Google has weighed in on Hotfile’s behalf in the case against the Motion Picture Association of America, saying that it is being asked to do more than the law requires.
Due to the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), if the MPAA wishes to take Hotfile to task for not following the law, it would need to prove that the site failed to act on knowledge of specific copyright infringement on its site – the policing of copyright content on Hotfile and similar sites, is the responsibility of the copyright owners.
Google is of course keen to keep this sort of statute in place, as Youtube is frequently inundated with copyright protected content. However, when notified, the site removes them and occasionally does so before notification – going above and beyond the law. In Hotfile’s instance though, Google is defending the site’s right to adhere to the letter of the law and no more. No matter how the MPAA spins it, there is no precedent for doing more.
As Tech Crunch points out, Google Drive isn’t far away either, suggesting that the search giant needs to set its own precedent that these sorts of sites need protection. There’s been a spate of takedowns – voluntary and forced – in recent months since the arrest of MegaUpload owner Kim Dotcom and his staff. Other sites like Rapidshare have introduced throttling of free accounts to show they are helping to thwart piracy.
The industry is running scared, but perhaps Google can help block organisations like the MPAA from running rampant.