Rather than bow down to the copyright-policing will of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), cyberlocker Hotfile has instead decided to fight back with a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against them.
The company filed the Motion and Memorandum with the court on March 31st, refuting the movie studios’ claims of intentional and contributory copyright infringement with their cloud-based file storage service.
“Though long on hyperbole, the Studios’ factual allegations fall far short of the legal mark,” Hotfile’s attorneys state in the 22-page legal document. “They fail to state any claims for copyright infringement upon which relief can be granted and should accordingly be dismissed.”
The company’s legal team also addressed claims by the MPAA that the company’s business model is based upon encouraging users to upload copyright-infringing copies of films and televisions series.
“Hotfile does not organize, categorize or otherwise participate in user selection of files to host, Hotfile provides the same basic service as the hundreds, if not thousands, of other bona fide web hosting services that are critical and necessary to enable the full potential of the Internet,” the motion states.
Perhaps one of the most interesting arguments in the memorandum is the response to the studios’ accusations that Hotfile knew about all of the infringing content that users were uploading to their servers. It reaches back to a 1984 Supreme Court case involving Sony’s Betamax video tape recorders, stating that the MPAA’s argument “effectively rehashes the argument that [the studios] lost in the Supreme Court in an attempt to stop technological advances in copying equipment.”
Was Hotfile targeted because the MPAA thought it would be an easy win? If that is indeed the case, there are likely some pretty unhappy executives in Hollywood right now.
The judge’s decision in this case is going to be a major one for any online service that allows users to upload content. If Hotfile is found to be negligent despite a thorough DMCA compliance policy, the MPAA is likely to embark on a cyberlocker and P2P-slaying power trip.