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Judge damns IsoHunt

Judge damns IsoHunt

The IsoHunt search engine could be closing its doors following an order to remove infringing content by a US District Judge.

Popular BitTorrent search engine Isohunt has been ordered to take all copyright infringing links down - and a US company is chasing an estimated 20,000 US resident users of the site for alleged file sharing.

Following the UK ruling against binary Usenet provider Newzbin this week, the news has broken that IsoHunt's founder Gary Fung has been ordered to cleanse the site of all BitTorrent files which link to infringing content - which is to say, most of IsoHunt.

According to a write-up over on Ars Technica, the ruling - handed down by US District Judge Stephen Wilson - follows years of legal wrangling between Fung and the court system following complaints of copyright infringement by the Motion Picture Association of America. The order to remove links to infringing content comes after Fung attempted the "we're just another search engine" defence - which sadly didn't go down well with the judge, who sided with the MPAA's response that IsoHunt is a search engine dedicated to finding and downloading copyright content illicitly.

The ruling will likely result in Fung being forced to close IsoHunt's doors for good - although plans to introduce an IsoHunt Lite which the courts might not find so offensive are in the works, with a beta version available now.

While that's bad news for users of the site, there's worse to come for them: the US Copyright Group - which describes itself as "an ad hoc coalition of independent film producers" - has taken a leaf out of the books of several UK law firms and started sending threatening letters to US residents accusing them of sharing copyright content via peer-to-peer networks.

According to BoingBoing's Cory Doctorow, the group is currently proceeding through the courts in an attempt to force ISPs to hand over details on around 20,000 customers accused of illicit file sharing - with another 30,000 requests waiting in the wings.

The move by the US Copyright Group echos that made by UK law firm Davenport Lyons back in 2008, which saw the company sending threatening letters demanding money to users it believed were sharing copyright content online - a tactic which earned it the ire of consumer rights organisation Which?, and something the company is now distancing itself from. Sadly, it appears that more organisations are willing to pick up the baton of what many are calling 'speculative invoicing.'

Are you surprised to see courts taking a dim view of services like IsoHunt? Are you worried that you might be receiving a letter from the US Copyright Group? Can you think of a better way of ensuring that rights holders are compensated for their efforts than the threat of legal action against file sharers? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

41 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Denis_iii 1st April 2010, 11:13 Quote
any recomendations on one of those internet browsing privacy services?
AshT 1st April 2010, 11:15 Quote
Everybody has a price they are willing to pay for goods. It is a matter of striking that price before the buyers hit on 'other methods' of accessing the products.
kylew 1st April 2010, 11:32 Quote
You remove one, another 2, better ones pop up.
13eightyfour 1st April 2010, 11:37 Quote
Whats the legality of downloading TV shows that arent available in your own country? There are a few TV shows that ive downloaded because at the time they werent available or shown in the uk.
kylew 1st April 2010, 11:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by titanium angel
Whats the legality of downloading TV shows that arent available in your own country? There are a few TV shows that ive downloaded because at the time they werent available or shown in the uk.

You will be told that it's illegal, but there's nothing they can do about it.
Unknownsock 1st April 2010, 11:41 Quote
So when will it kick in to the developers they need to make more quality products?
Or why can't they use p2p/torrents to their advantage?

Were surrounded by idiots.
Bindibadgi 1st April 2010, 11:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kylew
You will be told that it's illegal, but there's nothing they can do about it.

It is illegal. It's entirely up to the content holders who sees and who doesn't see it. It's the same as if you want Mountain Dew (the proper stuff) that they don't sell in the UK. You can import it, but it'll cost you more.
Cool_CR 1st April 2010, 11:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by kylew
You will be told that it's illegal, but there's nothing they can do about it.

shaky ground it depends on whether some owns the copy right not whether its out or not if someone has bought uk rights say for a an anime then they can take there own sweet time translating/dubing and anything else they want before releasing if you DL in they UK while there doing they can have you.

