IsoHunt was one of the more popular torrent sites out there among the file-sharing crowd both for its selection and its ease of use, which is why it sent a definite chill through the
piracy industry when the site was first taken on by Columbia Pictures and then hit by a judge with a proposed order to remove copyright-infringing links from the website, which we’re guessing comprised a pretty healthy percentage of their links. (Cue Celebrity Deathmatch episode in which one of the announcers thought he’d be arrested for illegal file-sharing, but it turned out he only “pirated” public domain songs like “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain.”)
Now, the creator and owner of IsoHunt, Gary Fung, has defied defeat by rolling out a new, “lite” version of IsoHunt, which he says will still allow users to find the torrents they’re looking for, complete with relevant information, but that the site now has a .hk domain and, more importantly, is deliberately configured to look more like Google or Yahoo, search engines which haven’t really been called out in file-sharing lawsuits despite the fact that they can be used to call up much of the same copyright-infringing information as torrent search engines like IsoHunt.
From Fung’s announcement to visitors to the new IsoHunt:
Why would you still use isoHunt you ask now that it’s just like Google and Yahoo and you can search for torrents with those? While we won’t dispute there’s fundamental difference, on isoHunt Lite you get ranking by seeds/leechers and ratings besides search relevancy and age. A general search engine also do not group as one for identical torrents spread on multiple websites on the Web. Your continued use of isoHunt will also support our upcoming appeal against the MPAA, and we thank you in advance.
To protest the possibility we may be required by US law in upcoming injunction to keyword filter for US users, we have redirected isohunt.com to isohunt.hk to demonstrate the similarity to certain other popular search engine also required to censor in China. Requiring any internet search engine to filter broad keyword searches is absurd. The DMCA mandates with reason that copyright notice and takedown requested by copyright holders be done under penalty of perjury with accurate identifcation, with standard practice of URLs, not broad mucking with the dictionary. If you want to join us in protest, share this by tweet, facebook, etc. and write to Congress. Donation to organizations like the EFF will also help.
Will the changes defend IsoHunt from further attack? Maybe, maybe not, given Fung’s refusal to introduce keyword-filtering to the site, but it’s at least a spirited defense.