File-Sharing Site IsoHunt to Shutter in $110M Settlement With MPAA

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Studios had sued in 2006 arguing that the site was “inducing” users to illegally download and distribute movies and TV shows

IsoHunt.com, one of the most popular BitTorrent file-sharing sites on the web, will be shut down, in a victory for the movie industry, the Motion Picture Association of America said on Thursday.

MPAA said the closing was the result of a March appellate court decision that upheld a lower-court ruling that the site enabled piracy. It was part of a settlement that will also include a judgment of $110 million against the site and its operator, Gary Fung.

Studios had sued Fung in 2006 arguing that the site was “inducing” users to illegally download and distribute movies and TV shows over BitTorrent. MPAA won a ruling against Fung in 2009. In March, 2003, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco affirmed the ruling.

Also read: MPAA: Google Gets a Failing Grade for Anti-Piracy Efforts

Despite Thursday’s agreement, the site remained open on Thursday, with no indication of when the site would actually be shuttered.

An opening text on the site describes it as ” the most advanced BitTorrent search engine.

“With cross-referenced trackers statistics for all torrents indexed updated to the hour, this is the best P2P files search engine and community. Try searching in the box above, or browse around our Torrents directory and Zeitgeist for what’s new and popular,” says the site’s statement.

Also read: MPAA Sounds Piracy Alert for Kim Dotcom’s New File-Sharing Site

Still, 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.”

Dodd in a statement said the closing still preserves consumers ability to view movies — but from legal sites.

“Consumers today have more options than ever before to legally access movies and TV shows on the Internet – from Hulu to HBO Go to Vudu to Crackle to UltraViolet and literally hundreds of others,” Dodd said, adding: “The successful outcome of this landmark lawsuit will also will help preserve jobs and protect the tens of thousands of businesses in the creative industries, whose hard work and investments are exploited by sites like isoHunt.”