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...

Filed Under: canada, copyright, gary fung, red flag knowledge, settlement
Companies: cria, isohunt, mpaa

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

    my next app

    App to Simplify Search.

    It's gonna be big :)

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