Pattishall IP Blog

July 12, 2011

A Website Providing File-Hosting or “Cyberlocker” Services to Internet Users Wins Dismissal of Disney’s Direct Copyright Infringement Claim, but Disney’s Claim for Secondary Copyright Infringement Through Hotfile Users’ Copying and Distribution of Copyrighted Material Survives

Filed under: Copyright, Internet — Tags: , , , — Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hilliard & Geraldson LLP @ 6:29 pm

Categories: Copyright, Internet
Tags: Copyright Infringement, Internet, Secondary Liability, Phillip Barengolts

by Phillip Barengolts, Trademark Attorney

Hotfile hosts files uploaded by its users.[1]  A user receives a unique link to each of his files hosted by Hotfile, so the user can access a file from anywhere with an Internet connection.  The user also can share the link to his file with others.  And that is all you probably need to know about Hotfile to understand the basis for the Motion Picture Association of America’s suit for copyright infringement, styled Disney Enterprises, Inc. v. Hotfile Corp., 1:11-cv-20427 (M.D. Fla. July 8, 2011).[2]  You can learn much more about Disney’s allegations regarding Hotfile’s business model, including its creative money generating scheme of subscribers and third-party affiliates, in the opinion by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida on Hotfile’s motion to dismiss both direct and secondary copyright infringement claims.

Disney alleged direct copyright infringement, as well as secondary liability under theories of inducing infringement, contributory infringement and vicarious infringement.  Hotfile moved to dismiss on the ground that it could not be liable for direct copyright infringement because it has no control over the files that a user chooses to upload to Hotfile’s servers. (more…)

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