Popular file sharing torrent site, IsoHunt is to shut down following a court settlement. The site’s owner, Gary Fung, who is a Canadian, has agreed to pay $110m (£68m) to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), ending a seven-year legal battle.
IsoHunt, a search engine for BitTorrent files, helped users find virtually every type of copyrighted material, including music, movies, computer software, ebooks and pornography. The site alone does not host these pirated contents, however the court disagreed. The site, which currently has over 13 million active torrents, isn’t down just yet, but Fung has seven days to shut it down.
The MPAA, which represents Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal City Studios and Warner Bros., originally launched its legal challenge of IsoHunt in 2006.
On his blog, Fung said he was “sad to see my baby go.”
“But I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. Ten-and-a-half years of isoHunt has been a long journey by any business definition, and forever in Internet startup time. It started as a programming hobby in my university days that has become so, so much more,” Fung wrote.
“It’s been a learning experience beyond what I imagined. I’ve done the best I could pushing the social benefits of BitTorrent and file sharing, the searching and sharing of culture itself, but it’s time for me to move on to new software ideas and projects.”
MPAA Chairman-CEO Chris Dodd called the settlement “a major step forward in realizing the enormous potential of the Internet as a platform for legitimate commerce and innovation. 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.”