Sony Hack Reveals That MPAA's Big '$80 Million' Settlement With Hotfile Was A Lie
from the of-course-it-was dept
For years, we’ve pointed out that the giant “settlements” that the MPAA likes to announce with companies it declares illegal are little more than Hollywood-style fabrications. Cases are closed with big press releases throwing around huge settlement numbers, knowing full well that the sites in question don’t have anywhere near that kind of money available. At the end of 2013, it got two of these, with IsoHunt agreeing to ‘pay’ $110 million and Hotfile agreeing to ‘pay’ $80 million. In both cases, we noted that there was no chance that those sums would ever get paid. And now, thanks to the Sony hack, we at least know the details of the Hotfile settlement. TorrentFreak has been combing through the emails and found that the Hotfile settlement was really just for $4 million, and the $80 million was just a bogus number agreed to for the sake of a press release that the MPAA could use to intimidate others.
?The studios and Hotfile have reached agreement on settlement, a week before trial was to start. Hotfile has agreed to pay us $4 million, and has entered into a stipulation to have an $80 million judgment entered and the website shut down,? the email from Sony?s SVP Legal reads.
Considering the time and effort that went into the case, it would be no surprise if the movie studios actually lost money on the lawsuit.
The good news for the MPAA is that the money was paid in full. There were some doubts if Hotfile would indeed pay up, but during the first weeks of December last year the $4 million was sent in three separate payments.
Of course, all of this is just for show. You can safely assume that none of the much lower $4 million went back to any content creators. Instead, it’s likely it got plowed back into the MPAA’s vast “anti-piracy” machine, allowing it to be used for other lawsuits and funding investigations by state Attorneys General.
Still, is it any surprise that the industry famous both for its fictional “Hollywood Endings” and “Hollywood Accounting” where a hit movie like one of the Harry Potter films can bring in nearly a billion dollars, but still have a “loss” for accounting purposes, would create a made-up scenario in which everyone pretends many tens of millions of dollars are paid due to “infringement”?