The Canadian isoHunt Litigation: The CRIA Cease and Desist Letter That Started it All

The letter included the following:

The unauthorized copying of our members’ sound recordings that occurs as a result of the operation of the isoHunt Site causes irreparable harm to CRIA record companies and their recording artists. As such, our client considers this to be an exceptionally serious matter. Under the Canadian Copyright Act, a rights holder is entitled to seek statutory damages of up to $20,000 for each sound recording infringed. In addition, our client’s members would be entitled to seek legal costs, punitive damages, and injunctive relief.

Given the above, our client requests that you immediately:

1. remove the isoHunt Site from the internet;
2. cease operating any BitTorrent tracker or indexing site that infringes the copyrights of our client’s members; and
3. preserve records, including all electronic records related to the use and operation of the isoHunt Site, such as, without limitation, the electronic logs of all inbound and outbound traffic to the website, including the IP addresses of all visitors to the site.

Please reply forthwith to confirm that you have taken the above actions to comply with the foregoing demands. Given the seriousness of this matter to our client, if we do not receive a satisfactory response within five business days, we may not provide any further notice before legal action is commenced against you.

The demand from CRIA is clear. Much like the court documents that followed, it argues isoHunt is violating current Canadian law and it threatens to use the law if it does not agree to its demands. In other words, years of arguing in court and demand documents that Canadian law is good enough to stop sites like isoHunt accompanied by years of telling government officials that it can’t.


  1. Reeve Wilkie says:

    Major labels lie. This is not news.

  2. James Gannon says:

    Doesn’t the fact that this letter is dated almost 3 years ago and IsoHunt is still operating show that Canadian law is indeed inadequate to deal with massive piracy enablers?

  3. Reeve Wilkie says:

    The thing is, James, is that if you sue IsoHunt, which is really just a search engine, you must also then sue Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Alta Vista, Ask Jeeves, etc. All the above search engines are “massive piracy enablers”. In fact the whole internet itself is a massive piracy enabler by this reasoning.

    Perhaps if Sony/Warner/Universal/EMI sold their product at lower prices people would buy it. I will NOT pay $20 for a CD. Price it at $10, now we’re talking.

  4. Recording industry just can’t deal with it
    Recording industry just can’t deal with the fact that the value of their product has gone down. Why? Competition with other new entrants to the “entertainment” industry.

    Saddest part of it all, iTunes and Steam are doing just fine. They’re doing more then fine, they’re doing stellar.

    Learn to provide what your customers want, at a price they deem reasonable.

  5. Indeed James, and look at how long it took for them to deal with VCRs. It’s been 30 years and they still haven’t been able to these copyright infringing devices off the market.

    What’s that you say? They never tried? Well, perhaps they aren’t really trying here either, knowing that if the show their hand they will not get dealt the trump cards Bill C-62 is about to give them.

    Sorry if I seem a little sceptical about the motives of these industries as many of them experience their death throes.

  6. @Reeve: “In fact the whole internet itself is a massive piracy enabler by this reasoning.”

    By recording musical events and distributing the recordings, RIAA members are enabling piracy.

    We need a law to stop them from recording music in the first place.

    Nap. :-)

  7. I still don’t get what difference it makes if they were “just defending themselves” or not. What does that have to do with the price of rice in China?

  8. @Gannon Perhaps its more the failure of US law, the supposed desired system of the CRIA and other corporate content providers. US court has already found Isohunt liable of copyright infringement two years ago, and that was three years after suit was filed, yet they still operate. At least a decision has yet to be reached in Canada, though I don’t know why the CRIA are dragging their heels on this (
    olls eyes)

    MGM vs Grokster took four years between filing the initial suit and the ultimate supreme court decision, so its not like potential infringement cases in the US have been decided overnight.

  9. Just as a point of logic, I am not seeing why CRIA (or anyone) pursuing a matter under current law while at the same time lobbying for changes to that same law, negates the validity of their position. Is a litigant supposed to sit on his or her tush and wait for someone else to craft the absolutely perfect set of laws, before taking action? Law is made by challenge. If CRIA is successful in an action against IsoHunt, that will certainly provide fodder for the copyright committee currently contemplating C32. And vice-versa!

