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IsoHunt Told To Pull Torrent Files Offline 392

Posted by timothy
from the please-label-excerpts dept.
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "The founder of popular Bit Torrent site IsoHunt, Gary Fung, has been ordered to remove the .torrent files for all infringing content — an order that could result in the site shutting down. US District Judge Stephen Wilson issued the order last week after years of back-and-forths over the legality of IsoHunt and Fung's two other sites (Torrentbox and Podtropolis). Fung claims he's still hoping for a more agreeable resolution that won't result in IsoHunt closing its doors, but for now, things aren't looking good for the torrent site."
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IsoHunt Told To Pull Torrent Files Offline

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  • Bah....Bah (Score:5, Funny)

    by muppetman462 (867367) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @02:10PM (#31690654)
    First it's the Pirate Bay, then Mininova, Newzbin, and now IsoHunt? Where or Where are we to get our stuff from? Itunes?
    • Re:Bah....Bah (Score:5, Informative)

      by spazdor (902907) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @02:13PM (#31690684)

      Have you been having trouble finding pirated content on TPB yet? 'Cause I sure haven't.

      • Me too, but I think that I should start looking for a new public torrent index. I really liked mininova and used it together with TPB, but now only TPB and private trackers are left and I'd rather use public torrents (not because I don't want to seed, I seed until ratio is >=1, but in private trackers, nobody wants to download the files, so I'm stuck trying to seed a 1GB file to ratio =1 for days, even though with my (slow) upload speed of ~90KB/s it should take less than 4 hours. During that time I cann

        • by ktappe (747125)

          now only TPB and private trackers are left and I'd rather use public torrents (not because I don't want to seed, I seed until ratio is >=1, but in private trackers, nobody wants to download the files, so I'm stuck trying to seed a 1GB file to ratio =1 for days, even though with my (slow) upload speed of ~90KB/s it should take less than 4 hours. During that time I cannot delete that file or move it to another hard disk to free some space on my downloads disk

          Agreed--disk space and upload speed limitations have prevented me from achieving any >1.0 ratios for a while now. I want to be a good netizen but it's often not practical.

          • My download is 4mbps, so if I use public trackers (usually a lot of people want to download that torrent) I can give back what I have taken quite easily (it helps that I don't saturate my download speed 24/7, my average download is less than average upload). Once I had a 1024/128 connection. With that, it was impossible to have a decent ratio and still be able to download anything.

            However, I archive almost everything I download, so I won't need to download it ever again. This way, as my collection grows, I'

          • Well, he said that even though his upload speed is slow, he can't share anyway, because nobody wants to download. And disk space is not exactly expensive these days.

        • Have you tried adding http://www.openbittorrent.com/ [openbittorrent.com] to your torrents?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by eparker05 (1738842)

      I don't think this will affect me. Since I heard the following news yesterday, I have already uninstalled bittorrent.
      http://yro.slashdot.org/story/10/03/30/2352256/New-Litigation-Targets-20000-BitTorrent-Using-Downloaders?art_pos=1 [slashdot.org]

      Say what you will about litigation against customers, it's effective and that is why they do it. It seems like shutting down sites like IsoHunt is a waste of time to copyright holders since so many others exist and will pop up. But sue a few customers and everything changes.

      • by Znork (31774)

        I have already uninstalled bittorrent.

        Why? It's perfectly usable with most VPN providers. Or are you moving over to the more modern darknet variants instead?

        it's effective and that is why they do it.

        Effective for what? Effective for convincing a lot of people that the industries in question are a significant threat to society? Sure. Effective for mobilizing a massive political blow-back? Yep. Effective for convincing consumers who'd otherwise happily provide the industries with income to go to inordinate le

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Get a dialup connection. I've received 3 notices from my DSL provider, but absolutely nothing from my 56k Dialup provider. For whatever reason dialup bittorrenters seem to be ignored.

