(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
copyright, inducement

Companies:
isohunt



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.

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:35am

    FAIL

    why are you trying to be wankers like the rest of them isohunt

    WHY
    all this does is say to the users dont bother we ( isohunt) want to suck as bad as them

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

  • identicon
    John Doe, 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:37am

    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.

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

  • icon
    Tom Landry (profile), 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:44am

    The site essentially works like an aggregator anyhow so wouldn't he simply be better off linking directly to the sites (most are from TPB) he's pointing to? Seems that would keep him out of trouble.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2010 @ 6:59am

    Just use GOOGLE!!!!

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

  • icon
    Pitabred (profile), 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:26am

    Their/There/They're

    "did not intend for their to be an inducement standard in copyright law"

    There.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2010 @ 7:33am

    Seriously people, type in to google ---> "google torrent search"

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

  • icon
    crade (profile), 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:15am

    Have I been using the word "induce" wrong my whole life or does it not really fit this scenario? Shouldn't they can it something more applicable like encouraging, promoting or even assisting? I don't see how a passive website can induce anything.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Feb 2010 @ 8:43am

    Huh?

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2010 @ 9:20am

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2010 @ 9:29am

      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."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2010 @ 10:42am

    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.

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

  • identicon
    The Doctor, 2 May 2010 @ 9:49am

    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.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.