News

U.S. Court Rules Against isoHunt For Inducing Copyright Infringement

A U.S. federal court in California has issued a summary judgment against Canadian-based isoHunt (and its owner Gary Fung), ruling that the site violates U.S. copyright law by inducing copyright infringement.  The judge ruled that the isoHunt case is little different from other U.S. cases such as Napster and Grokster, therefore concluding that there is no need to proceed to a full trial and granting Columbia Pictures request for summary judgment. 

The court is dismissive of claims that differences in BitTorrent technology raises different legal issues from those addressed in the other peer-to-peer cases.  Moreover, the decision includes an extensive discussion of Fung's comments regarding P2P file sharing, which proved damaging to his case.  The court also notably concludes that inducement liability and the safe harbours found under the DMCA are incompatible – if you are found to have induced infringement, you cannot qualify for the safe harbour.  IsoHunt will presumably appeal the U.S. decision, but it marks a resounding victory for the movie studios that launched the case.

45 Comments

  1. Seth Johnson says:

    Once again . . .
    This is why we need a Napster (central server or decentralized) that provides tools to slice and dice works and put them together. Why is it taking so long for anybody to understand that that’s how to end all of this?

  2. Time for the studios to get their act together.
    So I guess it’s time for the MPAA and RIAA to get their collective acts together and negotiate streaming and download licenses that allow Canadians to watch and listen to media legally.

    Sorry, just tired of Canada being painted as a nation of pirates when there’s no legal equivalent of Netflix movie streaming and the iTunes TV & movie library is limited to b-list Canadian shows and Hockey Night In Canada. It’s like living in Bangladesh. Except with snow.

  3. @James
    It’s the ‘punishment’ that they have decided to place on us until we concede to their demands and put in place their laws.
    It also is the seed that feeds the very thing that they claim to be fighting. I wish people would just walk away from them and actually boycott them instead of stealing

  4. sorry infringing not stealing, had an RIAA brain freeze moment there

  5. @ac, that would be really a good thing to do. but between u and me and couple of 100, that wont do much to pass the message. it will only inflate their “lost sales due to piracy” (still can’t swallow the lost sale doctrine, how one can loose what he doesn’t own to begin with ???????????).
    a much more broad platform is needed, and speak of it as much as possible.

  6. Boycott them anyway. It can’t hurt. The RIAA and MPAA have been on my boycott list for almost a year now. It hasn’t been too tough either.. Most of the decent musicians have already abandoned the RIAA, and the MPAA for the most part stopped making movies worth seeing a long time ago.

  7. Oh boy, Sookman will be jizzing his pants right about now!


  8. So in reading the 46 pages. a note on the websites in question homepage that “if you live in the USA please leave the site”, and if the sites owners didn’t actually post any comments ever this would be a non issue.
    huh….
    It’s time to get real and either go after the people who download the actual files ( all 25 million of them at least in the USA who visited these sites in question ) or change copyright law globally to something that actually will work in the digital age.
    My guess is it’s cheaper and faster to change the law….
    I can hardly wait for Jan 11th when we see the next part of the saga.

  9. Gary Fung sure seems like a dangerous and sinister fellow, the 3 years they’ve spent trying to take him out have no doubt been well worth it.

    I notice that they keep racking up victories, but it seems like all of these battles are being waged against house wives or scrawny college kids.

  10. reply
    Hopefully if he gets shut down he will release his database of torrents for all to use
    http://www.emule-project.net

  11. So, the spammer in Quebec is a “fat chance” of coughing up the Facebook fines…
    … but they expect isoHunt to be shut?

    “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws”. – Martin Luther King

  12. Bullet proof Russian hosting.
    Don’t run a site like that from Canada. Incorporate in a country like the Caymans or Isle of Wight with non disclosure, host in Russia. Have the funds transferred to a separate incorporated entity that will then pay you.

  13. strunk&white says:

    bullet proof
    Great idea, Nemo. And while you’re at it, keep all your money in the Caymans as well, so Canada Revenue can’t get any of it. Why bother paying taxes in Canada if you don’t intend to obey the laws here anyway? Just enjoy the security and free health care, but maintain your business and wealth abroad where they don’t bother with such quality of life issues.

    Outstanding citizens on this site.

  14. Captain Hook says:

    @strunk&white

    Gary Fung has never said he doesn’t “intend to obey the laws here”. In fact he is trying to get a Canadian court to rule that what he does is legal in this country. http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/4572/125/

    Now that being said, I am in full agreement with the Martin Luther King quote above, and consider it perfectly applicable here. And believe me, I’m doing my very best to follow King’s advice as we speak :-)

  15. strunk&white says:

    Im a tool
    I was dropped on my head repeatedly as a child. Please forgive me. I know I cant engage in a reasoned debate so this is my fallback: call people names and make poor analogies. My job relies on being a middleman in a world where middlemen are being outsourced to free distribution platforms. I will continue to cry here because I have no where else to complain. I am too stupid to learn how to make my own site so I must come here to expel my excrement.