        And no it isn't that slow. Figure 2 episodes downloaded while you're sleeping, and 2 more while at work == 4 new episodes a day that I can watch when I get home.

      • Re:Bah....Bah (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rolgar (556636) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @04:04PM (#31692444)

        Check out your local library. I've been using the library for about a year now. My library's selection is probably comparable to Netflix (I've recently watched several older movies like the Godfather series, and some WW2 era movies, the X-files series, soon going to watch the Farside), and if they don't have something, I've actually had pretty good success about requesting that they buy items I want and having them acquire them. My library actually has an Annex just for the older videos that they don't have on the shelves right now, and I have access to all of this material that I neither want to pay to watch one time nor want to store, I'm protected against my kids scratching disks.

        Now, I live a 25 minute round trip from our library, but once a week, they send a Bookmobile (bus with shelves) all over the county, and I can request that they send my requested materials out on the local Bookmobile, which is a 6 mile round trip, which is closer than my nearest video store. I have had a couple of items that were so scratched I couldn't watch the whole thing, but I just requested a new copy and put a note in the old one so they could remove it from circulation. You're probably paying property taxes (even if you rent, the landlord is paying some of your rent in taxes) to support a library and this is a far better option than paying for the video store (I also get all items for 1 or 3 weeks depending on the item, and cheaper fees if I keep it too long), risking getting sued, or buying it myself.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by shoehornjob (1632387)
      The only way to bring the MAFIAA to their knee's is to not buy their product. I realize that's easier said than done but torrenting isn't the solution. It does help swing the balance of power but it's only temporary. They are turning up the pressure and eventually the studio's will drive "piracy" underground. It'll never die but all they need to do is drive it out of the mainstream. By the looks of things that's exactly what they're doing.
    • by w0mprat (1317953) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @03:37PM (#31691958)
      It's a game of whack-a-mole. My concern is the same is the real game of whack-a-mole. One game I played as a kid (sharks not moles), the better you did, the more the game speed up until it was impossible to win.

      The internet is all about copying, it's fundamental, and it's never easier. It's what Turing machines do. Consider Streaming even, there is not such thing as streaming, it's still downloading, however renamed to keep rightsholders from realising what it really is.

      Theoretically it's possible to create a file sharing service that is incredibly difficult perhaps almost impossible to monitor and trace. Onion routing works pretty well, there are robest methods of key exchange, and it seems encrypted links are good enough to protect online banking.

      All the while bandwidth, computational capacity and digital storage is getting better, faster and cheaper. If one thought piracy was at an all time high now and the tide will start to turn against it, then one is like a luddite before the industrial revolution.

      Maybe Big Content does end up shutting down P2P faster than it can pop back up, and even win some candy floss in the process. Piracy will just move back to untraceable anonymous physical media. You see, one underestimates the bandwidth of a portable hard drive or USB stick moving from A to B.

      What about ACTA border searches of your iPod and laptop? Considering the size of a 32gb MicroSDHC Card now, , (I was amazed when these things came out at 2gb!) it becomes possible to move 40+ VCD movies in something as big as your fingernail which a data smuggler could stitch into clothing for gods sake.

      Still don't get what I mean? A high end 32gb SDHC card costs alot, but so did a $10 4gb card once upon a time. What happens when these things hit 500gb, 1000gb? Become so cheap that you give them away like we do with burned CD/DVD-Rs now?

      Another example, my entire music collection (legit) took up most of my expensive 80gb harddrive in 2003/2004. Today that same price point, buys me a 1.5TB drive, with change. My music collection that has only grown a little suddenly has a trivial footprint.

      A hypothetical pirated movie collection of hundreds of 700mb VCD-quality movies now fills up a good chunk of ones hypothetical 1TB drive.

      In six years that will be nothing on my $100 50TB drive.

      By the end of the decade you could afford to have a desktop computer with every major movie of the last 50 years stored on it with room to spare.

      Repeat.

