Hotfile has decided to adopt a more aggressive policy against accounts that host content violating intellectual property rights.
The Hotfile file sharing service is clear in their conditions of use. In the same way that they don’t allow the uploading of software containing computer viruses for example, they also reserve the right to veto all content that breaches intellectual property rights.
In reality, the hosting of these kinds of files contributed in boosting Hotfile’s popularity when compared to other services of the same genre. But Hotfile has visibly decided to now be a lot stricter when enforcing their policy.
According to Hotfile, through the publication of this warning, users "persist in attempting to use Hotfile.com to share materials to which they do not have the necessary rights". "Therefore, we have implemented a more aggressive policy of terminating the accounts of users who are the subject of repeated complaints of infringement".
This sudden "aggressiveness" has obviously come about following a complaint filed by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) who accuses Hotfile of "facilitating the theft of films and TV series" under copyright, and benefitting from this. Besides the Premium service, Hotfile also offered a rewards program which paid these users depending on the number of files downloaded (and the size of the files) generated directly from their content.
The MPAA has obviously made the link with illegal downloading: "in less than two years, Hotfile has become one of the top 100 sites in the world in terms of traffic. This is a direct result of massive digital theft which Hotfile promoted".
Whether they are a file hosting service or something else, the MPAA’s threats have obviously rubbed them up the wrong way. Accounts are being closed if they don’t have summaries, with the related files being removed from the Premium users and related networks. What will happen to these users’ hypothetical payments though? According to TorrentFreak, the amounts in question can at times be up to 1 000 dollars, but more often range between 15 and 400 dollars.
For the moment, Hotfile hasn’t announced the end of their rewards program. It shouldn’t be forgotten that RapidShare ended their RapidPoints program last summer. Each time a user downloaded files put online by an account, this paid the account holder points. These RapidPoints could be used to extend a Premium accounts lifespan, or could be used to create a new account.
RapidShare justified their stopping of the service as they suspected it was being routed, while payments for the spreading of content put online by others than those that held the copyrights being unjustified. It is this kind of content that is most likely to generate downloads.