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Electronic Frontier Foundation Accuses Warner Of Attacking Free Speech

Business & GovernmentNews
by Jon Martindale, 07 Mar 2012News

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has accused Warner Bros of infringing upon the free speech of Hotfile users by taking down content that the production studio doesn't have any copyright connection with.

This dispute dates back to September of 2011, where Warner was sued by Hotfile for fraud, after it was repeatedly warned - notifications that were ignored - that the access given to it to remove its own copyright protected content, was seeing open source software and game demos removed from the file sharing site as well.

Warner's counter to that was that it was a malfunction of an automated procedure - so it was therefore not responsible as it wasn't a deliberate mistake. The ruling of the case holds a lot of weight, as if the court decided it was ok for companies like Warner Bros. to remove content that wasn't their own - whether a mistake or not - then it would potentially give any studio free reign to decimate file locker sites and perhaps more. Youtube remixes would certainly be up for grabs by a record label that felt its copyright was in danger.

This is why the EFF is stepping in. "Hotfile's customers unfairly lost access to content because of Warner's bogus takedowns. But under Warner's theory, any company could sidestep accountability for abusing the DMCA by simply outsourcing the process to a computer," said EFF Intellectual Property Director Corynne McSherry.

The EFF argues that by essentially censoring the files that Hotfile users have access to - ones that it has no legal claim to - Warner is blocking their right to free speech and freedom of expression through what they read and see.

The ruling of this could have impacts far beyond that of MegaUpload's recent closing. It's bordering on the levels of SOPA and ACTA integration.

Source: The Inquirer

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