    Once again please forgive my rubbish outbursts.

    Gary Fung: you have my sword!

  16. So let me get this straight — Gary Fung, who doesn’t create any value, is some sort of hero to you people? He’s a liar and a thief. Here’s a guy who says there can’t be any pornography on his site, and monitors it carefully, but then says he can’t keep a link to the new Star Trek movie off his site. He’s a hypocrite who made millions off of other people’s hard work — and now the MPAA will chase him to the ends of the earth to get cash out of him. Who says there isn’t justice in the world?

  17. We already pay a dividend in Canada
    I figure you people are unaware, piracy is profiting from the sale of copyrighted works. Furthermore the media companies in Canada already receive a levy from every piece of blank recordable media sold. We pay for our right to infringe. Also by our laws we can possess copyrighted materials all we want provided we are not profiting off them. So could the US before they shot themselves in the foot with the DMCA. Perhaps the US could stop bowing to corporate pressure constantly and attempting to export that pressure abroad.

  18. Except
    Copyright is theft.

    If you keep getting paid for something you did once, you are not only lucky – you are also amoral.

  19. Anonymous Coward says:

    /. comment
    http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1489314&cid=30546580

    I used to read stuff like this and get upset. But then I realized that my entire generation knows it’s baloney. They can’t explain it intellectually. They have no real understanding of the subtleties of the law, or arguments about artists’ rights or any of that. All they really understand is there is a large corporation charging private citizens tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, for downloading a few songs here and there. And it’s intuitively obvious that it can’t possibly be worth that.

    So what’s happened is that this entire generation has disregarded copyright law. It’s become a moot point. They could release attack dogs and black helicopters and it wouldn’t really change people’s attitudes. It won’t matter how many websites they shut down or how many lives they ruin, they’ve already lost the culture war. At this point the only thing these corporations can do is shift the costs to the government and other corporations under color of law in a desperate bid for relevance. That’s pretty much what they’re doing.

    But what does this mean for the average person? Well, it means that we google and float around to an ever-changing landscape of sites. We communicate by word of mouth via e-mail, instant messaging, and social networking sites where the latest fix of free movies, music, and games are. If you don’t make enough money to participate in the artificial marketplace of entertainment goods — you don’t exclude yourself from it, you go to the grey market instead. And all the technological, legal, and philosophical barriers in the world amount to nothing because there’s a small core of people like you and I, here on slashdot, that do understand the implications of what they’re doing and we continually search for ways to screw them over and liberate their goods and services for “sale” on the grey market. It is, economically and politically, structurally identical to the Prohibition, except that instead of smuggling liquor we are smuggling digital files.

    Billions have been spent combatting a singularily simple idea that was spawned thirty years ago by a bunch of socially-inept disaffected teenagers working out of their garages: Information wants to be free. Except information has no wants — it’s the people who want to be free. And while we can change attitudes about smoking with aggressive media campaigns, and sell people material goods and services they don’t really need, we cannot change the fundamental aspects upon which our generation has built a new society out of.

    You can’t stop people talking — and just as we have physical connections to each other, increasingly we have digital connections to one another as well. These connections have, and continue to, actively resist attempts at control because doing so fundamentally impedes the development and nature of the relationships we have with one another. We will naturally seek the methods which give us the greatest freedom to express ourselves to each other. That is a force of nature (ours, specifically) that has evolved out of our interconnectedness, and it goes far, far beyond copyright. Ultimately, this is a battle they cannot win — they can only delay, building dams and locks to stem the tide, but they will fail. Forces of nature are unpredictable and in the end it always wins.

  20. Copyright Infringement Is Not Theft
    Sorry Peterboroug: fail times two. To start, nothing tangible is taken by the act of copying, so it’s not theft. And anyone can download copies of Zane Grey’s westerns for free starting January 1st 2010, but still have to pay today. Nothing immoral [sic] about that.

  21. iTunes content
    @James: “the iTunes TV & movie library is limited to b-list Canadian shows and Hockey Night In Canada”

    The next time you plan to offer a ridiculous claim, try to at least make it one that can’t be disproven with four clicks of a mouse button – two for the double-click to start iTunes, one to select the iTunes Store, and one to go to the TV section and be confronted with a page containing a huge ad offering to sell three seasons of Mad Men plus the associated soundtrack albums, above a “New & Noteworthy” section pushing Family Guy, The Vampire Diaries, Top Gear, 30 Rock, The Hills, Doctor Who, How I Met Your Mother, and V.

