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IsoHunt Settles With MPAA, Will Shut Down And Pay Up to $110 Million

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,7 days | from the later-found-with-knees-broken dept.

Piracy 245

hypnosec writes "The MPAA and Gary Fung, owner of IsoHunt.com, have settled their case out of court, with the torrent indexing site closing as part of the deal. The judge presiding over the MPAA vs. IsoHunt.com case, Jacqueline Chooljian, canceled the hearing which was planned after she was informed that both the parties have settled outside court. 'The website isoHunt.com today agreed to halt all operations worldwide in connection with a settlement of the major movie studios' landmark copyright lawsuit against the site and its operator Gary Fung' reads the press release." Only a few days after the MPAA was accosted by the judge for seeking damages several times the total worth of isoHunt: "But if you strip him of all his assets — and you’re suggesting that a much lesser number of copyright infringements would accomplish that, where is the deterrence by telling the world that you took someone’s resources away because of illegal conduct entirely or 50 times over?" Still, the settlement seems unfair: The MPAA has asked the court for $110 million, when the MPAA itself admitted that isoHunt only has $5 or $6 million. So much for the optimism for isoHunt's successor.

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The more you tighten your grip (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155793)

The more will slip through your fingers.

Re:The more you tighten your grip (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156069)

Not, I think, once we demonstrate the power of our lawyers!

Re:The more you tighten your grip (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156183)

Shut down ALL the torrents on the detention level!!! Threepio!

Fortunately we still have Google. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155801)

The best torrent search engine ever will never bow to this kind of bullying crap. Long live Google!

Re:Fortunately we still have Google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155845)

"Following requests from some copyright holders, search giant Google has relaxed its DMCA restrictions allowing for more takedown notices to be processed. As a result the number of URLs being removed from Google continues to shoot up, surpassing the record-breaking 4.4 million mark this week. Both Google and the RIAA are happy with the progress being made but the former says it will keep a close eye on abusive practices." [1]

Uhm..

1 http://torrentfreak.com/fox-wants-google-to-take-down-its-own-takedown-request-130404/

Re:Fortunately we still have Google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155909)

While this is true, in practice Google is simply a powerful indexer and will always find new torrent files and sites and similar things like grey-area streaming sites.... much before the takedown notices are issued.

Yes, Google will take down sites on request, but they won't preemptively try to magically determine which sites will generate complaints in the first place. People will always be able to find the content that they want through Google.

Re:Fortunately we still have Google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156015)

Considering what they did with Youtube I have a really hard time believing this. It would probably be easier to implement such an algorithm in the indexer.

Re:Fortunately we still have Google. (5, Insightful)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156037)

The takedowns mostly consist of links to forums that link to filelocker sites which have also been DMCAed, so they are of limited use in finding infringing files. Sure, a determined pirate can use them to follow a trail, but it's a lot of work.

Oh, pirates. Request for you. Those NFO files? Include hashes. File size, ed2k, aich, btih, sha1 and tth. That covers all the major hash-search-capable p2p networks. That way even if all the filelocker links are down, people can still try to use the hashes to aid in their quest.

Re:Fortunately we still have Google. (5, Interesting)

JWW (79176) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156759)

That's the reason for the $110 million settlement.

That number is orders of magnitude greater than what ISOHunt can pay.

The reason the settlement number is so large is that the MPAA is looking for how much they want to charge google for enabling people to search the internet.

perplexed (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155807)

That certainly was a very confusing farewell message...

Re:perplexed (1)

margeman2k3 (1933034) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155853)

That might be because it's not a farewell message. It's a 10 year anniversary post from Jan 22, 2013.

Re:perplexed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155915)

Forgot the [/SARCASM]

Trolled (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155857)

Wow, so he tricked them into settling for $110 million when he only has about $5 mil or so in the company. TROLLED! Correct me if I'm wrong but settlements outside of court cannot be converted to wage garnishments, right? He definitely tricked them pretty well.

Re:Trolled (4, Informative)

schnell (163007) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156371)

Correct me if I'm wrong but settlements outside of court cannot be converted to wage garnishments, right?

Not true. But hopefully IsoHunt was a corporation, not an individual proprietorship or partnership. Part of the purpose of a corporation's "legal personhood" is that wrongdoing on the part of the corporation cannot be transferred to the people who worked there or owned it. Of course, a corporation won't stop individuals for being charged with crimes, but a lawsuit settlement that bankrupts a company should not then bankrupt the individuals behind that corporation assuming they set things up properly.

