IsoHunt Shuts Down Early To Stop Archive Team From Recording Important Historical Information

from the that's-unfortunate dept

With last week's announcement that IsoHunt was shutting down, the famed "Archive Team" apparently sprung into action to try to preserve the information on the site. As you hopefully know, the Archive Team works hard to preserve important information that has historical relevance and importance. For example, it preserved much of GeoCities after that site was shut down. If you don't understand, preserving historical information is extremely important in an age where such information can disappear entirely.

Unfortunately, perhaps because of legal fears, IsoHunt's Gary Fung apparently decided that this archive effort may be legally problematic and shut down the site days early, stating:
I'm told there was this Internet archival team that wants to make historical copy of our .torrent files, I'm honoured that people thinks our site is worthy of historical preservation, but the truth is about 95% of those .torrent files can be found off Google regardless and mostly have been indexed from other BitTorrent sites in the first place.
But, of course, as the Archive Team points out, it was never about saving those .torrent files, but rather all the metadata around them:
I think Gary might have misunderstood the purpose of the archiving project; he basically states that “the .torrent files can be found elsewhere too” – but this completely misses the point, being the archiving of the metadata *around* those torrents, such as user comments. These cannot be replicated from other sources…
The team apparently to get about 242 gigs of data, but there was a lot more that they missed. That's too bad.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 6:49am

    those .torrent files can be found off Google regardless and mostly have been indexed from other BitTorrent sites in the first place

    Or, to put it bluntly, the MAFIAA achieved absolutely nothing with this 'victory' and while they were busy with a single bigger fish heaps of alternatives sprung including decentralized networks (ie: you can search for torrents via the cloud in bittorrent already). Shall we send a Golden Turd to Mr Dodd as congratulations on his imaginary success?

     

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  2.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 7:24am

    Re:

    You can send me after letting me drink rootbeer and eat tacos. I'll give him some fresh ones.

     

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  3.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 8:35am

    I was busy running the Archive Warrior while I slept. When I woke up the next morning, it said it couldn't connect to the site. It wasn't until I read Torrentfreak that I realized that the site had closed early.

     

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  4.  
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    ethorad (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:07am

    metadata?

    Why do they want the metadata? It's useless and doesn't tell you anything - unless you want to look for terrorists of course.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:07am

    "IsoHunt Shuts Down Early To Stop Archive Team From Recording Important Historical Information"

    Not trying to troll, but what kind of "Important Historical Information" would IsoHunt have anyway? A history of seeds, peers and downloads?

    Seems terribly irrelevant to me. If such data was really important, surely someone would've mirrored it.

     

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  6.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    "Not trying to troll, but what kind of "Important Historical Information" would IsoHunt have anyway?"

    How important could someones diary from WWII Germany be? The problem with history is that we don't know what's important until it's passed. So the archive team grabs all the public data it can so that history can decide what's important and what isn't.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:19am

    Re:

    Also, bringing up GeoCities is somewhat disingenuous.

    GeoCities had clear historical significance, given that it contained a big chunk of the early Internet.

    IsoHunt, not so much. It has no value other than the torrents, IMHO, and given that those are already allegedly available somewhere else, nothing of value was really lost.

     

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  8.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re:

    Comments for one thing. Just because you don't see a use NOW, doesn't mean there won't ever be. If the archive had been completed, it would have been of some historical importance. Imagine a hundred years from now, history/IT students learning about P2P sites and how their users thought and wrote.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Why would Fung Rick Roll its supporters?

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re:

    We didn't salvage every piece of rubble from WWII, right?

    I get your point, but, frankly, preserving the entirety of IsoHunt seems to be a pointless exercise. At some point, you're going to have to decide what to preserve: what has actual historic significance, and what doesn't.

     

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  11.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:34am

    Meta meta

    But, of course, as the Archive Team points out, it was never about saving those .torrent files, but rather all the metadata around them:

    Of course, torrent files are themselves metadata.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm guessing the same team of people employed by the MPAA that get to write the laws will be very happy to provide this service for future historians. They'll tell them exactly what the users thought and wrote.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Not likely.

    Have you ever been to IsoHunt? You don't have any deep philosophical discussions there. 90%* of it "How do I get this to work!" and "Great torrent!" and the occasional troll calling everyone a pirate.

    IF there was something worth quoting or worth saving, it is likely that it would've been saved by now, I think.

    You are far more likely to get a better picture of how pirates think by reading TorrentFreak and associated comments than the comments on IsoHunt.



    * pulled out of my ass, but it was a high percentage

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Allow me to rephrase my main point:

    If you were to go to IsoHunt, would you go there to read eloquent discourses on the merits of various aspects of Intellectual Property legislation, or would you go there to get the torrents?

    My point is that, most likely, you would go there for the torrents, meaning that the only thing of value IsoHunt had were the torrents, (and possibly any metadata related to the torrents which would most likely not be publicly available).

    Sorry, but I just can't see any historic value here.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    What people felt about different media is important to determine the culture at the time.

