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Ulož.to a popular file-sharing site in the Czech Republic, wants movie distributor CinemArt to pay for an overturned anti-piracy filter. It is amongst the 40 most visited sites in the country. Ulož.to has successfully appealed a preliminary court order to block files with the word “Charlatan”. The file-sharing site is now looking for more than $36000 in compensation.
Ulož.to is known to share a variety of files, this was hurting many copyright holders whose work appeared on the platform without permission. The RIAA was one of them who reported the site as a notorious pirate site many times.
What about the “Charlatan” word filter?
Earlier last year the site was asked by the Municipal Court in Prague to filter the word “Šarlatán” (‘Charlatan’) which also happens to be the name of a Czech movie.
The order requested by CinemArt was to remain in place until August 2030. Ulož.to appealed against it, as the filtering obligation was too broad. This could impact the files that have nothing to do with the film, violating freedom of speech.
According to the Ulož.to spokesperson, “The problem is that the word charlatan is not just a movie charlatan. Widespread censorship of the word would also affect the amount of content that does not violate any rules, thus restricting the freedom of many Internet users.”
The decision to ‘Charlatan’ Filter Overturned
The decision to ‘Charlatan’ Filter Overturned was immediately overturned and considered a big win for the file-sharing platform. The site had already made substantial investments in order to ensure the filter worked correctly and caused no harm to users in the process. It wants them to be reimbursed by the movie distributor CinemArt.
Costs of the compensation
Ulož.to is seeking 585,000 Czech Koruna, approximately $27,320 as a cost of compensation for the filtering and monitoring. Additionally, it also wants another 200,000 Koruna approx $27,320 for covering legal fees and costs.
The files sharing company’s argument is it hired an external agency that was resource-intensive. As a result of such extreme measures it had to resort to, compensation is warranted.
The request for compensation by the file-sharing company will trigger yet another legal battle. With allegations from both sides, it will go on for some time till it is finally resolved. However putting a word filter blocks copyrighted content is not a good idea, for example just imagine if YouTube had to filter all videos that use the word “Charlatan” in the title.
Perhaps the best way to go about this would be the use of hashes as these are less prone to false positives as well.