Hollywood targets file sharing-website Hotfile after Megaupload success

Hollywood film companies are calling on US courts to shut down Panama-based file-sharing site Hotfile after their success in closing Megaupload

Hollywood film companies are calling on the US courts to shut the Panama-based file-sharing site Hotfile after their success against New Zealand file-sharing site Megaupload.

Megaupload's US file servers were shut down in January and a grand jury in Virginia charged the organisation with racketeering, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement.

The US has applied for the extradition from New Zealand of Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom and three senior staff members. The extradition hearing is set for 20 August.  

Court papers unsealed this week reveal the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has filed a motion for a summary judgement against Hotfile, according to the BBC.

It marks the latest step in the film studios' year-long effort to have Hotfile shut down. If approved, the move could lead to action against the service without the need for a lengthy trial.

US reports said Hotfile claims it removes copyright-infringing files on request. But in its court filing, the MPAA argued that Hotfile's business model is indistinguishable from Megaupload's. 

"Defendants even admit that they formed Hotfile 'to compete with' Megaupload," the MPAA said.

Media industry pundits said the fact that the Megaupload site had been taken offline had given copyright holders fresh impetus to target other digital locker services.

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