If no one owns the copy right in the country your DL in then its frowned on by the authoritys but havent heard of anyone being prosactuted.
MadGinga 1st April 2010, 12:00 Quote
Question:
If a TV program has been aired in your country, and you then download it becasue you want to keep a copy. Whats the difference between that and recording it straight off the TV using a PVR or something similar?

MadG
kylew 1st April 2010, 12:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cool_CR
Quote:
Originally Posted by kylew
You will be told that it's illegal, but there's nothing they can do about it.

shaky ground it depends on whether some owns the copy right not whether its out or not if someone has bought uk rights say for a an anime then they can take there own sweet time translating/dubing and anything else they want before releasing if you DL in they UK while there doing they can have you.

If no one owns the copy right in the country your DL in then its frowned on by the authoritys but havent heard of anyone being prosactuted.

Yeah, no one's been prosecuted, in fact, people who simply download copyrighted materials haven't been prosecuted either.

When you see that some has has been "done" it's actually for uploading, they get them on "supplying illegal content" basically.

To simply download, they will tell you that it's illegal but there is absolutely nothing they can actually do about it.

People who pay up do so because they're being bullied and told they can lose a lot of money and so on.
Xir 1st April 2010, 12:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadGinga
Question:
If a TV program has been aired in your country, and you then download it becasue you want to keep a copy. Whats the difference between that and recording it straight off the TV using a PVR or something similar?

MadG


Simple, the first is illegal, the second isn't. :D

We're talking law and corporate business here, there's no room for...Logic ;)
AshT 1st April 2010, 12:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
It is illegal. It's entirely up to the content holders who sees and who doesn't see it. It's the same as if you want Mountain Dew (the proper stuff) that they don't sell in the UK. You can import it, but it'll cost you more.

We really need some better way of getting US TV shows into UK/Europe. I am fed up of being on forums where the users watched episodes sometimes weeks before myself. Which is also why I tend to 'obtain' them quicker than would usually be possible ... Provide the shows at the same time universally and problem solved, advertising revenues go up due to viewing numbers ...

In an ideal world hey.
MadGinga 1st April 2010, 12:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xir
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadGinga
Question:
If a TV program has been aired in your country, and you then download it becasue you want to keep a copy. Whats the difference between that and recording it straight off the TV using a PVR or something similar?

MadG


Simple, the first is illegal, the second isn't. :D

We're talking law and corporate business here, there's no room for...Logic ;)

Hmm, I was under the impression that the second was also illegal also, just like recording music off the radio. But as they can't/couldn't monitor it they can't/couldn't do anything about it.

My ideal world would involve TV, film, any media, being released simultaneously (or as near to as logistically possible) around the world. Alongside a DRM free format that any and all online (or bricks and mortar for that matter) retailers can sell at a reasonable price. So basically the same method of retail for DVDs, CDs, etc, but applied exactly the same to digital media as well.

MadG

P.S. yes, i know some DVDs and CDs come with DRM of some sort, but its no where near as intrusive/deal-killing as that publishers and retailers try and foist on us as consumers with digital media.
RichCreedy 1st April 2010, 12:56 Quote
as i understand it, there is an international agreement on copyrights, it doesn't matter if the copyright holder is in another country, they still own the copyright, and if so inclined, may take action against anyone found to be infringing that copyright.

just as a side note, the coyright holder would need to use the courts of the country where the infringement happened.
RichCreedy 1st April 2010, 13:01 Quote
in the days of vhs, you were allowed to record tv shows for later viewing, but were technically supposed to erase the recording, once watched, the same applies to pvrs, once watched your supposed to delete the content.
rimscar 1st April 2010, 13:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AshT
We really need some better way of getting US TV shows into UK/Europe. I am fed up of being on forums where the users watched episodes sometimes weeks before myself. Which is also why I tend to 'obtain' them quicker than would usually be possible ... Provide the shows at the same time universally and problem solved, advertising revenues go up due to viewing numbers ...

In an ideal world hey.

