Six days before movie studios were set to begin a jury trial over alleged copyright violations by the “cyberlocker” site Hotfile, the case has settled. Hotfile has agreed to pay $80 million and to stop operating “unless it employs copyright filtering technologies that prevent infringement,” according to a press release sent out today by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

The MPAA represents America’s major movie studios, which sued Hotfile over copyright violations in 2011.

The case was finally teed up for a trial that was to begin next Monday, December 9.

A Friday order by US District Judge Kathleen Williams settled a variety of pre-trial issues, including a ban on MPAA lawyers using “pejorative” terms like “piracy” or “theft.” The trial would have likely focused heavily on damages, since Williams already ruled that Hotfile was not eligible for the DMCA “safe harbor” and that it was going to be liable for the actions of its users. Hotfile employed an incentive system to encourage downloading and paid users who uploaded popular files, including copyrighted files.

The service went beyond storage and was effectively a “distribution” business, Williams held. She also held Hotfile employee Anton Titov, whom the MPAA describes as the company’s “principal,” liable for the infringement.     

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