IsoHunt to court: Google is the largest torrent search engine

By on March 16, 2011, 6:30 AM
IsoHunt is still fighting its legal battle with the MPAA. In the latest episode, the torrent website filed a reply brief (PDF, via TorrentFreak) to the US Court of Appeals in which it suggests that Google, and not IsoHunt, is the largest BitTorrent search engine on the Internet.

IsoHunt is essentially arguing that if it is going to be targeted by movie studios, so should Google. Last month, Google got involved took interest in the ongoing court case between IsoHunt and the MPAA, fearing that the standing injunction could damage it. Although the search giant did not dispute IsoHunt's liability, the company is clearly concerned. Here's the crux of IsoHunt's argument:

Neither Google nor Plaintiffs mention the 95% overlap between torrents available through Defendantsí systems and torrents available through Google and/or Yahoo!. (AOB 29-30.) Neither Google nor Plaintiffs mention the 96% of Torrentbox tracker users who get torrents from places other than the Torrentbox torrent site, such as from Google or Yahoo! (AOB 11.) Defendants might argue to the jury that it is unfair to hold Defendants liable if Google, unbothered by Plaintiffs, provides torrents to ten or twenty times the number of users that visit Defendants. Defendants might argue that Defendants are being scapegoated. Defendants might argue that holding Defendants liable while ignoring Google would not curtail infringement. Defendants might argue that Plaintiffs have litigation purposes other than curtailing infringement.

Through the appeal, IsoHunt hopes to reverse the permanent injunction which orders it to filter its search results, and obtain a jury trial instead of a summary judgment. In its reply brief, IsoHunt argues that the majority of the files that can be found through its search engine are also available via Google.

While Google is not a torrent search engine, it does index and cache hundreds of millions of pages with directs links to torrent files. There's even a filetype command that allows users to search only for torrent files (by specifying the .torrent extension).





User Comments: 32

Got something to say? Post a comment
NunjaBusiness said:

They are correct, of course. I get all the best ones there.

vipor231 said:

yep google is the place to find torrents...thats how people find what there looking for,not the actual website

Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They are right in what they're saying - Google does need to pull its sock up in that area. I can't see the court buying it though...seems abit of a last minute escape try to me.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I do have a favourite torrent search engine but when that fails... saint google is always there.

Schadenfreude said:

google give you the websites where best stuff is available inluding but not limited to torrents. I bet if google blocks the word "torrent" atleast 50% of the users will stop using google.

MrAnderson said:

This is a slippery slope argument and it is bull.

Google (Yahoo, Bing being not mentioned) is an Internet search engine; IsoHunt positions itself (in name) for specific task.

You might be able to find links to illegal torrents on Google, but Google does not categorically create a place for this activity to thrive. This is what separates Internet search engines from IsoHunt. When you filter for something illegal you kind of have lost your neutrality.

I'e honestly never used IsoHunt, but do they at least provde the ability to report illegal content so it can be blocked? Probably not since they probably get more hits because of people who search for copyrighted IP... yeah... nice try - goes up there with "App Store" is short for "Apple Store" (but not as funny) in arguments used in court (well, 'I did not know she was underaged' fits the bill too).

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

When your defense is, "But they're doing it too!", you are out of good arguments.

Suggesting Google may be 'guilty' of the same thing is worth weighing in order to arrive at the fairest possible judgement, but they are really nit picking at technicalities here.

The honest truth is Google doesn't *intend* to base its service on inappropriate file sharing; IsoHunt did. Whether or not making inappropriate downloads available is illegal and to what degree it is so, is another debate.

Regardless, the intent to distribute this stuff was clear and while blatant disregard for the rights of other people's work isn't *always* illegal, something intentionally wrong was done and that will surely weigh any decisions made.

Guest said:

I think it is a very interesting legal argument. At its very core Isohunt has been redesigned as a search engine similar to Google and Yahoo. If they can demonstrate (and it appears they can) that Google and Yahoo pull the same search requests then at a macro level there is injustice singling out IsoHunt for punishment. I think this will get appealed several times and speaks to what is an allowable search on the internet. Should companies be able to ban/block certain search results similar to how China controls the internet?

Cota Cota said:

True, if you google the name of some recent media or game, it will give you the best torrent available in the big ones of the torrent search engines, besides Skynet doesn't care about torrent piracy and how do low power users find out tutorials to download meadia or games? of couse..... Skyn.... Google.