This corporate protection from individual liability works for the bad guys, it works for good guys, it works for everyone.

Re:Trolled (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156753)

This corporate protection only serves the purpose of escaping justified responsibility. Beam me up Scotty, there's no good guys down here.

captcha: diseases

Re:Trolled (1)

nomadic (141991) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156903)

True, although you can generally go after assets that have been transferred out of the corporation in an attempt to avoid the judgment. The dude can't just pay himself a $6,000,000 "bonus" and then tell the other side that the company's broke.

Re:Trolled (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | 1 year,7 days | (#45157009)

Awww, I totally would have paid myself a gigantic bonus like that and then told them they can collect the payment from the Department of Go Fuck Yourself. I would at least hire like 15 different cleaning services and take a limo everywhere, especially to court, because those are legitimate business expenses, lol.

Distributed architecture, anyone? (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155863)

And that is why you go for fully decentralized services, kids.

Re:Distributed architecture, anyone? (4, Insightful)

Joining Yet Again (2992179) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155907)

Yup, and this is why I'm a ham fighting to keep shortwave clear of RFI.

And why I would encourage all hams to experiment with UHF, with a view to taking back centralised private ownership of the modern popular internetwork.

Re:Distributed architecture, anyone? (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156077)

As a fellow ham, I understand your comment regarding RFI on HF, but I don't follow with your comment regarding UHF. I've used UHF with FRS radios and interoperating with my ham rig, but I'm not copying you regarding the ownership takeback. Can you elaborate, please?

Re:Distributed architecture, anyone? (2)

Kjella (173770) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156217)

Fully decentralized services are full of spam, viruses, trolls, hired goons, crap versions, corrupted versions and garbage. You don't need the bulk data from a centralized source - a magnet link is plenty - but if you don't want to waste a lot of time and bandwidth you want some form of crowd-sourced service to help you find good files. That means moderation, comments, ratings, votes, indexes and so on that don't decentralize well. You could of course try with some PGP "web of trust" system, but you see how well that's worked out for key signing so I really doubt it'll do better at finding good content. As long as places like TPB are up, they'll be used. If they go down, I guess hidden services over TOR are next. If they go down as well, then maybe but not before...

Re:Distributed architecture, anyone? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156479)

Fully decentralized services are full of spam, viruses, trolls, hired goons, crap versions, corrupted versions and garbage.

As opposed to the general BitTorrent world? How exactly would a decentralized searched engine have to cope with worse problems than the traditional ones struggle with? I'm not talking about file distribution, just about the searches.

Re:Distributed architecture, anyone? (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156897)

Just because one centralized system lacks a DHT for ranking metadata doesn't mean they all will -- It especially doesn't mean that centralization is the answer instead.

Re:Distributed architecture, anyone? (1)

PRMan (959735) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156407)

Not to mention, if you are in charge, definitely never upload anything or encourage anyone to do it.

Re:Distributed architecture, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156779)

Amen brother.

Mobile ones too.

What a business model (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155867)

Sue for profit! we don't need to make good content anymore *cheers*

"fourth most popular BitTorrent site" (1)

undulato (2146486) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155869)

I think the release was remiss in not naming the other sites for *cough* comparison's sake..

Re:"fourth most popular BitTorrent site" (1)

GerardAtJob (1245980) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155925)

Just compare using http://www.torrentz.com/ [torrentz.com] instead, it search "many, if not all most popular BitTorrent sites". This way, you'll be able to *cough* compare :D

Re:"fourth most popular BitTorrent site" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155991)

Might as well go straight to kickass. That's where it usually takes me. Saves an awful lot of ads and popups, some of which even manage to slip past my adblocker.

Is anybody surprised? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155887)

What is irritating is that people fold. How can others avoid this problem? A properly configured Tor hidden service run by someone who is more technically competent? Then utilize advertising and accept only bitcoins combined with donations of bitcoins? I'm not convinced silk road and freedom hosted folded because of some technical fault in Tor. What I do believe is we need a solution that is per-configured to be more secure by default with instructions on how to utilize it safely for publishing. Changes to the configuration should not result in the owner/operator of said hidden service to become compromised either.