    Much of what we know about Egyptian culture is the stone tablets they wrote on to practice writing then just toss away. Not the crap they wrote on walls.

     

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  16.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    A student a hundred years from now learning that Isohunt users were more or less complete idiots and whose only conversation revolved around the usage of the torrents is still of some historical and educational value. Archiving the comments would be a primary source; whereas articles like this one would be secondary sources at best. Imagine being that student, reading this very article and wishing you had access to the Isohunt comments so you could verify if what we here are talking about is true.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 10:23am

    A student a 100 years from now might think it rather backwards that the how-tos were not revealed within the post. In the future it is very possible that all computers might be standardized to where if you learned it one time, no more times were necessary for different machines.

    It would have nothing to do with the posts as far as deep philosophical meanings go other than to state the level of technology of the time.

    That's not exactly something most would think important to save until it occurred. It could easily be something else. Society and mores change from period to period. That's why you archive data because you never know what will be important.

     

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  18.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If we could save every inch of data for historical purposes we probably would have every inch of WWII data in our hands.

     

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  19.  
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    Ninja (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That. What if p2p is the trigger for a huge change in society?

     

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  20.  
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    PaulT (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    "A history of seeds, peers and downloads?"

    Re-read the article. User comments seem to be the most important thing they were trying to get to, along with other information valuable as metadata. While data on the popularity of files might still be important (especially when showing data on non-infringing material), that doesn't seem to be what was important to archive.

    "Seems terribly irrelevant to me."

    Not to others. Why, specifically does your opinion trump theirs?

    "If such data was really important, surely someone would've mirrored it."

    This is what was being attempted before the shutdown. While ISOHunt was a going concern, the archive wasn't so important and presumably the only people legally able to copy the site would be ISOHunt themselves - and most people wouldn't bother keeping an archive of such a site for commercial reasons. Now that it's needed for historical record, the value and scope of backups have changed.

     

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  21.  
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    PaulT (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re:

    "IMHO"

    I ask again - why does your opinion trump that of others, and why are you dismissing opposing views without having bothered to hear them first?

     

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  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The problem is that it's impossible to actually know what's going to be of historical significance and what isn't. The stuff from antiquity with the greatest historical value tends to be the garbage dumps.

     

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  23.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 10:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are far more likely to get a better picture of how pirates think by reading TorrentFreak and associated comments than the comments on IsoHunt


    Why do you assume the historical significance would be "what pirates think"?

    Perhaps the historical significance isn't even exactly what was said, but the patterns of usage. And perhaps the relevance has nothing to do with piracy, torrents, or intellectual property at all?

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Why would we have to decide that?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 11:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow. I thought I was reading Techdirt, not The Onion...

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 11:31am

    Re:

    Hey, that's not true at all. The successfully shutdown the comments hosted by ISOHUNT for these torrent files. You know, the free speech. Just the free speech really.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 11:32am

    Re:

    That last line... I mean... Did you read... The were trying to mirror it...

     

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  28.  
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    Mike, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 11:32am

    Why

    In all seriousness, do we really want a terrabyte worth of Anonymous comments from a pirating site? My god, man, have you found boredom on 4chan?

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your thought process is why things of historical value are missing and why we have to put so much effort into piecing things together.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 11:38am

    Re: Why

    4chan has archives as well.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 11:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're right. The "comments" are a historical treatise in the study of douchebaggery.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Much like yours.

     

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  33.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 3:07pm

    Had anyone considered that the MPAA would have launched a new lawsuit and screwed this poor guy more with claims he allowed it to happen so he could run a reborn site?

    TPB team walked away, and they still kept chasing them claiming they are running it today.

     

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  34.  
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    miatajim (profile), Oct 22nd, 2013 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re:

    This. Digital date maybe the most fragile information we have created in 10K years.

     

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  35.  
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    califauna, Oct 24th, 2013 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Do you know whats in the metadata, and what its used for?

    Torrent metadeta, specifically comments and feedback, ratings etc, are the best and often ONLY way of knowing which of the dozens of like-named torrents you get from search results are not malware, fakes..., i.e garbage.

    Isohunt had one of , if not the biggest, most reliable database of comments and feedback of any torrent site Ive seen. To my knowledge only Pirate bay even comes close.

    How on earth can you equate that with 'of no value'?

     

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  36.  
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    califauna, Oct 24th, 2013 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I would ask - have you ever been to Isohunt.com and tried to find a torrent WITHOUT using those comments you describe as near useless?

    If so, please let me know what the method is that you used for determining which of them are garbage and which aren't.

    Downloading and installing 20 garbage torrents before eventually finding the one that actually works?

     

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  37.  
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    Kneedrager428, Oct 25th, 2013 @ 6:13am

    Easy

    Guys anybody ever thought that is is mostly done already??

    http://web.archive.org/web/*/www.isohunt.com

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2013 @ 2:32pm

    Re:

    actually seems relevant, wouldn't you want to know in 2040 what kind of porn your grandfather's generation downloaded?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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