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 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So....these filters show how hard it is to just remove all infringing content without taking out legitimate content and missing a ton of illegitimate content. This is the best solution that the court and MPAA lawyers could agree upon. So you have the audacity to say "well if isohunt would have thought up a better way to somehow remove all infringing content out of millions of user submitted posts daily they wouldn't have to follow this stupid court order."? Really so if they had just figured out a method that no one has ever been able to figure out they would have been fine.

    Also, you act like they have a choice in how they administer the filter. Its a court order to block the words given to them, they don't get to choose how to follow it. Its a fucking court order.

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