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HotFile forced to hand over user data to MPAA

HotFile has been ordered by a US judge to hand over details of its affiliates and those who have uploaded and downloaded content from its servers.

HotFile is one of the most popular 'data locker' services on the Internet and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has made it a priority to eradicate the service. Earlier this year the MPAA had asked HotFile to hand over details on its affiliates and users including IP addresses, however the outfit faught the demand through the courts.

The MPAA claimed that it needs HotFile's data in order to show that the hosting outfit was encouraging and profiteering from sharing files that allegedly broke copyright laws. HotFile had claimed by handing over the data to the MPAA it would be breaking privacy laws. However a US District Court judge Adalberto Jordan saw it differently, handing down a ruling that effectively means HotFile will have to pass on just about everything it has, apart from its source code.

Judge Jordan wrote in his ruling that: "To prove this rampant [copyright] infringement, the movie studios need to do a statistical analysis showing that most of the content uploaded and downloaded on infringes some copyright or another".

HotFile pays its affiliates when content they upload gets downloaded. The MPAA wants the details of the firm's top 500 affiliates, effectively going for those that feed HotFile with cash and content.

TorrentFreak reports that there is no suggestion that the MPAA will use the data it obtains from HotFile to go after individual downloaders, however that will do little to ease concerns who have downloaded a dodgy file or two off HotFile's servers.

Even if the MPAA orders its lawyers to start sending out nasty letters to those that have downloaded files off HotFile, it will have to contend with the fact that IP addresses may not necessary point to a single person. However, for the time being the MPAA may settle for the dealers rather than the users, wanting the biggest bang for its buck from its extensive legal counsel.

HotFile will have until 12 September 2011 to hand over information requested by the MPAA.