Re:Is anybody surprised? (4, Interesting)

lgw (121541) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155955)

TOR is a poor choice for media sharing as it's not P2P. Freenet [wikipedia.org] was written as secure P2P from the ground up, and has had plenty of security review. While I don't trust anything to be safe from the NSA, the known attacks require far more resources than the *AA will ever use.

I doubt it's any faster than TOR, but being P2P if people actually started using it instead of open torrents, it would be.

The problem of course is "network effect". There's no content because no one uses it and vice versa. But it is the correct technical solution, with years in the field and years of security review.

another solution, proven to work (-1, Troll)

raymorris (2726007) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156021)

That might kind of work. Another method that's proven to work is called "Netflix", aka "Amazon Prime". You want them to spend a few million dollars making something cool for you to watch, you pony up ninety-nine cents. You get what you want, the costs are covered and everyone is happy. Plus, that way you're not a free-loading scumbag

Alternatively, don't pay even 99 cents. Instead, download MythTV, set it to automatically record your favorite actors and shows, and watch pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want, at no cost.

Re:another solution, proven to work (4, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156089)

That might kind of work. Another method that's proven to work is called "Netflix", aka "Amazon Prime". You want them to spend a few million dollars making something cool for you to watch, you pony up ninety-nine cents. You get what you want, the costs are covered and everyone is happy.

Except for the little detail that the most popular stuff that gets torrented is point blank not available from those sources.

let's look and see (1)

raymorris (2726007) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156543)

> the most popular stuff that gets torrented is point blank not available from those sources

Let's check and see:

http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Grosse_Pointe_Blank/1153034?locale=en-US [netflix.com]

Oh, you said "most popular". Is the most popular movie of 2012 available on Netflix?:
http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/The_Avengers/70217913?locale=en-US [netflix.com]

How about so far this year? The most popular movie of the 2013 summer movie season is "Iron Man 3":
http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Iron_Man_3/70243360?locale=en-US [netflix.com]

Re:another solution, proven to work (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156209)

Do you think people who use an antenna are also free loading scumbags?
and then there is this:
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones [theoatmeal.com]

99 cents per episode for a tv series is outrages.

Re:another solution, proven to work (4, Informative)

Kielistic (1273232) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156389)

I'd happily pay 99 cents for an unencumbered 720p or 1080p mkv file for a great many shows. Unfortunately (for them) I can't.

No, I suggested that. ads to thieves or authors. (1)

raymorris (2726007) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156413)

> Do you think people who use an antenna are also free loading scumbags?

No, in fact I suggested using a DVR to record shows and movies to watch them whenever you please.
I replied to someone suggesting that a good plan would be for someone to put up an ad supported site serving movies they'd ripped off.
On TV, the ads actually pay for the movie to be made. Doesn't that make a little more sense?

Re:another solution, proven to work (3, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156423)

99 cents per episode for a tv series is outrages.

Especially if you consider that [monthly cable bill / ({# of channels * 24} / amount of hours show X is on per month)] is a helluva lot less than $0.99.

Assuming a $60/mo cable bill with 80 channels, the value to the subscriber for an hour-long show that runs once a week would be about 12.5 cents... presuming I didn't bork the math, which is quite probable.

Re:another solution, proven to work (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156545)

Assuming I valued all content the same, sure.

There's plenty of shows I'd pay $0.99/episode to watch.

The alternative is simply not to watch it. I don't feel so entitled to everything that I can so easily scoff at the content producers trying to get what they think is fair value for their work.

As such, I don't see a lot of "good" shows on premium cable. They've set their prices and distribution model, and it doesn't appeal to me. ...but that doesn't mean it's not worth $0.99 - it just means that I choose to spend my money elsewhere. [There are more reasonably priced things than I care to buy...]

Re:another solution, proven to work (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156763)

Do you think people who use an antenna are also free loading scumbags?
and then there is this:
http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones [theoatmeal.com]

99 cents per episode for a tv series is outrages.

All I got out of that is that Denise Milani wants to date my testicles.

Re:another solution, proven to work (1)

foobar bazbot (3352433) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156585)

Instead, download MythTV, set it to automatically record your favorite actors and shows, and watch pretty much whatever you want, whenever you want, at no cost.

As long as "whatever you want" doesn't include cable shows, overseas shows, or (depending where you live) shows on lesser networks such as the CW that don't have an affiliate in every small city, then sure, PC-based DVR is awesome and free.

