Google Fights For Your Rights To Share

Following accusation that Hotfile is promoting piracy, Google is now trying to intervene and protect the locker service from Hollywood’s wrath.

The previous month Google filed a brief at Florida’s federal court, speaking for Hotfile. The MPAA is claiming that Hotfile is harboring pirates and their infringing data. In their struggle to curb piracy, record and movie companies are interfering with Web companies and their interests, creating issues instead of solving problems.

In 2011 the Stop Online Piracy Act started a never before seen reaction from both web companies, and people as well. Google, Yahoo, Facebook and many other great companies started a campaign to speak-out against SOPA, eventually forcing authorities and politicians to shelf the legislation. Although web companies are not pro-piracy, they have the will to defend Internet’s freedom of expression.

In Hotfile’s defense Google invokes the Digital Millennium Act (DMCA), the piece of legislation that has been providing safe harbor for websites like Youtube, Facebook and Wikipedia since it was voted and passed in October 1998 by US’ Senate, and signed by then president of all Americans Bill Clinton.

In the brief Google states that safe harbors “have helped facilitate the development of the Internet as a robust and revolutionary platform for free expression, creativity, and economic opportunity,” and its intentions are to remain as such.

On the other side, the MPPA highlights the fact that Hotfile’s success is a clear statement that it facilitates piracy.

“In less than two years, Hotfile has become one of the 100 most trafficked sites in the world…That is a direct result of the massive digital theft that Hotfile promotes,” said the MPAA.

But the movie studios are not as innocent as they want us to believe. Critics argue that Hollywood’s studios have been promoting piracy themselves (at least passively) by adopting the practice of “windowing”, overwhelming the public with their massive production; that, combined with poor marketing, and the unwillingness to adjust their prices to the economy of those less fortunate European countries leave the viewer with two options: either wait for the release or pirate it.

Another explanation for Hotfile’s predicament would be UltraViolet, a digital storage locker belonging to several big studios, a place where users can store their purchased movies – the threat is obvious.

“It is not the job of Hotfile, or any internet company to affirmatively monitor their services for possible infringement,” said Google.

The big industries, however, managed to make few allies, such as ISPs willing (more or less) to help them. A good example would be US’ major internet providers Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner (among others) to implement a graduate response system, commonly known as the three-strikes system.

While online piracy remains a big problem for the creative (a bit of an understatement to call them creative) industries, the internet organism fights for its survival in an environment that was supposed to be (right from the start) free and fun to be part of.