Forced MPAA Filter On IsoHunt Means Legitimate Content Is Being Censored

from the not-cool dept

One of the more bizarre rulings in copyright/file sharing cases was the district court ruling in the IsoHunt search engine case a couple years ago. It's still involved in the appeals process, but the district court is one of the only courts so far to broadly interpret the DMCA's "red flags" rule to mean that general knowledge means you have to block access. The ruling ended up being that IsoHunt basically had to accept a keyword filter from the MPAA and block all access to anything that matched the keywords. As you can imagine, that's leading to significant overblocking of legitimate content.

TorrentFreak has the unfortunate story of filmmaker Brian Taylor, who released a short horror film called "the Bite" via his En Queue Film production studio, and decided to distribute it via isoHunt. However, that's when things went bad:

"I got it going, had downloads start from the US and Europe almost immediately, which made me a very happy guy," Taylor told TorrentFreak.

However, this enthusiasm faded quickly when he tried to access the torrent from a US connection a day later. Instead of a link to the torrent file the filmmaker was welcomed with the following message. “Torrent has been censored, as required by US court.”

They also note that a torrent of public domain music has been blocked by the MPAA (even though the MPAA's filter is about movies, not music). Of course, this is what happens when you force overblocking and the use of technologically stupid filtering methods like keywords. What's amazing is that a court made this same mistake a decade ago with Napster (forcing keyword blocking) and it didn't work then, and doesn't work now. It's amazing that judges who clearly are technologically illiterate find it reasonable to make rules up out of thin air like this one, that not only does little to block any actual infringement, but does plenty to block legitimate uses of tools.

Filed Under: brian taylor, censorship, dmca, filtering, mpaa
Companies: isohunt

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Apr 2012 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Jamendo is a music site offering access to more than 30,000 Creative Commons-licensed albums. All music is available for free via direct download and BitTorrent. features a few thousand torrents specifically tailored towards the gaming community, but we’re not just talking patches and demo relases: The site also offers access to a few hundred trailers, previews and in some cases even full-featured films promoting games like Grand Theft Auto IV, Guild Wars 2 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.

    Public Domain Torrents is a slightly older site with the occasional database error, but that only seems to be fitting for the subject matter. The site features hundreds of torrents for movies with expired copyright. In other words: Pretty old stuff. Or classics, depending on your point of view.

    Legit Torrents is aggregating legally available torrents from various sources, with the content including the NIN concert DVD Another Version of the Truth and the Michael Moore film Slacker Uprising.

    Limecast is a podcast directory operated by the makers of Limewire. Users can opt to stream or download clips right within their browser, or access torrent files for episodes of popular podcasts like GeekBrief.TV, Diggnation or the Ricky Gervais Podcast. Not all the feeds seem to be up to date, but the site is still pretty neat.

    Mininova is still serving access to close to 10,000 legitimate torrents, including HD space mission footage from NASA, documentaries from public broadcasters and user-generated animation shorts. Mininova still clocks about 300,000 downloads per day.

    Blizzard games studio, makers of World of Warcraft, use torrents to distribute all their content. From new installs to patches.

    Most of that was pulled from:

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