  10. @JeanC

    I believe the issue is that in begining the lawsuit, they are declaring that they believe they can win under current law (I don’t think you would get very far in the lawsuit if you don’t). This contradicts their claims that a big reason they need US law here is because canadian law can’t stop IsoHunt and the IsoHuntites.

  11. isoHunt is breaking the law… but who is the law really written for?
    Sure, if isoHunt is breaking the law, and allowing illegal file sharing, they should be shut down. But I think we need to back up an ask questions about even the current copyright law.

    Who is the current law really for? Is it written to protect individual Canadians earning an income in the arts? Are the current tarrif’s on media working?

    Are not laws written to help protect Canadians and to ensure we can live and work in a free society? Shouldn’t laws ensure truly FREE and OPEN markets to allow competition, innovation, and advancement of our society?

    To me, the current law (abet it is outdated), protects I N D U S T R Y. Not people. When did we let our society and government get ruined by corporate needs first? Heck, the current law, if you look at it’s altruistic design, its like protectionist SOCIALISM for companies. :)


  12. copywriter says:

    I’m a little confused … CRIA or any other party shouln’t use the current law to portect their rights while lobbying for stronger legislation? they should sit back allow a practice that they believe to be harmful and illegal to carry on eating away at their members business … that’s just nutty.

  13. Reality vs. Fiction
    The recording industry has to realize that piracy will continue no mater what they do, if someone doesn’t want to pay for a song or video (most people do want to pay!) then they will find a way to get it. Kill one site and 5 more will popup! Instead they should be putting all their money and attention into making it easier for those who want to pay to get the media and maybe even at a cheaper price.

  14. @James Gannon:

    Still operating three years later?

    So, does Canada actually need new laws or does CRIA just need new lawyers?

  15. @copywriter

    It’s not using the current law to protect their rights that is the problem, it’s trying to influence our legislation using lies (claiming they can’t use the current law to protect their rights when actually they know good and well it is a lie) that is the problem.

  16. Like it or not…
    From the current Copyright Act (section 27, related to secondary infringement):

    “(2) It is an infringement of copyright for any person to
    (a) sell or rent out,
    (b) distribute to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright,
    (c) by way of trade distribute, expose or offer for sale or rental, or exhibit in public,
    (d) possess for the purpose of doing anything referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c), or
    (e) import into Canada for the purpose of doing anything referred to in paragraphs (a) to (c),
    a copy of a work, sound recording or fixation of a performer’s performance or of a communication signal that the person knows or should have known infringes copyright or would infringe copyright if it had been made in Canada by the person who made it.”

    Based on the way that I read this, the CRIA doesn’t have a leg to stand on against isoHunt etc. IsoHunt doesn’t provide the files downloaded; it simply provides a directory of such. The closest that they can come is to claim that isoHunt is exposing in public (to me a stretch).

    Since the CRIA wants to take a run at companies like isoHunt, they would like a change in the Copyright Act to explicitly make providing a directory service illegal. To extend this beyond the copyright realm would put the publishers of the yellow pages, etc, at risk if they provide a lookup for an illegal activity.

    So, I would argue that the CRIA stating that the current law is insufficient is partly correct, after a fashion; certainly as it is the costs to the CRIA would be high enough that the cost is prohibitive. The question then comes down to is do we really want it to be that easy for them to get their way? For me, no, they shouldn’t get what they want. They are attempting to use shutting down IsoHunt as a way to get around shutting down the actual infringers, the folks whose computers are referenced by IsoHunt.

  17. @Anon-K it has occured to me that they are actually shooting for a loss to back their claims about needed reforms.

  18. Keep going guys. I’m sure there’s a bottom to this rabbit hole somewhere.

  19. @copywriter: “they should sit back allow a practice that they believe to be harmful and illegal to carry on eating away at their members business”

    Their business exists as such exclusively because of this law. They want more law so they can have more business.

    Imagine for a moment abolishing it. Who would suddenly be out of a job? Musicians can still earn a living by performing. Movies can still be run in theaters and on TV. Plastic artist couldn’t care less. Even iTunes and Netflix would still be there (at a “convenience” price). So what disappears? The “industry” of selling plastic discs @ $29 each.