Anyway, if OTA programming you can receive in your location with an antenna at your location is all you want to watch, I don't see how you're any more or less of a "free-loading scumbag" to watch it sans ads with a DVR rig (PC-based or not) or to watch it sans ads by downloading a pirated copy. One is legal, the other is illegal, but they have exactly the same effect on the content producer's bottom line.

Yeah, if you want cable, get cable. I cable & (1)

raymorris (2726007) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156979)

> As long as "whatever you want" doesn't include cable shows, overseas shows [most of which are available on cable], or (depending where you live) shows on
> lesser networks such as the CW [also available on cable], then sure, PC-based DVR is awesome and free.

Yeah, if you want cable TV, get cable TV. There are about 100 movies on cable each month, so by plugging that cable TV into a DVR you can pretty much watch whatever you want whenever you want. That's what I do.

To spend less, we're considering getting rid of cable and instead spending 90% less on Amazon Prime, or maybe Netflix, along with free services that index Hulu, the network's web sites, etc. Going that route, we can watch most any show we want, any time we want, but we'd be a season behind for many of them. I'm cool with that. My wife may want to see the shows sooner, and for her it might be worth paying for cable to see them immediately. We'll see what we decide.

Re:Is anybody surprised? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156073)

some technical fault in Tor

That technical fault is called "PRISM". When you have the "metadata" of all the packets on the internet, you can watch the packet leave your computer, bounce around all the tor routers, arrive at the "hidden" service and the response packet come back without needing to know what's in it. Have your guy sit there and hit reload on silk road enough times and all the other packets become background noise. Tor openly admits it has a timing attack problem, and that's exactly what the government has been doing. They don't need to know what's in your packet, they can go to the silk road website themselves and guess. Same with the kiddy porn sites.

From there, it's just a matter of sending some guy to canada to mail a bunch of fake IDs to the guy and letting canadian post know that they should open the box with the red sticker on it, and suddenly you have a real case against the guy and don't have to mention anything to anyone about how you really found him.

Freedom Hosting's downfall was running tormail. All the pedos that got swept up was just icing on the cake to distract everyone from the real target. Weeks later Lavabit goes down, then Silent Circle.

Re:Is anybody surprised? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156729)

Go. Do it.

Re:Is anybody surprised? (0)

nomadic (141991) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156927)

Or just not set up a service whose main purpose is to locate copyrighted materials?

Dysfunctional legal system. (5, Insightful)

NettiWelho (1147351) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155889)

MPAA demanding money for imaginary damage done to imaginery property? Pay them with monopoly money.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155923)

What do you mean imaginary?

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (3, Informative)

NettiWelho (1147351) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155941)

imaginary

adjective 1. existing only in the imagination or fancy; not real; fancied: an imaginary illness; the imaginary animals in the stories of Dr. Seuss.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

theripper (123078) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156177)

So intangible would be a better word than imaginary when talking about intellectual property, using your definition of imaginary.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (2)

MightyYar (622222) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156385)

I'd go with "pretend". We pretend that ideas are like regular property, and all of this funny stuff flows from that unnatural concept. One day we'll look back on it the same way people today look at the East India Company or the Stationers Company. Beware the dangerous printing press!

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156501)

Intangible implies something exists. If I can "steal" your "property" by merely scribbling words on paper you never had any in the first place.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

theripper (123078) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156551)

Just because something can't be stolen doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156679)

If stealing something is a literal impossibility then the said entity is imaginary.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

theripper (123078) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156793)

It's impossible to steal light, yet light exists.

It's impossible to steal gravity, yet gravity exists.

It's impossible to steal the idea in this comment, yet the idea exists.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | 1 year,7 days | (#45157007)

It's impossible to steal light, yet light exists.

Photons are not non-existant, simply because they are harder to catch does not mean one cannot cannot interact with them.

It's impossible to steal gravity, yet gravity exists.

Gravity is a function of mass, entities with mass can be stolen barring one extreme edge case where it kinda gets tricky who steals whos body of mass.
That edge case also eats your light for breakfast if you wander too close.

It's impossible to steal the idea in this comment, yet the idea exists.

