isoHunt torrent site shut down following court settlement

Popular torrent site isoHunt is to close, with the owner forced to pay millions in compensation to the movie studios.

Another torrent site is to shut up shop after a court case. isoHunt is still live at time of writing, but will close soon. Its Canadian owner, Gary Fung, will have to pay $110 million (£68 million) to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) following a seven-year court case, the BBC reports. Though due to limited resources, that payout is more likely to be between $2 million and $4 million, according to the court.

Earlier this year, torrent site The Pirate Bay was blocked by UK ISPs after a court order. Though piracy numbers stayed around the same despite the block , so it's doubtful this latest closure will make much difference in the grand scheme of things.

The MPAA think differently, of course. Chairman Chris Dodd said the move was a "major step forward" for legitimate commerce online.

"It 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," he said.

"The successful outcome of this landmark lawsuit will also help preserve jobs and protect the tens of thousands of businesses in the creative industries, whose hard work and investments are exploited by sites like isoHunt." 

The case was brought by a collection of companies including Disney, Paramount, and Twentieth Century Fox. They accused isoHunt of wilfully infringing copyright by listing millions of movies and TV shows.

Like The Pirate Bay, isoHunt didn't host files for download, but listed links of sites that did. Fung's defence centred on this -- that it was the users of isoHunt, not isoHunt itself, that were responsible for distributing pirated content -- but the Californian court disagreed.

Fung seemed gracious in defeat. He said: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race and remain faithful. 10.5 years of isoHunt has been a long journey by any business definition and forever in Internet start-up time.

"It started as a programming hobby in my university days that has become so, so much more."

What do you think of the ruling? It it just the latest move in a game of whack-a-mole, as Fung says on his blog? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.

About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.

     

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