Brace yourselves, pirates: one of the largest BitTorrent search engines left on the web is about to close down after the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) cut a deal with the folks at IsoHunt that includes the shuttering of the site.
A court found against IsoHunt’s administrator, Gary Fung, who had attempted to seek clemency for the site under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act’s Safe Harbour provisions. Basically he claimed that IsoHunt was like Google: he wasn’t uploading the illegal files, his site was merely indexing them after they were uploaded by users.
That excuse didn’t fly, however, and Fung is now on the hook for $US110 million (!) in damages. Unfortunately for fans of the site, the settlement also sanctions the official death of IsoHunt.
IsoHunt reportedly has 13 million active torrents being shared by 44 million peers and it sits in the top 500 most visited sites on the web.
The settlement (PDF) mandates that IsoHunt must be closed within 7 days.
Fung had this to say on Facebook after the settlement was published:
It’s sad to see my baby go. 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. It started as a programming hobby in my university days that has become so, so much more. 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.
Vale, IsoHunt. 2001-2013.