Movie studio Warner Bros has admitted in court that it removed files it didn't own the copyright to and even, in some cases, checked for validity from file-hosting website Hotfile.com.
The revelation came in a counterclaim the site has made against the movie giant during its ongoing legal battle with a number of studios. Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Columbia and Warner are all suing Hotfile for facilitating copyright infringement on a massive scale.
However, Warner Bros has confirmed that it wrongfully took down some files, including games demos, and blames the error on over zealous filtering software. Additionally, it has admitted that an employee took down open source software that helped the site speed up its downloads
The file-hosting website had given Warner access to its back end, thereby complying with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's notice-and-takedown procedures, but discovered that the studio was abusing the procedures itself by removing files that it didn't have any claim on and some that it didn't even open to check.
Hotfile cites the studio's errors and subsequent admission in its counterclaim, and has applied for compensation for the "fraud and abuse": "Not only has Warner (along with four other major motion picture studios) filed this unfounded and contrived litigation against Hotfile employing overly aggressive tactics, Warner has made repeated, reckless and irresponsible misrepresentations to Hotfile falsely claiming to own copyrights in material from Hotfile.com."
Warner dismisses such compensation as it argues that a majority of the files it mistakenly took down were themselves not authorised by the original copyright owners.
The court is yet to respond with its views.
What do you think? Does Hotfile have any case to argue? Or is Warner at fault? Let us know in the comments below...