Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Judge Tells IsoHunt To Wave Magic Wand; Block All Infringement

from the good-luck-with-that dept

This really is not a huge surprise, but in the IsoHunt case the judge has now ordered site operator Gary Fung to magically stop anyone from infringing (Update: as noted in the comments this is just a "proposed" order, but it seems likely that this is where the judge is heading). It is, as Fung notes, effectively a shut down order. There's no legitimate way for Fung to magically know what content is infringing and what is not, since his system is really no different than a search engine. While the original ruling concerned a few of Fung's actions that the judge claimed were inducing, it looks like the judge won't even give Fung a chance to try to set up a non-inducing search engine.

There are some odd statements in the ruling, including the judge claiming:
"It is axiomatic that the availability of free infringing copies of plaintiffs' works through defendants' websites irreparably undermines the growing legitimate market for consumers to purchase access to the same works,"
There's just one (big) problem with that. It is not at all axiomatic. We've seen many content creators embrace file sharing as part of a legitimate market, and in doing so, make more money. So the judge is claiming something that is a universal truth that is false. That seems quite troubling.

Separately, the ruling seems to suggest that a keyword filter might stop the infringement. That takes me back. Judge Patel in the original Napster case made the same demand, and it was a disaster, because a keyword filter is useless.

But the bigger issue is that the judge seems to have gone way beyond what the law actually says and allows in this situation. The site can be barred for inducing infringement, but that doesn't mean a site automatically must block anything that might be infringing.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Mar 2010 @ 6:39pm

    The MPAA et al are getting their way, they're starting to destroy anything that could offer people competing CC media. The MPAA is not concerned with copyprivilege infringement, they are concerned with the fact that people can offer free content under a Creative Commons license that competes with their media and so they want to shut down anything and everything that can distribute such content.

    This is sad, how a privilege that is not even owed to some entity that does not even produce or contribute anything meaningful to society forces everyone to destroy, and increase the cost of maintaining, perfectly good technology for no good reason.

    No one owes you a copy privilege and i don't want your stupid privilege to interfere with my right to use or provide others with a service (like bit Torrent) and neither do I want your stupid privilege to make it more expensive to use or provide such services. GET OUT OF OUR LIVES AND DIE ALREADY, I want your broken business model to DIE and I want your business to die. Find another job.

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