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.