isoHunt Appeals Process Begins

from the not-so-simple dept

As we're still left scratching our heads over the US government's botched affidavit to seize Torrent-Finder, that includes numerous technical and legal errors -- and most importantly, does not take into account the First Amendment implications of domain name seizures -- it's worth remembering that a site that has a few similarities to Torrent-Finder, IsoHunt, is still involved in a legal fight concerning its operations.

While we keep hearing defenders of the domain name seizures claim that it's somehow "obvious" that Torrent-Finder is guilty of criminal copyright infringement, it pays to remember that IsoHunt, which is being charged with civil copyright infringement (which has a lower bar) has caused something of a stir in legal circles. The original ruling on IsoHunt broke some new ground in actually being one of the first (and perhaps most high profile case) to use the whole "Red Flag" claim to make IsoHunt guilty of contributory infringement. This is why lots of other cases now cite the district court's ruling in the IsoHunt case -- because it's really the only case that recognizes such "general knowledge" as removing DMCA safe harbors.

In other words, it's still a pretty open question how the courts will actually rule on this issue -- and yet Homeland Security and its supporters somehow think it's "obvious" that Torrent-Finder is even more guilty, despite a lack of any actual charges or a full trial? In its appeal, IsoHunt questions whether or not the injunctions placed by the judge in the district court ruling (who, it should be noted, still lets IsoHunt continue to exist, if in a modified form -- unlike the seizures) are violating the First Amendment in forcing search engines to somehow pre-censor their results, based on no factual evidence of infringement.

There certainly may be additional evidence that makes IsoHunt guilty of contributory infringement, but it's certainly not a clear cut question (though I can predict some folks in the comments will claim otherwise). However, considering that this legal battle is still being fought, it seems even more ridiculous for Homeland Security (or its recent college grad ICE agent) to declare that another search engine is somehow obviously guilty of criminal copyright infringement.

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2010 @ 10:40am

    Re:

    "torrent files have many legitimate uses as has been pointed out to you many, many times - Linux distros, CC media, WoW updates, etc. So why do you keep ignoring this?"

    they have a very few, selective legitimate uses. Of torrent traffic, I would suspect that all of these things represent a very small drop in the bucket.

    It is like saying dealing drugs is okay, because sometimes they also give someone an aspirin for their headaches. That Aspirin doesn't excuse all the other bad acts.

    The use of torrent for distribution by these people is an attmept to lower their own costs of operation. WoW does it to save the money it would cost them to host and distribute the updates themselves. It is a bottom line issue.

    Even at that, you don't see any of those types of files in the top lists of any torrent site. Torrent finder doesn't exist to help people find linux distros.

    So that makes the rest of your argument pretty weak. A small amount of valid uses doesn't excuse the overwhelming amount of illegal activity going on.

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