Warner Bros. Admits Removing File-Share Content Without Owning Copyright

When they searched for 'The Box' a lot of unrelated titles were taken down by mistake

Warner Bros Pictures, the Hollywood movie studio, admitted recently that due to failed filtering mechanisms, they removed materials that did not belong to them from the Hotfile file-hosting service.

According to TorrentFreak, the Hollywood movie studio was given access to the systems of the file-host to take down what they believed to represent copyright infringement that affected their sales.

However, in September 2011, Hotfile sued Warner after discovering that they abused their privilege and removed content that didn't belong to them and even open source software that facilitated the transfer of files between the host and customers.

“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,” the company wrote in September.

Now, Warner admitted the charges and claimed that their filtering software took down a lot of files based on certain keywords.

“Warner admits that, as one component of its takedown process, Warner utilizes automated software to assist in locating files on the Internet believed to contain unauthorized Warner content,” their statement reads.

Hotfile created a Special Rightsholder Account(SRA) tool which allowed the movie studio to take down any content they believed to be theirs.

“Warner further admits that, given the volume and pace of new infringements on Hotfile, Warner could not practically download and view the contents of each file prior to requesting that it be taken down through use of the SRA tool,” Warner writes.

On the other hand, the studio claims that many of the files taken down by mistake did represent copyright infringement acts, even if they didn't actually own them. The open source software was removed by one of their employees since they believed such programs can facilitate the piracy process.

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