isoHunt, one of the most popular BitTorrent websites, has agreed to shut down and pay the entertainment industry a whopping $110 million.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) warned Gary Fung, isoHunt's founder, that it would have sought as much as $600 million in court, reports ArsTechnica.com.
In March, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Fung was responsible for “inducing” copyright infringement and a jury trial was scheduled for November 5 to determine the size of the award for Hollywood movie and TV companies.
isoHunt never actually hosted any copyrighted content itself, but rather provided BitTorrent links that people could use to download content from other users' computers.
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isoHunt has long claimed that it was actually a "search engine" similar to Google. The BitTorrent site is believed to have 44 million users and 13 million active torrents linked to videogames, music, movies, and computer software.
“Today’s settlement is a major step forward in realizing the enormous potential of the internet as a platform for legitimate commerce and innovation,” Chris Dodd, the MPAA’s chairman, said in a statement, noted Cnet.com.
The most popular BitTorrent site, The Pirate Bay, has eluded Hollywood for years because it keeps moving its hosting to different countries with supportive laws for file sharing.
Fung claimed he had no knowledge of any copyrighted media on his site and it was isoHunt users who posted BitTorrent links to copyrighted content, which he removed upon request.
However, a federal judge ruled that Fung had “red flag” knowledge of copyrighted content because he promoted access to popular movies and TV shows on isoHunt.
Regarding his decision to settle with the MPAA, Fung wrote on his blog in part:
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.