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
    Not an electronic Rodent, 23 Dec 2010 @ 6:08am


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