    That’s without even bothering to look in the movie section. One more click and a glance at the giant ad at the top of the screen confirms that either the iTunes library contains more than just Canadian movies, or we annexed South Africa without anyone bothering to tell me, and … pause to let the banner rotate … apparently also the Romulan homeworld.

  22. No trial? I’m so baffled. How can they not be guaranteed a trial under US law? Ok- US law shouldn’t even matter here given that this is a Canadian web site… but…

  23. Heck with the record labels
    If you look at some recent studies, the music business is in better shape and ever … for the ARTISTS. New bands get much more exposure, and more money is now spreading around to more people. In the ’90s it might be reasonable for a person to put down $20 for a music CD. But in contemporary times, when a digital copy is being made (no overhead cost), good luck getting people to pay that much for the music. Screw the music industry. They’ve been ripping off artists hand-over-fist for most of the 20th century. Taking way more a cut then they deserve. I couldn’t care less if they are suffering.

    Other point:

    The genie is out of the bottle. You can not get people to stop downloading stuff if they so choose. The solution is for artists to directly sell their products. If the price is right , and they offer superior transfer speeds and convenience, and accessibility, then the artists will be in okay shape, I imagine.

    As for the film industry, Hollywood can save itself by switching to 3D. That’ll bring people out to the theaters. If you look at the numbers as well (not the MIAA propaganda) , movies are making more profits than ever; all sorts of records were broke in 2009 for earnings. So how does that figure into the whole ‘piracy is killing movies’ thing?

    30.52

  24. Itunes Content
    Itunes content for movies is incredibly overpriced. they want the full cost of a DVD ($20.00 or more)for simply an encrypted movie download. Meh. For that price I’ll just buy the dvd and then rip it to the ipod.

  25. Captain Hook says:

    Tehehe, Sorry Larry you fail. But only once.

    Peterboroug didn’t say copyright INFRINGEMENT is theft. He said COPYRIGHT is theft. Read the next too. It wouldn’t make sense otherwise.

    Please do be more careful.

    Arrrrrrg

  26. US Law in Canada?
    What I am failing to understand here is why does this matter? From the article the website is Canadian so who cares what a US court says? As long as it obeys Canadian laws it is not a problem, if the US don’t like it they are free to block access to the site from the US, nobody is forcing them to connect.

  27. “We pay for our right to infringe.”
    This is false. We pay for the right to copy music for private use, which is explicitly exempt from infringement.

  28. Captain Hook says:

    Mallorn, now that the MAFIAA has a conviction in the States they can approach a Canadian court to apply to have Garry extradited. If they can demonstrate that he was conducting business in the States, then there is a fair chance of succeeding in having him extradited.

    Even without extradition, Fung’s liberties will be significantly restricted. He will never be able to travel to the states without being arrested, and he wont even be able to travel to many parts of Canada by plane because many such routes fly over US airspace. There would be a significant risk of the Americans ordering the plane to land mid route then arresting Fung.

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  30. Extradited
    In order for them to prove that he was doing business in the states, they got to prove a loss or a profit no? Anyhow, if it ever comes to that, I would highly support resistive action. You know, the PQ recently said that th seperation of Quebec from Canada could not be done in radical way they first envisioned. If it’s going to work, it must be done slowly, over time, so that no one really notices it until it happens. Seems like in these situations, Canadian sovereignty is what is being separated and the Americans are the ones looking for ownership. Would it be right for a Canadian court to charge Winchester because one of their rifles was used for killing someone in Canada? So why is it right for isohunt to be charged because someone in the states used their service to download something they did not own a license for.

  31. Will we get fed up?
    Just a thought. I didn’t write this, some dude named Quiet Desperation did in 2007:

    “BTW, I fully admit to being a looter. I know the law. I just don’t give a shit. In a world where our government is selling us out to another country, where illegal aliens are given more rights than citizens, where some soccer dude can get handed a quarter of a -*BILLION*- dollars for playing a game, why should I be a nice little nobody who follows all the rules? Fuck all that. It’s every man for himself from this point on.”

    Part of the reason for downloading, I think, is “sticking it to The Man”. I can’t think of a time in history when more laws were being passed to curb your freedoms, than to enhance them. I also can’t think of a time when more people were being swindled out of their wealth by a few.

    Maybe people are starting to get annoyed by this, and one of the ways they take out their frustrations is civil disobedience. When you think about it the word “disobedience” has is roots in the word, “obey”. Throughout human history enhanced obedience tends to involve many people losing freedoms to a few.

