- You can use boolean operators (-, |, OR), wildcards (*, ?), and phrase search (") in your query
- For BitTorrent: Paste in a 40 characters info_hash, to search for that particular torrent and get all trackers for it
Active torrents indexed from websites and trackers across the internet, unique by info_hash
Sites: 551 • Trackers: 224,732 • Active Torrents: 12,318,460 • Files: 267.32M • Size: 16,583.06 TB • Peers: 81.12M |
|isoHunt sues CRIA on legality of search engines|
|Posted by IH on Sep. 8|
This is one of the hardest decisions I had to make, to sue one of the most powerful lobby and corporate conglomerates in Canada. But for sake of continuing operation and development of isoHunt, this is something we must do. I don't pretend to speak on behalf of all BitTorrent websites or users, but I speak to point out that with a lawsuit from CRIA hanging over our heads, we fight not just for our survival as an internet company of search engines and social networks, but also for other websites, from BitTorrent sites to larger search engines like Google, on which most of us have come to depend. The legal ramifications concerning search engines and linking here are far reaching.
For a better understanding of what brought us here, this is a brief history of our dealing with the CRIA (Canadian Recording Industry Association).
In October 2006, CRIA's anti-piracy department sent us a notice and takedown on certain songs. They included correct identification by URL's of .torrent links to files allegedly infringing their copyright. We took them down.
There was no further communication, until May 2008 when Mr. Sookman, counsel representing CRIA, issued cease and desist letters to isoHunt.com and our sister sites (
), as well as to our upstream ISP. The letters all used similar language, that our websites serve no other purpose but to infringe CRIA's copyrighted music. They harassed our ISP with accusations of hosting a den of thieves (my paraphrase). We pointed them to our copyright policy ( http://isohunt.com/dmca-copyright.php ), and that we have cooperated in the past in identification and takedown of links they wanted removed. We asked them in subsequent letters to identify links to their copyrighted files as we had done in 2006. They ignored our offers, and cited there's no "safe harbor" for a service provider like us and our copyright policy doesn't mean anything to them in Canada.
Here lies some great ironies. We have had cooperation from various music companies and associations in other countries in issuing notice and takedowns for links to their respective infringed content, some of which are the same international companies that CRIA represents. Some of their copyright agents have made blunders in misidentifying links, like requesting takedown of links that look very much like porn, based on colorful vocabulary in their filenames, or at least we were pretty sure were not music files based on some of their file extensions. But we move on after rejecting such obviously erroneous requests. But CRIA's blatant ignorance of their very own past takedown practices which happened to be proper and correct just because they want to sue us, illustrates the importance of ISP safe harbor provisions in the new bill C-61 for the survival of whole classes of internet websites and search engines.
No wonder why a group of prominent Canadian artists and labels formed the CMCC, broke out of CRIA and told them, "not in our names" ( http://www.musiccreators.ca/wp/?p=231 ). This is why Canadians who care about music should support artists in the CMCC group, those who doesn't want to sue their fans, those who are trying to find ways for fans to share in our new world online that can fairly compensate their work, and those who actually make good music. At least I'm a fan of some on the CMCC's artists list.
Before you think I'm trying to rally a riot against copyright, I want to reiterate our stance that we do believe in Imaginary Property (IP) because imagination takes effort, and realizing them through music or videos or games takes more effort, time and money. Copyright laws need reform for the 21st century, and my hope as a Canadian is in a substantially improved C-61. I defer to Geist's blog ( http://www.michaelgeist.ca/ ) on pointing out what's wrong with C-61 in its current form. All Canadians who appreciates how copyright affects them should support reform for a more fairly balanced bill C-61. Geist's website has information on how Canadians can help reform C-61.
Now, before the critics say isoHunt.com is full of links to copyright infringing content and we should just pack up and leave. To which I'll summarize what our petition to the BC court is all about. isoHunt is a search engine of BitTorrent sites, and our sister sites are indices of direct user contributed .torrent links. None of the pieces of files exchanged over BitTorrent pass through our servers, they are exchanged over external P2P networks. We serve cached .torrent links to such files on P2P networks. Some of these files maybe copyright infringing, some aren't. But given the ridiculously long copyright terms in most countries of the world (which does differ) and that all creative media are copyrighted by default (in many countries), large majority of files exchanged on the internet would be copyrighted. That includes Linux ISO images and your videos of friends and family doing whacky things. The real question is are they infringing against the wishes of respective copyright owners. We make and run a great search engine here at isoHunt, but we unfortunately do not have the technology to mind read what are the wishes of all copyright owners, or who they are to begin with in association with the tens of millions of files on BitTorrent, to which we only indexes metadata links and not actual content files. Whatever copyright laws or safe harbor provisions provided in different countries, the only sensible and technically possible thing to do we've found is to take down links to allegedly infringing content only upon request and verification. This part of the US's DMCA is one which has much foresight and makes sense. (although not perfect obviously, it should add provisions for monetary punishment on erroneous notices as we receive plenty of ignorant or erroneous takedown requests and there isn't much recourse about them, but that's another topic)
The bottom line is we developed a search engine for BitTorrent protocols when it was still in its infancy, and even now it has not yet gained full mainstream use. We are on the cutting edge of emerging internet technologies, and I ask reasonable people of Canada and whoever else reading this to accept that it is not my wish for my websites and search engines to infringe rights of others. As all emerging technologies go, increasingly beneficial usage of BitTorrent will emerge with more widespread adoption by various parties. I'm referring to the US's Sony Betamax decision here; as the VCRs have been allowed to develop, enabling a new industry of videos playable at home, I plead that emerging technologies like BitTorrent and our web services be allowed that same chance to develop.
Attached are 2 documents we have filed at the BC court last Friday, one is our petition and the other my affidavit. The petition is more of an overview of facts, my affidavit is the supporting evidence. We petition the court preemptively for its guidance and clarification of our rights as an internet company, in hope that by laying out all the facts here early, we can make it easier for the court to cut to the heart of the legal issues. In some ways, this is a condensed summation of the core issues with our other
(which is still pending a decision on a Motion for Summary Judgment in the US).
Media inquiries can be mailed to media at isohunt.com. I understand that some news and comments have already been circulating online regarding this, hopefully I have cleared up some points.
To all of you who have voluntarily donated towards our obviously increased legal expenses without me even asking for them, my sincere thanks and gratitude. It shows that users of BitTorrent and isoHunt sensibly understands that not all things are free, that we are not here to pick a fight with copyright owners, and how much you care about isoHunt. But whether you are able to donate or not, most importantly we can use your simple support. Especially to Canadians, that you spread the word in raising awareness of the issues at stake concerning your ability to search, and in what ways we as consumers can do with electronics and media we buy. Please support our undoubtedly long legal battle, and in
reforming bill C-61.
Here's a list of interesting discussions and stories regarding our case on other websites:
Gary Fung, aka. IH
President, isoHunt Inc.
|Happy (belated) Sysadmin day!|
|Posted by infowolfe on Jul. 26|
Yep, I completely missed it... http://www.sysadminday.com was yesterday... I was so busy having fun on mine that it just slipped past me. Well, to all the Systems Administrators that visit, happy late SAAD!
15% discount! Code "isohunt15"
NEW 8 Years Anniversary Tee!
isoHunt has 16178 users online, 2294480 members registered. Sign up now to comment!|
Welcome to our newest member: AndrewNZ
You have to login to post. Use your common sense.
For debates, go to the forum.
Post or ask for site invites and you get banned.
For real-time chat, come to irc.isohunt.com, #isoHunt
or chat with others live on IRC