  20. Wait since we can legally download but not upload in Canada couldn’t ISO hut just filter out torrents on Canadian IP’S and only list the ones outside of Canada?

  21. Jeff Power says:

    Actually James
    How do we know the law is inadequate to take down the site, you only attempted to do it recently.
    Hopefully they won’t succeed and prove themselves wrong.

  22. Philiso Raptor says:

    Fuck Canada
    The title of this post suffices my opinion.

  23. @crade
    The same thought had crossed my mind. There is a few outcomes that I see.

    1) They lose the lawsuit and can then use this to justify saying that the current laws are insufficient to protect their rights.

    2) They win, but the cost of pursuing the case is so expensive that they can claim to the government that the cost effectively neuters their ability to seek compensation, making the existing law ineffective at protecting their rights.

    3) They win, and it doesn’t cost them much to do so. This is the worst possible outcome for the CRIA, as it shows that the existing laws are up to the task.

    Given that the chances of 3) occurring is extremely low, laying the lawsuit in fact can be used to bolster their claims of the current laws being insufficient. Sometimes you need to spend money to make money.

  24. Why is the music industry so against people being introduced to new music?????

    Please… Give IsoHunt a break. What about the other P2P sites you can attack. They can go after all they like, but keep in mind that what ever they do, they will never take down the P2P world. The MPAA and the CRIA can take a long hard suck on my @I&%. @$$ Muchers.

  26. Derek Read says:

    this whole fight is pointless
    This whole fight is pointless given that most of the major search engines will find the same torrent files if you simply include the string “torrent” in your search.

    The only major difference (besides the site layout) is that isohunt is specific to torrent searching. This actually means it is less of an “enabler” than Google and other search engines. All of the major engines will also find both legal torrents (such as LibreOffice and lots of other open source software as well as independent music, movies and documentaries) and infringing torrents (the stuff the CRIA is angry about) PLUS a lot of other legal and infringing files that are not distributed using torrents (which isohunt does not locate).

  27. wake up Micheal
    Micheal Geist,
    You fail to make the distinction between Lawful and Legal for readers.

    Readers PLZ go see under comments of “gabbi” or look up ~lawful legal~ in any good search engine.

    Letter to isoHunt makes the joiner between Lawful and Legal thereby impressing Admiralty Law over Common Law. A highly Unlawful act.

    In part:
    Lawful = Law of The Land = Common Law, Natural Law, Universal Law
    - Common Law = decisions of disputes between men and women decided by your peers / equals / jury of your peers. Law of trade, barter, individual’s contracts, rules of how everything on land operates.
    - Natural Law = Law of Nature and all things on Earth
    - Universal Law = All Laws of our Universe, how the Universe operates

    Legal = Commerce Law = Admiralty Law = Law of Shipping = Law of the Seas
    - it has no Rights on Land
    - it only has Rights at the Port / Port of Entry and on Seas, oceans, major waterways [if Individuals on Land let them in that far] or shipping – if you use such a service and or agree to it.

    Your creator, creator of universe, gave you life and the Right of Choice. See ALL ancient records as far back as they go, put them together and study diligently for proof. Good idea to study how Canada started and in what circumstances. How bankers gained possession of your body as collateral. How Governors, Ministers, Judges, Administrators, Officials, Corporations, Businesses etc. serve two or more masters when they are supposed to serve you.

    No man or man made system holds power over you unless you let them.

    Educate yourselves! You will find you are much more than you are led to believe.

  28. Interesting article Nap …
    OK, I am all for new ways to help creators to get more of their due and this model would certainly do that if implemented as conceived. The trouble is the concept is lacking in a few regards. The #1 being the opt-out clause, that will just not fly with the public, no point going there. Another is the cost, $10 seems a little high to me when for instance Netflix is charging $8 for all I can watch video (to me video is a higher value product, but that may be just my opinion). The third is no front end service, I hate to admit it but Henderson has a point of possible viruses as well as the inconvenience of having to hunt down songs via torrent sites. If the songwriters addressed these three points then I might be interested, and I do want to encourage them for thinking outside the box.

