason to protect the DMCA.

You can read the whole filing below. (Hat tip to TorrentFreak.)

Google Amicus Brief PDF