File sharing outfit sues Warner Brothers

A file-sharing company is suing Warner Brothers, claiming that the studio abused a tool it had set up to counter software piracy.

Because Hotfile did not want its servers stuffed with illegal content, it built a tool,  which allowed those who felt their copyrighted material had been stored on the site, to have it taken down.

According to the company, Warner Brothers used the took to take down hundreds of files that it did not hold the copyrights including open sauce software. The false takedowns continued even after the movie studio was repeatedly notified about the false claims.

Hotfile is looking for damages to compensate the company for the losses they suffered.

There is a lot of bad blood between Hotfile and Big Content. The outfit has been sued by five major Hollywood movie studios. The case is ongoing and two weeks ago the MPAA studios scored a victory when Hotfile was ordered to share detailed information on the site’s users and affiliates.

Hotfile developed its Special Rightsholder Account (SRA) tool and assigned it to Michael Bentkover, Manager of Anti-Piracy Internet Operations at the movie studio. The way it was designed was to allow rightsholders to remove an unlimited number of files, as long as they hold the rights to them.

Not only did Warner take down files that they didn’t own the rights to, they never even looked at them. The tool had a box appear before each file was deleted. It required Bentkover to promise ed “under penalty of perjury” that it was the rightful owner.

What appears to have happened is that Warner did not check each file, it just used an automatic script to search the database and delete the content.

For example when it tried to remove files that are copies of the movie The Box, Warner removed several files related to the alternative cancer treatment book “Cancer: Out Of The Box,” by Ty M. Bollinger. Warner also deleted “The Box that Saved Britain,” which was made by the BBC, not Warner.

According to TorrentFreak,Hotfile wants a jury trial, and asks the court to compensate the company for the losses they’ve suffered, including loss of accounts and goodwill. Hotfile wants a permanent injunction requiring Warner to individually review all the files they take down.