Ideas dont exist in the literal sense.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

geekoid (135745) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156227)

It's not imaginary any more the music is imaginary.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

iamwahoo2 (594922) | 1 year,7 days | (#45157039)

Music exists. It is sound, which is a pressure wave that causes an ear drum to vibrate. Treating this effect on the human body as a possessible, physical object requires imagination.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

stms (1132653) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156247)

Not siding with MPAA but the U.S. dollar is imaginary money.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156313)

All money is imaginary. The value of currency only exists in the minds of the people participating in that economic system. It is a shared hallucination that gains power and force because of the perceptions of the people participating in the system. Gold is useful as a non-corrosive electrical contact material. Diamonds are useful for cutting tools and some exotic electrical applications. They're value as objects of value is because of their rarity and the demand for them from the people participating in the economy.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (2)

bob_super (3391281) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155949)

They said US Dollars. That counted until this week.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156027)

Imaginary damage done to imaginary property that was made with real effort for a real result taking real skill and real investment by real people.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

fredprado (2569351) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156107)

Imaginary damage done against anything is irrelevant, no matter how it is done or how much effort was put on doing it. the damage is nonexistent after all.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156553)

Imaginary does not necessarily mean nonexistent. It exists in somebody's mind, probably the person who paid for all that real work, and that person then feels wronged. The whole point of the justice system is to remedy that feeling, fairly.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (3, Insightful)

NettiWelho (1147351) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156755)

About as fair as a gourmet restaurant owner suing every grocery store in town out of existance for poaching his 'customers'.

Punchline: Even with all the grocery stores gone the people still cannot afford to dine in the restaurant, and some cant even enter because 'we dont serve people living in your neighborhood'.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (4, Funny)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156149)

Not a bad plan.
A standard Monopoly game has $15,140.
Best price for a Monopoly game I could find was $17
110 million would take the cash from 7266 games.
At a total cost of $123,522

Look at that, A plan with no flaws. :)

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (1)

Kielistic (1273232) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156449)

You can buy just the money. Presumably since they think digital copies of a thing are worth so much they would be okay with a scan of the $500 bill though. Then they could make as many as they wanted.

Re:Dysfunctional legal system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156807)

Yeah, we have had enough of the MPAA in recent years. Anybody that damages or destroyers their server(s) will be heroes.

PR win.. (2)

sqorbit (3387991) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155929)

110 million might never be paid out, but I'm sure the MPAA will use it as a PR move. They will spin it as "If you run a site, you will owe 100's of millions". I'm not sure I support either side in this. As cliche as it sounds two wrongs don't make a right. We have copyright laws and whether they are ridiculous or not if you break them there's a chance you will have to pay. I'd much rather see true discussion and debate on the topic than the constant one side or the other won the battle argument. If this continues this way it will be like the war on drugs. Each side wins battles and neither wins the war.

Damages != Net Worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155961)

The Net worth of the company is irrelevant in determining the damages. If a guy in a in a factory fresh Porsche Cayenne SUV runs you down and leaves you paralyzed, are you any less paralyzed if it had been a barely runing 30 year old Ford Econoline? No. The worth of IsoHunt might be relvant to determining punitive damages, but they didn't seem to be at that stage yet.

Re:Damages != Net Worth (1, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156013)

You need to stop watching so much Fox News.

If someone runs you down, whatever lowlife ambulance chaser you manage to find will settle for the policy limits of the driver. Your fantasies about an Office Space style payday don't have any relation to reality.

So stay out of traffic.

Re:Damages != Net Worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156395)

Not quite actually, they will settle for the max of both policies. The ambulance chaser will sue the victims insurance as well.

Re:Damages != Net Worth (1)

Tiger4 (840741) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156669)

I think you totally missed the point. The damages done have no relation to the worth of the person that did them.

Blood from a turnip. (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156169)

Guess what happens after your contingency shyster wins a case against someone you can't collect from?

He sues you for his 40% because he wrote the contract that way. Collecting is your problem.

Kill all the lawyers.

Re:Damages != Net Worth (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156235)

The Net worth of the company is irrelevant in determining the damages. If a guy in a in a factory fresh Porsche Cayenne SUV runs you down and leaves you paralyzed, are you any less paralyzed if it had been a barely runing 30 year old Ford Econoline? No. The worth of IsoHunt might be relvant to determining punitive damages, but they didn't seem to be at that stage yet.

Except in order to claim damages for being run over by a car and left paralyzed you actually need to be paralyzed after getting run over by a car.

Thank god. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45155965)

isohunt was a terrible website, glad to see it'll be removed both from search results and the internet as a whole.

So long ISOHunt. (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | 1 year,7 days | (#45155997)

You will be missed.
If I couldn't find what I wanted on TPB, then ISOhunt was my next stop.

