Is Forcing IsoHunt To Block Search Terms A First Amendment Violation?
from the legal-questions... dept
Given similar rulings, and the judge's comments so far in the IsoHunt case, I find it quite unlikely that the company has any chance of getting out from under the injunction issued against it. However, IsoHunt's lawyer, Ira Rothken (who has been involved in a few similar lawsuits), is trying to make the case that the current injunction is way too broad and a violation of the First Amendment. The argument is that the injunction bars certain searches, telling Isohunt operator Gary Fung that he cannot allow searches for certain movie titles, such as Alice in Wonderland. But, Rothken points out, the movie studios don't own that name. They may own a particular movie under that name, but using that to block all searches on the name goes beyond what the law allows:
One issue concerns how Fung should remove searches from his three search engines: Isohunt, Torrentbox and Podtropolis. The Motion Picture Association of America, which brought the case, has sent keyword searches it wants removed, like the number 10, Alice in Wonderland and Dracula, Rothken said.I'm sure that copyright system defenders will brush this off as being a pointless exercise, but he's actually got a very reasonable point. Asking for blocks on names alone seems to go well beyond what the law is supposed to allow. It's yet another example of the difference between real copyright law and file sharing copyright law. Copyright law does not allow for a block based on just a name. But, apparently "file sharing copyright law" does. And that's a problem, if you actually believe in the rule of law and interpreting the law accurately.
"One person's copyrighted Wizard of Oz is another person's public domain work," Rothken said in a brief telephone interview Tuesday. He said the movie studios should provide URLs or hashes, which would positively identify which search link should be removed.
"The motion picture studios do not have a monopoly on names on things. That is where the injunction is violating the First Amendment," he said.