The torrent search engine IsoHunt will shut down as part of a settlement in a massive piracy suit filed by Hollywood studios. This search engine for BitTorrent files founded more than a decade ago, has agreed today to shut down all its operations worldwide. The settlement terms include a $110 million judgment against IsoHunt and its Canadian owner, Gary Fung, ending a long legal battle over its operations.
MPAA chairman Chris Todd said “[This settlement] sends a strong message that those who build businesses around encouraging, enabling, and helping others to commit copyright infringement are themselves infringers and will be held accountable for their illegal actions,”.
In defense IsoHunt argued that it was solely a neutral search engine and had never directly copied the illegal content to promote piracy. But that defense failed IsoHunt. It’s not clear how much of that the studios will actually be able to collect. As movie studios’ lawyers estimated that Fung and his company had only around “$5 million at the most” that they could possibly pay. The settlement also prohibits Fung from “further profiting from the infringement of MPAA member studio content.”
IsoHunt had been one of the most popular sites using the BitTorrent protocol, In 2009, an injunction was issued against the site, but IsoHunt continued to operate through private servers in Canada. After a district court ruled that IsoHunt’s infringement was “willfull,” they faced damages of $150,000 for each act of infringement. In addition to the settlement amount of $110 million, the agreement requires that IsoHunt shut down by Oct. 23, 2014, the MPAA said.
Meanwhile Fung has posted a farewell message saying”It’s sad to see my baby go,”. “But I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 10.5 years of Isohunt has been a long journey by any business definition, and forever in internet startup time.”