Don't be silly AshT, if you own a PC you are a criminal, so get used to it :D
And the reason we get shows so much later than the USA is because of that big wet thing in between us. Apparently that screws up data by slowing it all down as it passes, much in the same way as it manages to increase exponentially the cost....
And think of all the people it would put out of work who deal with all the region coding, or putting film trailers or antipiracy/"don't show this on an oil rig" warnings.
And what about those special USA versions of films/bluray packages that you can't get over here?
Or what about when they cancel the series in the US, just as we start getting into it over here...
I`m frightened to think how much money i would have lost had i gone to visit the flicks to watch the 10 godawful films per one really good one the film industry is churning out at the moment.
And before anyone thinks piracy, no, i borrow films i may have an interest in and if they are worth it i buy the bluray---if they've put any effort in the transfer/extras etc :( :D

Perhaps if they sorted out their own "mine, mine, mine" philosophy and adopted Gabe Newell's mantra of "what have we done for the consumer today", we potential purchasers would be a whole helluva lot more sympathetic to their cause.

Feckers
theflatworm 1st April 2010, 13:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
Quote:
Originally Posted by kylew
You will be told that it's illegal, but there's nothing they can do about it.

It is illegal. It's entirely up to the content holders who sees and who doesn't see it. It's the same as if you want Mountain Dew (the proper stuff) that they don't sell in the UK. You can import it, but it'll cost you more.

Given that most DVDs are region locked, you actually can't import it. Well, not unless you have a region-free DVD player.
battles_atlas 1st April 2010, 15:02 Quote
Its such mind blowing hypocrisy for an industry that feeds, and relies upon, the notion that we the consumer should get what we want, when we want, to at the same time try desperately to hold onto a business model of 'copyright regions' which prevents us from accessing content legally, and is entirely archaic in the internet age.

I just downloaded series 4 and 5 of sunny in philadelphia, illegally. I tried buying it, but they didn't bother releasing it over here, at least yet. I actually bought the US version of series 3, only to run into the problem of the fricking region protection on my dvd drive. Its the same with films - if its something I want to see then I'll see it - if you wont allow me a legal means of doing that because you're too busy marketing it in America instead, then tough - I'll find other means.

Until every product is available to download, in all countries, at sensible prices, at the same time, and without insane Ubisoft esque DRM, the industry should shut up about piracy.
Xir 1st April 2010, 15:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichCreedy
in the days of vhs, you were allowed to record tv shows for later viewing, but were technically supposed to erase the recording, once watched, the same applies to pvrs, once watched your supposed to delete the content.

Correct.
Which is why we pay an extra charge on VCR's, VCR tapes, DVD-Burners and blank DVD's.
All of us
jj7 1st April 2010, 16:54 Quote
The hammer is comming down , the scummbags are macking thier move what will the law abiding people do , can i remind everyone the LAW is not actually the law thier just a bunch of fools we should tell them aaallll to get FU##ED cause we want our FREEDOM to do what we want to do aslong as it physicaly hurts no one person . this should be a free land-world ruled by commonsense not old FU##S whith old ideas we rule them they dont rule US ,this isnt the DARK AGES if we all stand together they will cack themselves the muthr fu##ers .jj7
jj7 1st April 2010, 17:18 Quote
when i said no one person i didnt mean that its ok if we hurt more than one person got that good and its easter so remember that hurting people is not good Jesus teachs us that , remember what he went through .jj7
Hugo 1st April 2010, 17:43 Quote
The best thing about IsoHunt is the HTTPS access - every little helps, after all.
ZERO <ibis> 1st April 2010, 23:35 Quote
"I should clarify with misleading reporting out there that there's no order, only a PROPOSED order. @Mashable sums up the problematic issues we are debating nicely: "It’s understandable that the entertainment industry is going after large torrent sites, as they point to thousands of links to copyright-infringing content.... But so does Google. Is Isohunt’s search box different than Google’s search box? What exactly is Isohunt doing that’s illegal?"

