The stage was set this week for a high-profile online piracy case involving filesharing site Hotfile and major movie studios, but at the last minute, the site has settled. Hotfile will pay rightsholders $80m and has promised to shut down “unless it employs copyright filtering technologies that prevent infringement” according to a celebratory press release from industry body the MPAA. “This judgment by the court is another important step toward protecting an Internet that works for everyone,” said CEO Chris Dodd. “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.” It’s the latest example of the movie industry’s shift – albeit some time after music – towards pursuing piracy websites rather than individual pirates. The US District Court Judge’s ruling before this settlement that Hotfile was not eligible for DMCA ‘Safe Harbor’ protection may encourage the MPAA and its music peers to go after other sites in the coming months, too.

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