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Isohunt to permanently shutter after settlement with MPAA

The immensely popular file-sharing service agrees to close the site amid allegations of copyright infringement, along with pay Hollywood movie studios $110 million in damages.

Popular BitTorrent search engine Isohunt has been slated to shutter indefinitely. After years of court battles over copyright infringement with the Motion Picture Association of America, Isohunt has agreed to settle.

Under the terms of the settlement (PDF), which was issued on Thursday, Isohunt's founder Gary Fung has seven days to shut down the site, as well as close three other sites that redirect to Isohunt -- Podtropolis, TorrentBox, and Edtk-it.com. Fung has also agreed to pay $110 million in damages.

"It's sad to see my baby go. But I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful," Fung wrote in a blog post on Thursday. "10.5 years of isoHunt has been a long journey by any business definition, and forever in Internet startup time. It started as a programming hobby in my university days that has become so, so much more. It's been a learning experience beyond what I imagined."

Isohunt first came under fire from the MPAA in 2006 when the association filed a copyright lawsuit against the BitTorrent search engine. The suit dragged on for years as the MPAA tried to convince a federal court that Isohunt was liable for copyright violations committed by its users. The final straw came last March when Isohunt lost its appeal against the MPAA and a judge ruled that Fung had "red flag" knowledge of copyright infringements taking place on the site.

Isohunt is one of the most popular BitTorrent sites online; Fung claims it has 44.2 million peers and 13.7 million active torrents.

MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd was naturally pleased with the outcome of the settlement.

"Today's settlement is a major step forward in realizing the enormous potential of the Internet as a platform for legitimate commerce and innovation," Dodd said in a statement (pdf). "It also 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."

(Via Wired)

Corrected October 31 at 2:35 p.m. PT A typo in the subhead inaccurately stated the amount of the settlement. The settlement was actually for $110 million.