Google Steps Into File Sharing Scrap

Marketplace Tech interviews CIS Executive Director of the Fair Use Project Anthony Falzone about Google file sharing. 

If you’re an online company, it’s certainly good to have a friend in Google. That’s where Hotfile finds itself now as the search giant has filed as a friend of the court brief in the ongoing legal action between Hotfile and the Motion Picture Association of America. The MPAA wants Hotfile shut down because, it claims, Hotfile is trafficking in pirated content like movies and TV shows.
But Google has stepped in, filing a brief with the court that Hotfile shouldn’t be held accountable for what people do on the site, just as Google shouldn’t be held accountable for what people put on YouTube, which Google owns.
Eric Goldman from Santa Clara University Law School says under current law it’s up to whoever owns the copyright to file a complaint that their work is appearing illegally. “When a service provider gets a notice like that,” he says, “they can ignore the notice and take whatever legal consequence might flow from that, or they can expeditiously respond to the notice in which case the law is designed to give them a safe harbor that says they're no longer liable.”
The safe harbor provision affords greater creativity among entrepreneurs because they’re not as worried about what content might pass through their servers. “The point of this safe harbor protection in particular was to provide certainty for people who wanted to create new platforms for sharing information online,” says Stanford Law lecturer Anthony Falzone, who is concerned some of these cases will have a chilling effect and stop the next YouTube or Facebook from being developed.
Read the full story in the original publication below.