If there's an actual order, we would have announced it and implemented it by now. We haven't."
Fizzban 2nd April 2010, 01:06 Quote
You can have copyrighted content on your PC so long as you haven't watched it or shared it. So basically if you don't share it or you use clever proxy-bollocks it can't be proved you shared it..and who the hell can prove you watched it, unless you have backed it all up and filed it? No one. Downloading is not illegal..at least not in Britain..its what you do with it that counts.
GiantStickMan 2nd April 2010, 08:44 Quote
That's a shame, I love IsoHunt. i used to use it to download Top Gear. Here in Australia the version they are showing (on commercial TV now BOOO) has all of the intro cut out, the news segment and various other bits to trim the length of the show down to allow for more ads. It basically ruins the show. So i've been downloading it. They have released *some* DVD's out here, and I own all of them, but they are still a good 3 seasons behind. I will miss IsohHunt. :'(
H2SO4 2nd April 2010, 10:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by MadGinga
Question:
If a TV program has been aired in your country, and you then download it because you want to keep a copy. What's the difference between that and recording it straight off the TV using a PVR or something similar?

MadG
In the UK we all pay a licence fee to watch TV and most of the major TV stations provide websites for us to view and download programs we want to watch for free online. I also believe that the law allows us to record and watch programs in our homes for our own private viewing. Public performances require a fee to be paid for the privilege.

I have no idea what happens in other countries where TV isn't centralised as it is in the UK.
RichCreedy 2nd April 2010, 12:37 Quote
downloading copyright material is illegal, unless you have the copyright holders permission. you do not have open permission to download any copyright material.

it is up to the copyright holder to prosecute offenders, and it is also up to the copyright holder to prove you have commited an offence, this is the difficult part. the copyright holder needs to know who has downloaded, copied or shared what, then prove it.

i suspect, +90% of internet connected households has unlawfully downloaded something at sometime. and it would be difficult to go after all those people.
AstralWanderer 2nd April 2010, 18:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
It is illegal. It's entirely up to the content holders...
Mmm...not necessarily, it depends on definition.

In the UK, section 22 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 states:

The copyright in a work is infringed by a person who, without the licence of the copyright owner, imports into the United Kingdom, otherwise than for his private and domestic use, an article which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe is, an infringing copy of the work.

That means if you can persuade a court that a download is equivalent to an import (which would seem reasonable if taken from a server in another country) and that it was for private/domestic use, then it should be legal.

This would not however cover file-sharing since you would be uploading as well as downloading.
Nature 2nd April 2010, 19:41 Quote
RIP
thehippoz 2nd April 2010, 20:01 Quote
isohunt is elite (run by an asian) it's gotten too popular for it's own good.. I don't think the saddle poppers should have access to copyrighted material myself
dark_avenger 3rd April 2010, 10:53 Quote
I've said it before and i'll say it again the best way to stop piracy
is to make it so easy and so cheap to get the content legally that pirating the content is not worth it.

If every movie was AUS$5 and you could download it from a high speed server then why would you pirate it?
Bindibadgi 3rd April 2010, 11:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AstralWanderer
Mmm...not necessarily, it depends on definition.

In the UK, section 22 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 states:

The copyright in a work is infringed by a person who, without the licence of the copyright owner, imports into the United Kingdom, otherwise than for his private and domestic use, an article which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe is, an infringing copy of the work.

That means if you can persuade a court that a download is equivalent to an import (which would seem reasonable if taken from a server in another country) and that it was for private/domestic use, then it should be legal.

This would not however cover file-sharing since you would be uploading as well as downloading.

It wasnt done in a manor that any content provider will say is OK. Imported DVD sales they still get a cut of and are a legal grey area that DVD regions "should" prevent.
Pookeyhead 3rd April 2010, 11:11 Quote
This is so annoying. I use ISO Hunt all the time. I don't torrent illegal material, but I do torrent all my TV programs. I never watch TV when it's actually broadcast, and iPlayer is crap. I grab a torrent for my shows in 720 or 1080 and watch it when it's convenient for me. I fail to see the difference between that and recording it live off air to watch later.

