October 17, 2013 9:31am PT by Eriq Gardner
IsoHunt to Shut Down After Settlement With Hollywood Studios
The Motion Picture Association of America has announced that it has reached a settlement with the operators of IsoHunt, one of the larger BitTorrent indexers, which in its heyday was handling several million torrents for some 7.5 million unique visitors.
After being sued by Hollywood studios for massive copyright infringement, IsoHunt will now shutter, according to the terms of the deal, and the parties have jointly asked a California federal court to enter a judgment of $110 million against the defendants. The settlement also is said to include a global prohibition against founder Gary Fung further profiting from the infringement of MPAA member studio content.
“Today’s settlement is a major step forward in realizing the enormous potential of the Internet as a platform for legitimate commerce and innovation,” said former Sen. Chris Dodd, chairman and chief executive of the MPAA. “It also 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.”
The development comes in advance of a scheduled trial date next month; the MPAA had been aiming to collect hundreds of millions of dollars in damages.
It also occurs after a ruling last March by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm the liability of IsoHunt for inducing users to infringe plaintiffs’ copyrighted material through the trading of popular movies and TV shows. The plaintiffs, led by Columbia Pictures, originally submitted 44 infringed works, but later said there were thousands of movies and TV shows being infringed by IsoHunt. The appeals court rejected Fung's contention that his service was just indexing what was out there, saying it had “red flag” knowledge of a broad range of infringing activity.
IsoHunt's lawyers declined comment.
The settlement likely will mean the end of the company, which is currently ranked as the 426th most-visited website on the Internet, according to Alexa.com.