  29. @Crockett:

    - major canadian ISPs are throttling P2P traffic to death. Accepting those extra $10/month for P2P would create the need to un-throttle it (you cannot specifically charge for something you’re blocking). I don’t see them doing it anytime soon.

    - if the ISPs are willing to un-throttle P2P then this can solve the opt-in/out issue. You can make it an opt-in thing: don’t pay anything and you continue to have the same throttled P2P service and your downloads are deemed illegal; pay the $10 and you get full speed P2P and your downloads become legal. Now I can see some strong reason to opt-in if you’re a P2P fan. I’m not but that doesn’t mean I don’t understand what it is about.


  30. Only one way to solve this …
    As usual … only way to solve this is to cost them money (big money) and cause them as much aggravation as possible by exposing their fraud to every home in Canada. The Public will do the rest.

    I guarantee it’s not going to be nice. ;)

  31. Geist supports removing foreign ownership restrictions in Telecom. If bought AT&T bought Bell, it’s not like they’re going to start laying out fiber directly to your home. In fact, AT&T is doing the exact same thing as Bell-deploying fiber to the node for IPTV (the last mile is still copper). Foreign ownership would make things WORSE!

  32. @Mike:

    What the government should do is to ensure that all citizens have access to reasonably priced basic phone and internet services. And I say “basic” like in being able to communicate with the government (via phone and internet), read the news and be able to search for a job.

    This should be regulated to death and ensure that these services are offered, are of good quality, and are of “just and reasonable” price.

    The government should do a study of what level of internet access would be needed for these “basic” requirements. Which speed and what monthly cap would cover news reading / online taxes and other interactions with governmetn / job searching. And mandate that any ISP that wants to operate in Canada should offer a plan that fits, without any “throttling” or other intentional degradations.

    Anything extra – like 500 TV channels and terabytes of pr0n downloads – let the market decide.


  33. Foreign ownership would make things WORSE!
    Well OK Mike, then get a little more competitive with world prices and there will be no need for foreign investment (I’m actually for increased competition in whatever capacity, but if it can be in country all the better). It is lack of largesse (greed) of the Canadian Telecom incumbents that is the threat to Canadian telecom jobs, not the bogeyman of foreign ownership.

  34. @Crockett: “(I’m actually for increased competition in whatever capacity, but if it can be in country all the better)”

    That’s why traditionally we had “import duties”. When set at a reasonable level, they insure 2 things:

    - revenue for the government
    - keeping the industry at home even when a small differential in price exists

    We now can see quite clearly how the US “free trade” and “globalization” experiment went. Not only they lost a source of revenue for the budget, but also “the industry” got offshored for the investors making an extra penny. And this is not only about manufacturing jobs, but also about know how and technical progress.

    So yes, I’m for “protectionism” – within reasonable limits.


  35. Another thing
    Egyptian-owned WIND mobile calls for ALL the 700 mhz spectrum be set aside for them! That will sure get LTE to rural Canada. And look at the cablco SHAW, they’re waiting for their 700 mhz handout while they hoard all the AWS spectrum to sell later at a profit. Tony Clement is so stupid.

  36. @Mike: “That will sure get LTE to rural Canada.”


    The strategy of any new entrant in any country is to go for the big cities first. Once they saturate that market, they will look at two options in the mentioned order:

    1) getting bought by the incumbents
    2) expand in smaller cities

    There’s no “expand to rural areas” in their plans. Not for the first 10 years at least.


  37. @Nap
    Agreed. At home I still don’t have access to 3G, much less LTE. And I live only about 20 km outside of the Ottawa city limits.

  38. @Anon-K:

    The irony is that your only hope to ever getting coverage is from the big three incumbents.

    Creating so called competition by subsidizing spectrum for “new entrants” whose only purpose is to reap the most lucrative markets (big cities) won’t help it.

    It does nothing but deprive the incumbents of a good slice of the real source of revenue, lowering chances that they have any money left to spend for rural expansion.

    If you really want to create competition you have to make sure that the “new entrants” are into it for the long run. Pulling a quick one with “unlimited city plans @ $45″ then selling the company to an incumbent doesn’t help no one.