Why can't they just clear it up of illegal movies, apps and music, and leave people who just use it as yet another method of time shifting their TV viewing alone.
gnutonian 3rd April 2010, 18:59 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookeyhead
This is so annoying. I use ISO Hunt all the time. I don't torrent illegal material, but I do torrent all my TV programs. I never watch TV when it's actually broadcast, and iPlayer is crap. I grab a torrent for my shows in 720 or 1080 and watch it when it's convenient for me. I fail to see the difference between that and recording it live off air to watch later.

Why can't they just clear it up of illegal movies, apps and music, and leave people who just use it as yet another method of time shifting their TV viewing alone.
Because the TV shows are copyrighted material as well. You get to watch what the TV networks want, when they want.

Unless, of course, the BBC (with the licence fee) would make torrents available for UK users... It's not like filesharing would cause a big load on their servers.
docodine 6th April 2010, 07:21 Quote
GG isohunt, I'm being forced to use Google Isohunt Lite now..
gavomatic57 6th April 2010, 09:10 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
It is illegal. It's entirely up to the content holders who sees and who doesn't see it. It's the same as if you want Mountain Dew (the proper stuff) that they don't sell in the UK. You can import it, but it'll cost you more.

If it is BBC programmes I'd be rather miffed at someone from outside the UK obtaining it illegally - our TV tax paid for it!
Xir 6th April 2010, 14:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by gavomatic57
If it is BBC programmes I'd be rather miffed at someone from outside the UK obtaining it illegally - our TV tax paid for it!

No problem, equal it out by nicking Ggerman TV payed for by German licence payers. :D
Or Dutch TV payed for by Dutch licence payers. :D

Seriously, you're not the only ones to pay licences, and not the only producers of TV shows...;)
It's a LOT easier to get German TV in the UK* than otherwise round though...

Xir

*anywhere in europe really
thehippoz 6th April 2010, 18:48 Quote
thing that bothers me is the type of person that uses isohunt.. they usually can afford it and from the comments left- dumb as hell.. so why should they be given access to copyrighted software on a platter?

this generally sums up what you see in the comments section of isohunt

http://img90.imageshack.us/img90/1959/thestupiditburns.jpg

I can feel for people who use it legit.. can't get information through other means or can't afford certain apps like photoshop.. or even tv shows or movies as they are low quality anyway- I'm talking mainly about games.. most anyone can afford a game but you see these total imbeciles who can't even open a rar file downloading and then complaining about releases they can't get running.. f them strait up
AstralWanderer 6th April 2010, 21:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bindibadgi
It wasnt done in a manor that any content provider will say is OK. Imported DVD sales they still get a cut of and are a legal grey area that DVD regions "should" prevent.
Content provider consent is immaterial with that section of legislation. It covers individuals who have purchased, almost certainly knowingly, infringing material (e.g. copied discs from a market stall in the Far East) for personal use. It differentiates between commercial copyright infringement and individual infringement - an unusually sensible step given the litigious nature of certain copyright holders.
Combatus 4th August 2010, 15:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unknownsock

Or why can't they use p2p/torrents to their advantage?

Were surrounded by idiots.

This is a question I've been asking for years. In the beginning there were no legitimate download services, only illegal ones. Even now, over a decade since Napster launched, we're only just seeing some decent legal download/streaming services that are worth using and even worth paying for. People will pay for content, but only if it's cheap and easy enough to obtain - the latter has been missing from all but a few services until recently. Get it right and you get iTunes - over 10 billion songs downloaded since it's launch. The entertainment industry hasn't got it right or wrong, they haven't even bothered.
Elledan 4th August 2010, 15:23 Quote
Here in the Netherlands at least downloading copyrighted video and audio is 100% legal, meaning that when I download shows which aren't being broadcast here yet, I'm perfectly in the clear :)
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