Guest said:

I want to know where I can go to file suite against google, I have Carpal tunnel syndrome, getting a divorce, going to rehab, and lost my job all because I was able to find and get addicted to porn by using google. I also found out how to jack a car, steal gas from a car, pick a lock to break into homes, and hack computers. see how stupid this sounds. shame on isohunt they are going down and they want to bring as many companies as they can with them. I used to like and use them but not anymore, I hope they get shut down permanently.

jonelsorel said:

@ MPAA: mr greedy dinosaur, why don't you ban the internet altogether? That should solve your problem. Start pulling those strings!

Guest said:

I'm going to assume a large percent of the searches through Google are not directed at pirated works and Google operates as a general search engine. Isohunt's searches on the other hand probably have a significant portion of directed at illegal material.

I think this is probably one of the worst arguments I've seen today.

(I don't have specific numbers as evidence of those percentages, though I'm sure they could be provided by google and isohunt.)

jonelsorel said:

Rick said:

When your defense is, "But they're doing it too!", you are out of good arguments.

Suggesting Google may be 'guilty' of the same thing is worth weighing in order to arrive at the fairest possible judgement, but they are really nit picking at technicalities here.

The honest truth is Google doesn't *intend* to base its service on inappropriate file sharing; IsoHunt did. Whether or not making inappropriate downloads available is illegal and to what degree it is so, is another debate.

Regardless, the intent to distribute this stuff was clear and while blatant disregard for the rights of other people's work isn't *always* illegal, something intentionally wrong was done and that will surely weigh any decisions made.

On that very note same - Isohunt focusing on inappropriate filesharing - nuclear energy - among the multitude of technologies existent today - was never intended for war, yet it was used for that. However since Isohunt's current search engine mimics what Google's and Yahoo's does, why shouldn't the latter 2 be in the same bucket? Cause they have "peaceful" uses too?

jonelsorel said:

Guest said:

I'm going to assume a large percent of the searches through Google are not directed at pirated works and Google operates as a general search engine. Isohunt's searches on the other hand probably have a significant portion of directed at illegal material.

I think this is probably one of the worst arguments I've seen today.

(I don't have specific numbers as evidence of those percentages, though I'm sure they could be provided by google and isohunt.)

Really? Is this one about "percentages"? Cute. If you don't know how to use Google in order to find a torrent, that doesn't mean it can't do that. I admit it could not be so straightforward, but just add the word "torrent" at the end of the last movie at the box office - for example - to see how smart Google is.

Guest said:

I think the point they are trying to make is that they are being held accountable for ALL the downloads of the particular files, when in reality, 10-20 times more people find the files through google and other search engines and not from their website. So holding them accountable for all the infringement is a miscarriage of justice.

It is indeed a very slippery slope. This case is effectively turned into why is one search engine "ok" while the other is not? At essence, all of these sites are simply search engines. And IsoHunt is making the case that google can also search for this same content, so how are they (IsoHunt) different from google, and vice versa? At what point is the line drawn? There are already provisions in place for the MPAA, RIAA to remove copyrighted items from their site, and those provisions were created with the DMCA. As such, why is IsoHunt different from other search engines and has had a permanent injunction on their operations for supposedly following the same rules?

This has some chilling effects on the internet if you really think about it. Essentially if you can be found at fault simply for linking to another site, then the internet as a whole is illegal. No one will link to anywhere because something done by someone else will cause you to be in violation as well. How many sites are out there from the late 90's, early 2000's which havn't been updated in years, yet still have links to domains that have been bought/sold/lapsed/changed hands and now contain completely new content, which might now get operator of the site that hasn't been updated in trouble? Again, this is a slippery slope.

Guest said:

I can't take the stupidity of google not being sued simply because they have too much money to defend themselves, so the recording industry goes after anyone else they can bully around. Of course, I don't want Google to be sued, but it would be nice to have 'big brother' defending internet freedoms vs hoping that ISOHunt can.

So, ISOHunt, if you're reading this, pls create a secondary search option that FORWARDS the torrent searches to Google: So have the following:

[...enter search text here...]

button 1.) Search using ISOHunt

button 2.) Search using Google

And button 2 would just prefix the search with "filetype:torrent ..." and send it off to google

Let's see if anyone "squirms". : )

supportme said:

This is interesting. Wanna see how Google responds to it.... Movie studios do not have the balls to 'Gooog' the Google... And if at all the court does include Google as defendant... It will just be loose change for them...

Guest said:

Isohunt's purpose is for torrent searching only and a vast majority of it is for copyrighted content

Google on the other hand is a general search and it is not dominantly used to search for illegally obtainable copyrighted content

emmzo said:

I don't get the big fight here, like a bunch of employees try to argue. The average user will do what he does and that is if he can snatch something for free he'll do it and sure, if he has the money will buy some of it which really likes and in an effort to say "oh, how righteous we are", governments and such will terminate anything that's directly linked to piracy, so I guess Isohunt is doomed, but will indulge or even uphold big companies who through blurry obscurity undergo similar operations so bottom line: is good to know we still have Google as a torrent search engine, and nobody's going to shut that down ever.