    The sad thing about it all is these few, compared to you, have basically endless resources and will to use them to make you obey. In days gone by, they would put you in the stockades for disobedience. These days they do something worse: they sue you until you are broke.

    Maybe we should start thinking more like Quiet Desperation.

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  33. The sooner people realize…
    The sooner people realize that intellectual property is a good system for allowing people to earn a living producing the stuff that society wants to consume the better. Pirates are really just the equivalent of people who don’t want to pay their taxes, but want all the benefits of other people paying their taxes. The reality is that if everyone thought like pirates and tax-evaders, the worse off we’d all be.

  34. Extradition
    I certainly hope Gary is not extradited. That just sounds scary for anyone creating innovation based on the web in Canada.

  35. Captain Hook says:

    @JC, and the sooner people realize that the intellectual property owners; through DRM, legal protection for DRM, extended copyright terms, and rediculous EULAs; are in effect collecting those taxes by breaking into my house and taking cash off my dresser, the sooner we may be able to have a reasonable intellectual property system that people will be more willing to respect.

    Until then. Arrrrrrr, prepare to be boarded, we’re taking what we want from you scurvy government sanctioned low lives. At least we pirates are honest about what we do.

  36. Excuse me, but why would these guys comments on copyright and other things be brought into court? As they say, they are prejudicial and aren’t ‘part of the material facts of the case’, so shouldn’t they have not been allowed?

  37. cobolhacker said:

    Will we get fed up?
    Just a thought. I didn’t write this, some dude named Quiet Desperation did in 2007:

    “BTW, I fully admit to being a looter. I know the law. I just don’t give a shit. In a world where our government is selling us out to another country, where illegal aliens are given more rights than citizens, where some soccer dude can get handed a quarter of a -*BILLION*- dollars for playing a game, why should I be a nice little nobody who follows all the rules? Fuck all that. It’s every man for himself from this point on.”

    Part of the reason for downloading, I think, is “sticking it to The Man”. I can’t think of a time in history when more laws were being passed to curb your freedoms, than to enhance them. I also can’t think of a time when more people were being swindled out of their wealth by a few.

    Maybe people are starting to get annoyed by this, and one of the ways they take out their frustrations is civil disobedience. When you think about it the word “disobedience” has is roots in the word, “obey”. Throughout human history enhanced obedience tends to involve many people losing freedoms to a few.

    The sad thing about it all is these few, compared to you, have basically endless resources and will to use them to make you obey. In days gone by, they would put you in the stockades for disobedience. These days they do something worse: they sue you until you are broke.

    Maybe we should start thinking more like Quiet Desperation.
    _______________________________

    I agree with this statement…. maybe it is time that we start thinking like Quiet Desperation and simply saying “F’ You!” to the ‘lawmakers’ and law enforcement who don’t seem to take into account what NORMAL people want anymore.

    As they say…. give me liberty, or give me death…… and YOUR DEATH as well if you won’t give me liberty!

  38. Buy a law, get justice free
    Da Man

    So let me get this straight — Gary Fung, who doesn’t create any value, is some sort of hero to you people? He’s a liar and a thief. Here’s a guy who says there can’t be any pornography on his site, and monitors it carefully, but then says he can’t keep a link to the new Star Trek movie off his site. He’s a hypocrite who made millions off of other people’s hard work — and now the MPAA will chase him to the ends of the earth to get cash out of him. Who says there isn’t justice in the world?

    All of the arguments I’ve read so far from the entertainment cartels basically claim they’re morally superior, and that’s ALL of their ammunition.

    There is no morality in copyright law, not anymore. Just because you entertainment cartels can buy your laws doesn’t make your laws moral. African slavery was legal “Somewhere” once (I wonder where hmm…) but not anymore. Now, slavery just changed form from human whippings to Cultural Slavery. Cultural Slavery is when you entertainment cartels steal from the public domain and lock them all under copyright, via your laws, until the end of time.

    Your morality is on collapsing foundation with ever increasing public opposition. Your claims of Gary Fung’s hypocrisy is laughable; and the justice you seek is also laughable. Give your superior morals a rest, so we can talk about real issues, such as immoral cartels buying their laws around the world!

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  41. Extradition
    I certainly hope Gary is not extradited. That just sounds scary for anyone creating innovation based on the web in Canada

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  42. Why don’t they cooperate?
    Why don’t gary and the suer cooperate by creating a membership site that can download all the movie for a small fee?.

    In this case, The one that get hurt the most is … customer. Instead of providing a cheaper (but legal( movie by suing people all the money goes to the lawyers!. and we as the customer will be once again forced to take the burden by indirectly paying for the wasteful money payed to the lawyer.

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