      Yeah so you were thinking maybe we are seeing the end of piracy, but it's only just getting started. Suddenly Big Content seems like a bunch of luddites tearing down the machines of the revolution, failing to see the precipice of change coming.
  • by krapski (1478035) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @02:12PM (#31690676)

    Pirate sites will go, and others will replace them, but there is a constant: like death and taxes, piracy will go on.

    • by GPLDAN (732269)
      Pirate sites will go, and others will replace them, but there is a constant: like death and taxes, piracy will go on.

      And with that sentiment... it's time for this:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1loyjm4SOa0 [youtube.com]
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sopssa (1498795) *

      Pirate sites will go, and others will replace them, but there is a constant: like death and taxes, piracy will go on.

      Once the admins and users will start getting jail time and huge fines more often, I'm sure the amount of people wanting to run such a site decreases dramatically. It's not an endless river.

      • by HungryHobo (1314109) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @02:25PM (#31690884)

        People have been saying that since the days when cheap imported sheet music was killing the American music industry.

        In reality people will always do what people do- share art, music and culture with each other.(and pornography of course)

      • by cpghost (719344) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @02:28PM (#31690916) Homepage
        Once the admins and users will start getting jail time and huge fines more often, we would have already moved to more decentralized and anonymous P2P technologies, and if not, such a (predictable) move would just accelerate this migration. And besides, dictatorships crack down heavily on their internet users, but these users still try to get past censorship despite very heavy risks for their own lives. What makes you think that western governments' cracking down on filesharers will have any more effect than what China, Iran et. al. do to their people? Filesharing will go on, it will just be a little bit more underground and not so open as it is today.
        • by westlake (615356)

          Filesharing will go on, it will just be a little bit more underground and not so open as it is today

          The underground is chill, damp, slow and lonely. You are marginalized in a space you share with the perverts and wackos. When you come up for air you are tainted by the smell of the sewers.

          The studios don't need to kill P2P - they only need strip away its veneer of convenience, respectablity and safety.

          The geek seems quite capable of doing that job for them.

      • Keep dreaming..... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tacokill (531275)
        It's not an endless river.

        Yes, yes it is. As far back as I can recall -- and that is a long way -- there has always been piracy. To think or even suggest that you can "dent" or outright stop piracy is just wishful thinking. It always has been.

        The method will differ, that's all. Goodbye torrents, hello ?????

        The only reason this seems odd is because over the last 10 years, the general public has gotten into piracy in a big way. If that hadn't have happened and it was much more "low key" -- we
        • >> The method will differ, that's all. Goodbye torrents, hello ?????
          >> (sidenote: Remember rule #1. I purposely have a glaring oversight in the list above. Can you spot it? LOL)

          Yeah, but I thought it's spelled ??????

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So when is someone going to develop a peer-to-peer system for hosting and tracking torrents? What happened to this technology [slashdot.org]?

  • IsoHunt and Torrenting in general is just a service, to connect people. In the same way MSN connects me to my friends and websites connect me to news.

    Making IsoHunt responsible for the copyrighted material would be like making Microsoft responsible for Copyrighted material I share with my friends over filesharing through Live messenger.

    Now, if I go home and do that tonight, can I expect US District Judge Stephen Wilson to order MSN to cut off filesharing?

    • For the most part, I think that's true. However, the article offers the following as the reason for the success of the MPAA in this case:

      Fung previously tried to argue that his sites were just another search engine that just happened to pick up copyrighted content, but the studios countered with evidence that his search code was specifically tuned to find copyrighted material.

    • by qoncept (599709)
      If I go home tonight, can I log on to MSN Messager and expect it to be painfully easy to download all of this week's Xbox 360 releases with just a few clicks?

      I doubt you could prove without a doubt that these sites were created exclusively for software piracy, but this is one case in which I think the intent is winning out over the word of the law. "Stop breaking the law, asshole!"
      • If I go home tonight, can I log on to MSN Messager and expect it to be painfully easy to download all of this week's Xbox 360 releases with just a few clicks?