Guest said:

Google indexes the files it finds by type, and proactively assists those searching for torrents with the "torrents" file type tag. That you can find other things via Google doesn't negate the technical assist that the search giant gives to torrent hunters.

treetops treetops said:

Isohunt are a bunch of jerk offs. Its like a kid getting caught doing something wrong then pointing out that so and so is also doing it getting more people in trouble. They name themselves ISOhunt and are surprised they have been taken to court? Why the hell are they trying to screw up google...

No one will shut google down but google itself will likely cut out its torrents from its search results.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'm amazed... cant say much more than that.

When a "little" non-proffit group needs to defend itself against lawsuits and the sort, grabing onto a larger group is a very VERY smart move.

Guest said:

Hey MPAA, go chase an ambulance.

Guest said:

DMCA takedown notice or otherwise is the usual process to follow to get content removed... I think you see the odd one pop up now and again on google.... who usually list the offending item by way of listing the take down notice they where given which contains the url.

Guest said:

How is it that the MPAA (or anyone else without a search warrant) gets to eavesdrop on private communications?

Guest said:

IsoHunt does provide a quick easy way to report infringing material. Google does have a specific way to search only for torrents, which works exactly in the same way as their feature for searching for *.jpg or *.txt files. Go search for: shrek filetype:torrent

So you would be wrong on both counts, which is shocking since you admitted you didn't know to begin with. Might try learning about something before admitting you don't know then being wrong.

JudaZ said:

MrAnderson said:

This is a slippery slope argument and it is bull.

Google (Yahoo, Bing being not mentioned) is an Internet search engine; IsoHunt positions itself (in name) for specific task.

You might be able to find links to illegal torrents on Google, but Google does not categorically create a place for this activity to thrive. This is what separates Internet search engines from IsoHunt. When you filter for something illegal you kind of have lost your neutrality.

.

So what is Googles filetype command .torrent then?

adding that file type makes it a search enging for just torrents.

That said, a torrent file is not illegal. Neither can a search engine that specificly target torrent files be it either. There for ... IsoHunt does nothing wrong. ...neither does google.

Guest said:

unfortunately the MPAA RIAA DMCA or any other anti-piracy group have basicly unlimited amounts of money... on the other hand most pirates do not, if i could afford to spend between 60 or 80$ after all is said and done to take the wife and kids to see the new movie at the theater i would... there screens are much bigger :P as long as there is poverty there will be piracy... anti-piracy groups have wasted more on prosecuting individuals than they could ever make back. they want it to stop and we all know it will never happen as long as computers have been around so has piracy.... the first thing i did on a computer is install a pirated version of MS-Dos 3.2 ... when i was a kid we used to hook 2 VCRs together and copy video tapes... friends and i would copy audio tapes even record off the radio.... if you can write to it someone will use it to copy something as long as there is poverty there will be piracy

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

JudaZ said:

MrAnderson said:

This is a slippery slope argument and it is bull.

Google (Yahoo, Bing being not mentioned) is an Internet search engine; IsoHunt positions itself (in name) for specific task.

You might be able to find links to illegal torrents on Google, but Google does not categorically create a place for this activity to thrive. This is what separates Internet search engines from IsoHunt. When you filter for something illegal you kind of have lost your neutrality.

.

So what is Googles filetype command .torrent then?

adding that file type makes it a search enging for just torrents.

That said, a torrent file is not illegal. Neither can a search engine that specificly target torrent files be it either. There for ... IsoHunt does nothing wrong. ...neither does google.

Agreed Judaz. The MPAA is focusing on the wrong target here. The search engines themselves shouldn't be to blame, since they don't host any files. The MPAA should be going after the hosts of the files instead. It's just easier though, I suppose, to go after the guys that created the map to those files.

Guest said:

whenever I'm looking for something not legal, the first place I go is GOOGLE.

looking for a crack? google

a serial number? google

pirated software? google

videogames? google

movies? google

music? google

isohunt guilty for giving you a link to what you're looking for? well, what about search engines???

bonniesmith bonniesmith said:

vipor231 said:

yep google is the place to find torrents...thats how people find what there looking for,not the actual website

I find pretty much everything on Google, and torrents are also easy to find.

miska_man said:

In this day and age, I laugh at any company, corporation, organization, or even government that trys to go up against Google.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.