IsoHunt Settles The Last Of Its Lawsuits, Laughably Agrees To 'Pay' Recording Industry $66 Million

from the i'm-sure-musicians-will-see-nothing dept

You may recall that almost three years ago, the BitTorrent search engine IsoHunt agreed to shut down and to "pay" Hollywood studios $110 million. The number was a joke, because IsoHunt and its creator didn't have $110 million. It's just that the legacy copyright players always like to end these lawsuits with a giant headline grabbing number, while they've quietly agreed to accept very little, if any, actual money (and whatever money they do receive is not then distributed to any artists). The Sony email hack a few years back revealed that the industry does this frequently in closing out its lawsuits against search engines. IsoHunt was more or less forced into that settlement after the MPAA misled the court about IsoHunt's actions. But the court bought it, and the IsoHunt court rulings have created some really unfortunate precedents. It's the case that the legacy players always point to, because it's the only case to find that a search engine platform has "red flag knowledge" of copyright infringement without having specific knowledge of infringing files.

The case against Hollywood, however, wasn't the only case IsoHunt was fighting. It also was fighting the recording industry up in Canada in a case that began with IsoHunt filing for declaratory judgment that it didn't infringe in Canada, all the way back in 2008. The Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA), then sued back -- but did everything it could to keep the case out of the news because it was also fighting for new copyright laws in Canada... and part of its argument was that the existing Canadian copyright laws were inadequate to go after IsoHunt and similar sites.

Either way, despite the site itself shutting down and "paying" (ha ha) $110 million to Hollywood, the combined cases in Canada kept inching forward. A few days ago, IsoHunt founder Gary Fung announced that those cases have now been settled as well (found via TorrentFreak) with Fung agreeing to "pay" another $66 million he doesn't have. The settlement agreement is a fun read.

Fung's post on the topic has a bit of sarcasm:
And I want to congratulate both Hollywood and CRIA on their victories, in letting me off with fines of $110m and $66m, respectively. Thank you! Here’s to progress, and me leaving my life of innovative hobby to… something else?
He also declares victory in that he was never forced to give up any info on any IsoHunt users throughout all of this.

Either way, as with any other of these "victories" I'm still curious if either the recording or movie industries thinks these shut downs have actually caused anyone to go back to buying more of their products, or if people have just moved on to other ways of getting this kind of content?

Fung, meanwhile, also announced that he's working on a new product, which sounds like an attempt at using AI to get better search results to answer questions. He's given it the code-name AAG, which stands for the "App to Automate Googling." That suggests that he may receive a cease and desist from Google over trademark before too long. Hopefully, he still has the contact info for his lawyers...

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 25 Jul 2016 @ 12:03pm

    Pocket change

    If they're going to go nuts with the 'winnings', demanding amounts that they know full well will not, and can not be paid, they really should go all the way. $66 million? Please, they should have asked for $66 billion, or perhaps $66 x googol.

    I mean really, if one number that's impossibly high is good for PR purposes, clearly if they make the number even more insanely high that can only help, right? Demand more money than has ever existed, that'll really drive home the point of just how bad copyright infringement is right?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2016 @ 2:18pm

    Real justice

    Would be the "recipients" here being forced to pay taxes on their "winnings".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2016 @ 2:23pm

    my next app

    App to Simplify Search.

    It's gonna be big :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Confuseled (profile), 25 Jul 2016 @ 3:08pm

    I know what they will do with the money.

    They will use the money to re-release videotapes of all their media.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 25 Jul 2016 @ 3:32pm

      Re: I know what they will do with the money.

      Nah, that would actually be somewhat productive. Any money they get will just end up being funneled right back to the lawyers and/or lobbyists, with not so much as a cent going to the actual artists being 'protected' by lawsuits like this.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Jul 2016 @ 5:57pm

        Re: Re: I know what they will do with the money.

        To use a trope popular with copyright fans, what the recording industry does - using the same actual artists to campaign for penalties and funding without actually giving said artists any of the money - is the same as tumblr activists demanding that all males have their balls chopped off without making sure rape victims receive the help they require.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Padpaw (profile), 25 Jul 2016 @ 9:50pm

    doesn't america have debtor's prisons now?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 26 Jul 2016 @ 9:06am

    According to Hollywood accounting methods, these newly acquired $166 million decreased the losses to piracy from infinite dollars to infinite minus 166 million dollars. Can't you just think of the poor starving dead artists?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Jul 2016 @ 11:12am

    Even 60 million cents would be too much.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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