  39. 700 MHz spectrum auction
    I suggest that this spectrum should be auctioned differently than the GHz bands.

    Instead of “who pays more for it” it should be auctioned based on development plans for rural areas.

    Each company submits a development plan, with coverage maps, service levels and price plans.

    Him who offers to cover more, with good services and reasonable prices wins.

    If you have no plans for rural development than go buy GHz spectrum.


  40. Un-Trusted Computing says:

    Off topic Spectrum Ranting
    The only thing we need spectrum wise, is to avoid what Videotron/Quebecor did in Quebec, which was buy up all the spectrum for a single region. So yes by all means reserve spectrum for new entrants but make sure that no one of the new entrants can buy up *all* of the spectrum for a given region.

  41. Re: Napalm
    That’s corporate thinking you are coming from. You should try to get out of your compartmentalization box and learn your Rights.

    If we are all equal then we deserve equal services.

    A number of rural communities have demanded fiber and all services and received them due to Claiming their “Common Law Rights”. If service providers didn’t agree ALL traffic of ALL corporations was to be blocked and their services boycotted, similar to Caledonia / 6 Nations road blocks but much more extensive.

    Don’t be fooled, service providers get paid 3000% more than they should. If that’s not enough they get paid DOUBLE that. Once via worker’s hard earned cash and second by Birth Certificate account.

    There remedies have been in place ever since start of Birth Certificate registrations and as fiat money system is based on debt.
    i.e. “it’s the economy stupid” a fully fraudulent system based of fleecing the public [workers] by taking gold and silver and making it illegal as currency.
    Keep a Country in debt and you can steal all you want concept of British bankers.

    This is not just illegal [Admiralty Law] but it’s also unlawful [Common Law, Natural Law and Universal Law].

    I suggest you and everyone go study Common Law and roots of Commerce by Winston Shrout, Freeman Society and many others. ALSO it’s a good idea you learn your Natural Rights and Universal Rights.

    Notice that Michael has not responded to a challenge in as of yet.

  42. @Pops: “fiat money system is based on debt. ”

    Contemporary “fiat money” is based on making it accepted as the global exchange currency and mandatory for oil purchases. While not making it fully an “oil standard” it is close to it.

    There’s only one country who has these privileges and it ain’t Canada.


  43. @Napalm …
    Your reply is a fraud. No other way to say it.

    So let’s a look at your reply more closely:
    “Contemporary” = of about same age / current, modern = therefore you assume everything following this word is a recent invention. HAHAHA … better start reading history of money and economies.

    “fiat money” = Legal tender, especially paper currency, authorized by a government but not based on or convertible into gold or silver.
    1. this system was started for purposes of controlling / terrorizing the people as far back as East India Company.
    2. By doing this thing Governments have stolen all gold and silver from people, the only recognized currency for trade for 1000′s of years. Well maybe besides jade and other obscure currencies.
    3. all Governments and or banks not operating on gold standard are committing fraud.

    “based on making it accepted” = by whom? the people who get ripped off or filthy rich committing the fraud? Who gave you the right to force such idea down people’s throats?

    “global exchange currency”? = these are promissory notes, nothing else. All global commerce is based on gold and silver. If it operates on debt then it operates at a LOSS. Who pays this loss? It comes out of work people provide .. hence it’s theft / fraud.

    “mandatory” = Required or commanded by authority = offer to be subject to such if you so choose. Only operative word in Law is Obligated and only word that has force. mandatory, you must, shall, you better etc. are only offers and threats and have no real power behind them.

    “mandatory for oil purchases” = again creation by bankers, oil barons and paid off officials. Under all that garbage is transfer of wealth from poor to rich.

    “There’s only one country who has these privileges and it ain’t Canada.” = that’s the biggest load of bull… seen on this forum. I suggest you go see an accountant or go back to grade school as you are committing a Fraud in this forum. Come back when you learn how the global elite actually operate.
    While you’re at it pick some editions of comprehensive Law Dictionaries and start checking each word of so called Laws right from Roman times till present. Then phrases and groups of words. All editions Black’s Law Dictionary is a good start. This will give you a start. And then you must show how they all interact and act together.

