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IsoHunt Appeals Permanent Injunction

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Default IsoHunt Appeals Permanent Injunction

IsoHunt Appeals Permanent Injunction

Argues that keyword filtering is overly broad and that copyright holders like the MPAA should provide URLs or hashes to identify which search links should be removed from the BitTorrent tracker site.

Canada-based BitTorrent tracker site isoHunt is appealing last month’s lower court ruling that ordered the site to prevent US visitors from accessing copyrighted material on the site.

US District Court Judge Stephen Wilson in Los Angeles issued a permanent injunction ordering isoHunt to cease “hosting, indexing, linking to, or otherwise providing access to any Dot-torrent or similar files that correspond, point or lead

to any of the Copyrighted Works” belonging to the movie studios that brought the suit.

The injunction requires that isoHunt filter search queries of “infringement-related terms” that refer to the “commonly understood names” of copyrighted material as well as those that are “widely associated with copyright infringement” like “warez,” “aXXo,” or “Jaybob.”

This is why IsoHunt’s attorney Ira Rothken is challenging the injunction. He argues that filtering by terms is too broad. He cites examples on the list like Alice in Wonderland and Dracula, each of which have public domain versions. The MPAA may mean the more recent incarnations of these works, but filtering by keyword doesn’t allow for exceptions.

“One person’s copyrighted Wizard of Oz is another person’s public domain work,” Rothken tells Wired. “The motion picture studios do not have a monopoly on names on things. That is where the injunction is violating the First Amendment.”

Rothken says that copyright holders like the MPAA should provide URLs or hashes to correctly identify which search links should be removed from the BitTorrent tracker site rather than rely on vague generalizations.

In a bid to satisfy Judge Wilson and the MPAA’s concerns isoHunt already began redirecting US visitors to a lite version back in early April. The site redirects search queries to other BitTorrent tracker sites like The Pirate Bay or Torrentbox for example.

Judge Wilson dismissed the effort, saying that the “website contains all of the same indexing and searching functions as the original websites, only with a different

interface for the users to operate.” He is apparently unaware that the “lite” version is substantially different, now linking to links on a third party website, something hardly illegal.

What isoHunt ought to do, and really should have done a long time ago, is simply issue a permanent injunction of its own visitors and permanently prevent US from accessing the site. Asking users to fire up a VPN service or proxy connection has to much cheaper than attorney fees and court costs.

Stay tuned.
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