The MPAA has started to push hard to close down websites that could allow users to upload copyrighted movies. The MPAA in some cases isn’t simply trying to shut the websites down, it is going after owners and administrators of the websites as evidenced by the legal trouble Megaupload and its owners are going through. Google has now filed a brief in federal court in Florida to defend one of the most recent targets of the MPAA called Hotfile.
According to the brief filed by Google, Hotfile is protected under the DMCA safe harbor act. That safe harbor rule is supposed to make service providers not accountable for files that members upload. However, in the case of Megaupload, which Google’s brief indirectly supports as well, the site was shut down and staffers hit with legal action despite the DMCA safe harbor act. Google has more than altruistic goals here, conceivably the MPAA could come after it or other properties it owns such as YouTube if the safe harbor act is ignored.
In a roundabout way by defending Hotfile and perhaps even Megaupload, Google is defending itself from potential future legal action. The MPAA started its legal campaign against Hotfile in February 2011. In the suit, the MPAA alleged that Hotfile owed its popularity to the “massive digital theft Hotfile promotes.” According to the MPAA, Hotfile has no right to exist because it is used for predominantly copyright infringing purposes. That is a very loose description of what a cloud storage service is.