File-sharing website Hotfile agreed on Tuesday to pay $80 million to settle its copyright infringement case with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The website also agreed to cease operations until it effectively implements "digital fingerprinting" -- a copyright filtering technology -- to prevent infringement.
Hotfile, operated by Florida resident Anton Titov, is a popular cyberlocker that allows its users to store and swap files. The website became one of the 100 most trafficked websites in the world in less than two years.
The judgment passed by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida comes after the court in August 2013 refused to accept Hotfile's eligibility for DMCA "Safe Harbor" and held the website (and its "principal" Titov) liable for copyright infringement.
This is a big win for the MPAA as it is the first time a cyberlocker website has been held liable and fined for copyright violations done by its users. “This judgment by the court is another important step toward protecting an Internet that works for everyone,” MPAA's CEO and Chairman Chris Dodd said in an official statement.
This victory for MPAA comes barely a few weeks after the association won a legal battle against BitTorrent search engine IsoHunt, following which the website was shut down in October.