BitTorrent search site IsoHunt will shut down, pay MPAA $110 million

isoHunt logoisoHunt, a search engine for BitTorrent files founded more than a decade ago, has agreed today to shut down all its operations worldwide. The company, founded by Canadian Gary Fung, has also accepted a judgment that it must pay the movie studios that sued it $110 million.

It's not clear how much of that the studios will actually be able to collect. According to a chunk of court transcript cited by Techdirt, the movie studios' lawyers estimated that Fung and his company had only "two million dollars to $4 million, $5 million at the most" that they could possibly pay.

Fung gave up his long legal fight just weeks from having to defend his site in federal court; a jury trial was scheduled to start on November 5 in a Los Angeles federal court. Earlier court rulings had already determined that Fung was liable for "inducing" copyright infringement, so the court trial would have largely been about damage control. The MPAA had stated studio lawyers would have sought as much as $600 million had the case gone to trial.

On the US version of isoHunt, Fung had already agreed to filter out MPAA content when it showed up. Despite that, it continued to be a huge site. IsoHunt claimed to have 44.2 million peers, and 13.7 million active torrents, according to the MPAA.


isoHunt argued that it was solely a neutral search engine and had never directly copied the illegal content. But that defense failed isoHunt, as it has generally failed to defend peer-to-peer file-sharing sites in the years since the 2005 MGM v Grokster ruling. A federal judge and a panel of appeals judges agreed that Fung had "induced" others to infringe copyright. Fung had "red flag" knowledge that there was infringing content on his site. He promoted the fact that popular TV shows and movies were there to get more ads.

It's a long-awaited vindication for the MPAA.

"This settlement] sends a strong message that those who build businesses around encouraging, enabling, and helping others to commit copyright infringement are themselves infringers and will be held accountable for their illegal actions," MPAA chairman Chris Dodd said in a statement.

While the lawsuits take a long time to come to fruition, the entertainment industry has been pitching no-hitters when it comes to suing websites where peer-to-peer technology is used to trade copyrighted files. Napster, Grokster, KaZaa, and Limewire are the biggest tombstones in a growing graveyard of file-sharing websites. None of them were able to avoid liability in court, and many paid hefty settlements. Limewire, for example, paid the RIAA $105 million.

It's only the user-generated content sites that have been able to use the DMCA Safe Harbor defense that isoHunt tried, but failed, to use. Video-sharing site Veoh, for instance, beat Universal Music when it was found to be protected by Safe Harbor—but the company went bankrupt in the process. YouTube has spent $100 million fighting a copyright lawsuit brought by Viacom, which is still being litigated.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: BitTorrent

Add comment

Your name:
Sign in with:
Your comment:

Enter code:

E-mail (not required)
E-mail will not be disclosed to the third party

Last news

A mobile hotspot in Australia will be capable of hitting gigabit speeds on the go
A new game could be in the works as Blizzard appears to have been hiring for a Diablo-related project
Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri will speak at MWC 2017
However what if you could go way, way back?
The Helio P15 packs an octa-core Cortex-A53 processor clocked at 2.2GHz
Samsung claims up to 27-percent higher performance or 40-percent lower power
Preliminary data for October shows another Windows 10 boom
Samsung Galaxy TabPro S - a tablet with the Windows-keyboard
The first Windows-tablet with the 12-inch display Super AMOLED
June 7, 2016 /
Keyboards for iOS
Ten iOS keyboards review
July 18, 2015 /
Samsung E1200 Mobile Phone Review
A cheap phone with a good screen
March 8, 2015 / 4
Creative Sound Blaster Z sound card review
Good sound for those who are not satisfied with the onboard solution
September 25, 2014 / 2
Samsung Galaxy Gear: Smartwatch at High Price
The first smartwatch from Samsung - almost a smartphone with a small body
December 19, 2013 /
HP Slate 7 is a 7-inch Android 4 Tablet PC with good sound
A cost-effective, 7-inch tablet PC from a renowned manufacturer
October 25, 2013 / 4

News Archive



Do you use microSD card with your phone?
or leave your own version in comments