December 03, 2013

Jenner & Block won a major victory for several film studio clients when a Florida federal court ordered file-hosting site Hotfile Corp. to pay $80 million and cease operations unless it employs copyright filtering technologies that prevent the infringement of the studios’ works.  Announced on December 3, 2013, the order ends more than two years of copyright infringement litigation against the download hub, which actively encouraged users to upload copyrighted material by offering payments based on how many other users downloaded their files.

This is a significant and favorable settlement not only for the firm’s clients, which include Columbia Pictures, Disney, Universal Studios, Warner Bros., and Twentieth Century Fox, but also for the broader copyright owner community, as the court order sets an important precedent with regard to the responsibilities of so-called “cyberlockers” and the implementation of copyright filtering. 

Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd said in a statement: “This judgment by the court is another important step toward protecting an Internet that works for everyone.  Sites like Hotfile that illegally profit off of the creativity and hard work of others do a serious disservice to audiences, who deserve high-quality, legitimate viewing experiences online.”

The Jenner & Block team included Partners David A. Handzo, Kenneth L. Doroshow and Luke C. Platzer, and Associates Rochelle P. Lundy, Michael T. Borgia and Zoila E. Hinson.  Former Partner Steven B. Fabrizio, who was recently appointed as the MPAA's new Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel, played a key role in the case from its inception to the conclusion.