isoHunt Tries To Setup A Site That Doesn't Induce

from the can-it-be-done dept

One result of the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Grokster case, five years ago, was formalization of the concept of “inducement” of copyright infringement as being against the law itself — despite the lack of any such concept in the statute, and a failure (despite repeated attempts) by Congress to put an inducement standard directly into the law (suggesting, pretty clearly, that Congress did not intend for there to be an inducement standard in copyright law). Now, the entertainment industry has stretched the Grokster ruling for years, pretending that the Supreme Court actually said simply that any file sharing program/site was violating copyright law. But that’s not true at all. What’s unclear, however, is what constitutes inducement and what doesn’t. Given various court rulings on the subject, it seems like you could set up a perfectly legal file trading system/search engine that doesn’t run afoul of the law by making sure that it wasn’t designed to induce infringement at all.

Unfortunately, pretty much every file sharing system/search engine that’s gone to court in the US has failed that test miserably by regularly pitching its product for the purpose of infringing on copyright law. In a recent ruling, concerning the torrent search engine IsoHunt, we noted that the judge found inducement in a variety of places in how the site was operated and (more importantly) in comments made by the site’s owner, Gary Fung.

Now, in response, Fung appears to be interested in trying to see if he can thread that needle and setup a site that still has the search engine, but avoids any of the things that were flagged for inducing infringement. The key one is the question of whether or not the company/site/owner promotes the infringing nature of its site — which is one par of the three-pronged test for inducement. Fung has proposed to the court that if he sets up such a site, which he calls isoHunt Lite, there shouldn’t be an injunction shutting down the site.

It’s an interesting legal question, but somehow I doubt the judge is likely to agree.

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Companies: isohunt

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Comments on “isoHunt Tries To Setup A Site That Doesn't Induce”

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John Doe says:

Hard to hit moving targets...

Even if he clears this hurdle the IP industry will get the courts to create a new hurdle. Hopefully that doesn’t stop people from fighting the good fight though.

The whole inducement question is an extremely slippery slope. Can you sue Budweiser because a drunk driver killed your spouse? Can you sue Smith & Wesson because you were shot by one during a robbery? When can we quit blaming things and start blaming people? Things are not evil, people are evil. The other fallacy, is once things are let loose, they can not be put back in the bag. Prohibition didn’t work, gun control won’t work, drug laws aren’t working. So lets look at the common denominator here and that is people.

Anonymous Coward says:


Forgive me, but I’m failing to see what would be so difficult about setting up a site that doesn’t induce infringement. Just set up a simple home page with a search box, and a warning stating that sharing copyrighted material without authorization is against the law. Then when you advertise just be clear that you enable the sharing of legal (either authorized or public domain) files. Take it a step further and have a short list of “featured” torrents that are 100% legal. preferably music, videos, and books uploaded by the content creators themselves. That way you can always say that the use of your site that you promote, and therefore intend, is the sharing of legal files.

Anonymous Coward says:

Flying Monkeys

It’s an interesting legal question, but somehow I doubt the judge is likely to agree.

isoHunt: OK judge, we went through your list and changed all the things you listed.

judge: (Thinking ‘damn, I didn’t think they would actually do it!’) Um yeah, but that was just to get started. The next thing you have to do now bend over and send flying monkeys streaming out of your ass. After you do that, I’ll let you what you have to do next.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Flying Monkeys

The next thing you have to do now bend over and send flying monkeys streaming out of your ass. After you do that, I’ll let you what you have to do next.

should have been “The next thing you have to do now is to bend over and send flying monkeys streaming out of your ass. After you do that, I’ll let you know what you have to do next.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Fung did not lose because he ran (and apparently want to once again start running) a BT site. He lost because of his active participation in the site in a manner that assisted various users to download material protected under copyright.

Read Grokster and it lays out the activities by Grokster that got it in trouble. Read the test laid out by the Supreme Court. It is not at all very difficult to set up a compliant BT site. Hopefully Mr. Fung takes what the Supreme Court said to heart, in which case he can probably once again run a BT site within the boundaries of law.

The Doctor says:

ISO-LITE: Tastes like Google only more pathic

Isohunt lite is a lame attempt to continue the Isohunt name. In reality, all the “new” version shares is a name. Leaves a person wondering why go through all the trouble of producing a hideously gutted raped version and instead simply block all US users. The only reason I can think of is the ad money generated and then your just talking about pure greed since the site no longer offers any service not available on every other search engine that simply points you to other search engines that might get you to a torrent file(yahoo, google, etc.)

I guess everyone should get more familiar with translating software so we can use the none-English torrent sites.

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