Well-known BitTorrent search site IsoHunt will shut down its operations worldwide, following a decision from founder Gary Fung to give up his long-running legal battles with various movie studios. As a result of the battles, Fung will also have to pay $110 million to the MPAA, although had the case had gone to trial he might have had to pay up to $600 million.
Fung's decision comes just weeks before having to appear in a Los Angeles federal court. The court appearance would likely have been to determine damages, as an earlier appearance already found Fung liable for "inducing" copyright infringement, despite arguing that the site doesn't actually host any copyright-infringing files.
While it's most active, IsoHunt claims to have around 50 million peers across 14 million torrents, indexing more than 17,000 terabytes of content. Like most torrent search engines, the website was used primarily for piracy, despite indexing both legitimate and non-legitimate content.
MPAA chairman Chris Dodd said that the settlement by Fung sends a "a strong message that those who build businesses around encouraging, enabling, and helping others to commit copyright infringement". He also reinforced the MPAA's position that any copyright infringers will "held accountable for their illegal actions".
IsoHunt hasn't been the only BitTorrent site to face legal and governmental battles. Perhaps the most well-known torrent site, The Pirate Bay, continues to be the subject of many blocking efforts, although so far the website has managed to stay alive. With efforts to stamp out online piracy continuing in full force, who knows what the next site to fall will be.
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