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. icon
    Machin Shin (profile), 9 Apr 2012 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    None of those compare to what you get from torrents and you are kidding yourself thinking they are. YouTube, Vimeo and such end up being lower quality and they are streams. A stream of a video is not the same as actually having the video file.

    You then point to free web hosts. I guess you missed the part about being FAST. On a free web host you are going to be sharing a server with who knows how many other web pages. If you get 10-20 people downloading an HD video from your site while others are on the other pages on the server then it is going to be a crawl. Not to mention the fact the host will promptly throttle you or just kick you off.

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