        Hey, if I've got a friend who buys all this week's 360 releases and Rips them into ISO's for me, then I sure as heck could.

        So what seperates IsoHunt from say an MSN Chatroom, where I happen to come across such a buddy. The fact that it makes the process more efficient?

        They shouldn't be stopping the people optimizing the downloading, they should be stopping the people downloading, or the ones uploading!

        I don't buy drugs and I don't deal drugs but if I tell someone who wants drugs where a drug dealer is - tha

        • by mea37 (1201159)

          Right... Now, try setting up a kiosk where people can come and you'll tell them where to find drug dealers. O, if they come asking about pharmacies you'll give them that information too, if you happen to have it, but you've gone out of your way to build up a list of drug dealers. That's what you're known for and that's why people come to you.

          Suddenly the police will take an interest in you. That is what sets IsoHunt apart from your hypothetical chat room.

          • Ah - but the police wouldn't shut me down. They'd take my information and bust the drug dealers.

            So why aren't they doing this? Oh the Seed is in China? The Leech is in Germany?

            Then I guess it really isn't their business then, is it?

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by mea37 (1201159)

              Ah, but your premise is incorrect; you will indeed be shut down by the police. In a drug ring they will use words like "conspiracy". In a copyright context they'll use words like "contributory infringement". In both cases it means "you can't legally profit from helping others to commit crimes".

        • by qoncept (599709)

          So what seperates IsoHunt from say an MSN Chatroom, where I happen to come across such a buddy. The fact that it makes the process more efficient?

          2 things. 1) You've got it. It's more efficient. Choose your battles. If you're an environmental activist, are you going to go after the guy flicking a cigarette butt out his car window or the electronics recycling center that dumps everything in a city park?

          2) My original main point. Can torrent sites be used for legitimate purposes? Of course. But people perpetuating that argument are, apparently, caught up in theory and completely ignoring reality. The sites are made for software piracy, pure and simp

  • one which is not hell bent on creating a new form of intellectual feudalism through copyright and ip mechanisms.

  • by bobdotorg (598873) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @02:20PM (#31690800)

    ... is about as likely to be won by the content holders as the 'War on Drugs' to be won by the Federal Govt.

    The parallels are striking, starting with 'Just say no' / 'Don't copy that floppy', and then escalating internationally to ACTA.

    As long as the demand for unauthorized content exists, supply will find its way.

    Until consumers have a compelling reason to buy an authorized copy (iTunes is a great example of this), torrents or some other tech like .nzb will give the people what they want.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Until consumers have a compelling reason to buy an authorized copy

      Thats the problem with the system - is that an unauthorized copy can be more than enough for most people. So what are you going to do to make the authorized copy more compelling?

      Name something you can add to an authorized copy that can't be added to an unauthorized copy. Aside from something physical you can't download (like a poster), or locking it with DRM (which people fight against) you simply can't make it more compelling to buy.

      Tell you what - implement a system that says if I own every CD by a given

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dhalka226 (559740)

        It depends on what we're talking about.

        Music, for various reasons, is just too convenient to pirate. Most people can't tell the difference between a decent-quality MP3 and CD quality. It's already in a format you're most likely going to want it in (unlike physical CDs), they're small enough that even if the seeders aren't very fast you're not waiting very long for your file. The only way they can compete is price. I bought far more music from allofmp3 back in the day than I bought from iTunes. 99 cen

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      as likely to be won by the content holders as the 'War on Drugs' to be won by the Federal Govt

      Considering that drug prohibition rakes billions of dollars through the business of government every year, I'd say yes, drug prohibition is a HUGE win -- for those at the top of the power pyramid.

      You're not in the business of government, are you?

    • Is not selling their content in countries, like Spain, where piracy is rampant.

