Hotfile Sues Warner Bros. Over Wrongful Copyright Takedowns Using Anti-Piracy Tool

1 min read

Hotfile LogoTV and movie studios are increasingly fighting back against piracy, usually relying on the legal system to protect them and their content. However, one of the companies on the receiving end of this treatment is turning the tables, possibly with justification.

Warner Bros. Sues Hotfile

Earlier this year five major Hollywood studios, including Warner Bros. sued file-sharing service Hotfile over copyright infringements. The case is ongoing, but Hotfile has already had to give up information on its users and affiliates. But Hotfile isn’t going down without a fight.

It has now filed a counterclaim against Warner Bros. alleging fraud and abuse arising from misuse of the anti-piracy takedown tool (Special Rightsholders Account) Hotfile created for the studio in 2009 following a request for a speedier system than DMCA.

Hotfile Sues Warner Bros.


alleges that Warner Bros. acted improperly and over-zealously in removing content from the company’s servers. It claims that the studio removed thousands of files it had no right to remove because it didn’t have any kind of claim over the content.

By using nothing more than results from searches for particular titles, Warner Bros. may have taken down a lot more than it had any legal right to. For example, as well as copyright-infringing copies of the movie, The Box, Hotfile claims it removed an alternative cancer treatment book titled, Cancer: Out Of The Box, and a BBC production titled, The Box that Saved Britain.

Furthermore, Hotfile alleges that this was an attempt to make money, because an earlier agreement had resulted in taken-down content being replaced with affiliate links leading to stores selling legitimate copies of Warner Bros. movies.


If the accusations by Hotfile are true and found to be so in court then Warner Bros. should truly be ashamed of itself. Its actions would imply that rights-holders with a vested interest in stopping piracy should not be given free rein to remove alleged copyright-infringing content in this manner.

In fact, I’d argue it shows that the DMCA takedown procedure is the only way to ensure fairness on both sides. Giving studios too much power is as bad as allowing piracy to grow out of control on services such as Hotfile.

[Via TorrentFreak]