Canadian file-sharing website IsoHunt shutting down after lengthy legal dispute
A Vancouver programmer has announced he’s shutting down IsoHunt, one of the most popular file-sharing websites on the internet.
“It’s sad to see my baby go,” reads a blog post written by Gary Fung. “But I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 10.5 years of isoHunt has been a long journey by any business definition, and forever in Internet startup time.”
He continues: “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.”
For more than seven years, Fung has been on the defensive side of a legal battle with the Motion Picture Association of America. According to CBC News, he’s now settled that dispute and agreed to pay a fine of $110 million.
Another blog post written by Fung and marked with today’s date states that he will not be commenting on the details of his settlement.
At the time of writing (3 p.m. on October 18, 2013), IsoHunt registered more than 76 million active users downloading and uploading 13.8 million torrent files.
Torrents contain metadata that facilitate the rapid transfer of virtually anything digital, including movies, television shows, music, ebooks, and computer software.
Major entertainment corporations have long argued that websites that provide search and connection services for torrents facilitate the illegal sharing of copyrighted material. Defenders of BitTorrent distribution systems emphasize that torrents are used to transmit every sort of information, and that copyrighted works only constitute a minority of what’s shared.
In a January 22, 2013 posting at IsoHunt.com (the last message published there), the site’s administrator reflects on its longevity and the future of digitial information.
“When I started isoHunt during engineering school, I truly did not think I'd be working on it for 10 years, but here I am. Napster, Kazaa, Suprnova, LokiTorrent. Big names have come and gone, and the Internet has changed. One would think we the people of the Internet are losing to the copyright cartels, but I think different.”
It continues: “I see musicians and filmmakers slowly but surely warming up to new possibilities of Internet distribution and promotion, abandoning notions of "1 download = 1 lost sale" in the physical age. Ideals of the Free Software movement and Creative Commons will face new challenges with 3D printed copies of physical objects, replicated from copyrightable digital designs. We are moving into the world of science fiction. Will copyright or even money be relics like in Star Trek, where all material scarcity and wants are gone, replicators can make anything needed, and holodecks can create any world imaginable? Too utopian perhaps, but if someone from 100 years ago is to look at technologies we have now, a lot of it maybe construed as magic too.”