  • You mean media, or expression, or product. The content, if any, cannot be copyrighted. Also you don't mean infringing, you mean unlicensed, or pirated.
  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zedrick (764028) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @02:24PM (#31690870)
    I don't like isohunt (for reasons I can't remember) and I think copyright violations are wrong in some/most cases (I'm in the 10-20 year copyright crowd), but why would isohunt or anyone else who gets hit by judgements care much? It doesn't take too many hours to move the site to some other country. And as a former abuse-handler of a large webhost, I know that simply hosting whatever you're doing in a different country that the people who wants to shut you down will make it very hard for them (at least in countries not ruled by the RIAA or MPAA.)

    (as abuse-handler, the best part of my job was to tell all morons sending me DMCA-notices to stuff it, since the DMCA is a US-thing and if they had a valid complaint to make they would say so instead of using silly DMCA-mails to abuse@xxx.com).
  • by emurphy42 (631808) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @02:24PM (#31690874) Homepage

    The movie studios had brought in expert witnesses stating that a statistical sampling of the content and server logs showed that nearly all of the content infringed copyrights, and about half of the downloads were made within the US. Fung dismissed this as "junk science" but did not present any sort of evidence showing that this wasn't a valid approach.

    Fung previously tried to argue that his sites were just another search engine that just happened to pick up copyrighted content, but the studios countered with evidence that his search code was specifically tuned to find copyrighted material.

    it would be nearly impossible for Fung to actively investigate every single file to see whether it's legal or not. Fung believes this goes outside of the DMCA and that the MPAA should provide a list of links to files that it wants taken down instead.

  • Since IsoHunt is mainly a search engine of torrents, they could just crawl the .torrent hosts and instead of saving a local copy like they do now, they'll just provide a link to the host. I don't see how this will change things much.
  • "Fung claims he's still hoping for a more agreeable resolution that won't result in IsoHunt closing its doors,"

    Hah! That's a joke, right? More agreeable that having to remove infringing content? The only thing more agreeable than that is if he removes it all AND pays massive fines. Oh... wait... more agreeable to *him*?

    That's equally funny. For that to be a remote possibility someone in authority would have to be okay with him facilitating the transfer of copywrighted material and there's just about
  • Hmm (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I am saddened by the judge striking down this use of the internet. A television network should do a news piece on this, in order to transfer knowledge about this subject to the masses. I'm sure they have a protocol to deal with internet stories.

    Someone please keep me posted. Why?ENCASE THIS BECOMES A HUGE STORY instead of just letting it die! please! For the good of us all!

  • I realize Canada is a party to the Berne Convention, but what does a US Judge have to do with a site run entirely in Canada?

    On a side note, the original judgement against them was the categorized system in which users access torrents, specifically that it had sections for movies, music and such that could be browsed without a search input. They have been working on a "lite" version of the site that removes all the functionality that the MPAA complained about and are hoping to present it as a way to stay in

  • by fyoder (857358) on Wednesday March 31, 2010 @03:25PM (#31691790) Homepage Journal

    When I was a lad long, long ago we had no internet and only two tv channels. Usually there wasn't anything on worth watching. I read a lot of books.

    Most cities have these buildings full of books and even media, which they seem perfectly happy to loan out for free. I'm not entirely sure what their business model is, but they've been doing this for as long as I can remember, so it appears viable, strange though that may seem. It might be time to rediscover them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SoTerrified (660807)

      Most cities have these buildings full of books and even media, which they seem perfectly happy to loan out for free. I'm not entirely sure what their business model is, but they've been doing this for as long as I can remember, so it appears viable, strange though that may seem. It might be time to rediscover them.

      Until the Dewey Decimal System is identified as "An indexer providing links to materials under copyright" and gets shut down by the courts. Oh sure, Melvil Dewey might try to claim he was only trying to provide a way for people to find material, but the links in the Dewey Decimal System clearly link to material he doesn't own, and that he has no right to make available.

If Machiavelli were a hacker, he'd have worked for the CSSG. -- Phil Lapsley

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