    If you want to learn Law then you are obligated to go as far back as Law goes and as it is all inclusive.
    i.e. Universal Law, Natural Law, Sovereign Law, Common Law, Admiralty Law and all others, including Law in Bibles, Torah, Eastern Laws, parchments, papyri, in stone, of God’s Angels Watchers Heroes and rest of them. That’s 30,000 or more years.
    When you are done then we can have an intelligent exchange.

  44. @Pops:

    “”Contemporary” = of about same age / current, modern = therefore you assume everything following this word is a recent invention. HAHAHA … better start reading history of money and economies. ”

    Let me be more precise: “contemporary” as in after 1971. I have no intention to debate sea shells and other objects without intrinsic value that were ever used as money.

    “”fiat money” = Legal tender, especially paper currency, authorized by a government but not based on or convertible into gold or silver. ”

    Why do you stick to gold. A currency’s strength is given by its ability to be exchanged for goods. Gold is pretty much a “luxury” item that most people can live without, and that is not really “consumed” but stocked. It is much more perverse to use as the exchange standard something that everyone needs and consumes in large quantities. Like oil.

    Once you make oil available only in exchange of your currency, your currency becomes the “good one” and the most sought after. Which means everybody will offer you large discounts in trade just to be able to get your currency.

    Which will also mean that you will not be able to export much and your trade balance will be negative for the rest of your life.

    But then you will just print more money.

    Sounds familiar? It’s not about Canada. Look south.


  45. @Napalm …
    ROFL … Ignoring the facts only makes you that much more ignorant in front of people on this forum and internet at large.
    Do yourself a favor and at least save face by …
    … but you have been told already. :P

  46. Pops, I feel so humiliated that I decided to commit seppuku.

    But don’t worry, my spirit will live forever and who knows maybe it will reincarnate some day and post on this forum again.

    Nap. :-)

  47. @Pops
    Napalm fails to realize that usury or better known as fraud is a crime punishable by prison terms. Even the corrupt nefarious Vatican punished it by sentence of death. He may not realize Internet is a great big copy machine where all good and bad is recorded for posterity and many have ended up in jail or on death row due to crimes they have committed.

    As the oppressed and workers of this world rise up the criminals will be prosecuted and handed out sentences which they so rightly deserve.

  48. @Angel: Hi Pops, it’s me Napalm, I just got this brand new body. Very nice, has some handy extras like horns and tail I didn’t previously have. How do you feel with wings?


  49. @Napalm
    How childish of you. Can’t fight the truth so you attack by ridiculing. These kinds of tactics are well know in the business circles and on the internet. Get a life corporate shill.

  50. Ah these stupid movie/music industries
    They spend millions in lawsuits that are pointless, there is nothing wrong with ISOHunt! If they had set up a pay-per-download torrent system a long time ago, like 0.01$ per file whatever it is (I don’t mind paying 1$ for a hundred files it’s a good price), they wouldn’t need huge servers for their pay on demand services (less money needed), p2p would take care of the load. There would be hundreds of millions of people downloading torrents and hence the movie/music industry would be making as much money as before while all of us are happy… And wouldn’t loose money in pointless lawsuits!
    These lawsuits go deeper that just illegal things, movie/music industries want to control what content we can access :( I found the best independent movies on torrents :) And in turn help these guys by donations..
    Not to forget that it’s mainly p2p download that forced internet providers to provide higher speeds..

  51. I love being Canadain…
    I support in this, and I’m glad that Canada is the proving ground. Legal action in Canada occurs at a glacial pace, where a simple trial can last over three years, where the law is perfectly cut and dry. This is a grey zone, and knowing what our courts can do, this won’t be a problem till my children are in their teens.

    Lets face it, There’s no way to ever completely stop pirates. They’ve been trying since the BBS Bulletin days, and before with beta and VHS. There is no way to completely stop piracy, and if ANY industry thinks it’s completely safe, their fooling themselves.

  52. Hendrik Boom says:

    Please stop calling it piracy. Last I heard the pirates were operting off Somalia, not in the net.

  53. Philiso Raptor your gay
    from the states prob goof