Re:So long ISOHunt. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156503)

Remember Bushtorrent? Never had trouble finding what I wanted there, and (at least at first) it wasn't covered with porn ads like rhinestones on a teenager girl's mobile.

Proportionality (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156003)

Still, the settlement seems unfair: The MPAA has asked the court for $110 million, when the MPAA itself admitted that isoHunt only has $5 or $6 million.

The legal system does not hand out punishment on the basis of whether or not the defendant can pay for it; It hands it out on the basis of how much harm was done. If you run someone over and they're a cripple for the rest of their life, the Judge doesn't say "Well, you only got $20 and a cracker... so give me the $20 and we're even." You are fined and jailed on the basis of how much pain and suffering that person endured.

Unfortunately, the law says that every time you share an MP3, god kills $150,000 worth of kittens. Statutory damages don't allow for any discretion on the part of the judge. Thank Congress for that.

And the argument can also be made that proportional damages levied against very wealthy individuals or corporations is good practice, though it doesn't often happen. Fining people for dumping millions of gallons of toxic waste into the ocean the maximum $50,000 per infraction means they just video tape the whole thing, send in the tape and a check for $50,000 because it's cheaper than going to court, and much, much cheaper than disposing of the waste properly. But alas, that is not how the law is written.

The system is totally broken, but let's endeavor to be specific in our criticism of it... rather than simply saying "Oh that's unfair!" ... Fairness is relative. Justice shouldn't be.

Re:Proportionality (5, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156063)

> It hands it out on the basis of how much harm was done. ...and there was none done here.

On the other hand, there have been a lot of limits placed on civil judgments lately. A lot of hapless tort reform astroturfers have caused a large number of tort reforms to be enacted in various places.

Chances are that if YOU personally are injured that you will never see anything close to an equitable judgement.

These absurd COPYRIGHT verdicts are due to statutory damages laws that have no relation whatsoever to any actual real damages. They are in fact a blatant short cut around proving actual damages. They have little in common with some prole being crippled. A crippled prole has to show real damages.

Crime and punishment for the poor, tort reform for the rich.

Re:Proportionality (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156421)

Chances are that if YOU personally are injured that you will never see anything close to an equitable judgement.

That's mostly because most judgements aren't against an individual but an insurance company acting on behalf of that individual. Corporations are trying to limit liability for obvious reasons -- sometimes the damage can be so enormous and terrifying to behold that juries will throw millions of dollars out of pity and disgust. Juries don't often award large piles of cash to victims when it is a person versus a person, but against a corporation they are vastly more willing to hand out large judgements.

Justice, contrary to popular belief, isn't blind: It knows when you have money. And the more you have, the more you can expect to lose, regardless of the nature of the civil or criminal act that brought you into court. Is that fair? Maybe.

These absurd COPYRIGHT verdicts are due to statutory damages laws that have no relation whatsoever to any actual real damages. They are in fact a blatant short cut around proving actual damages. They have little in common with some prole being crippled. A crippled prole has to show real damages.

That's not a terribly helpful statement when it comes to answering the question What do we need to do to fix the problem? And to answer that, we must first understand why it got to this point. There are several things that go into a damage award;

First is the actual, literal, damage. Sometimes this can be calculated directly; If I smash your mailbox, the replacement cost is very easy to figure out. But sometimes, the damage is more abstract -- if I put up posters in the neighborhood where you life claiming you're a rapist that "got off on a technicality" and warn parents not to let their children near you, it's hard to calculate in dollars the damage to your reputation. Your therapy bills are an obvious place to start, but the problem here is that some people need it, some people don't. Should you be paid less, as the victim, because you're more resiliant to harm? So in these less concrete examples, the courts go off of guidelines that are based on what the average is. Remember that the point of a civil or criminal action is to "make the victim whole again". This is all an attempt to calculate what it would take to get back to where you were before. It is sometimes clear-cut, but other times anything but.

Next, there's punitive damages. This is often based on the perpetrator's culpability for the act. If you were driving through a hail storm very slowly and carefully, and hit a patch of ice on a corner, left the road, and hit someone on the sidewalk... that's a bona fide accident. You didn't want to hit them, and you couldn't have reasonably been expected to have known the road would be slippery there -- and you were driving slowly due to poor conditions. In cases like this, there probably won't be any punitive damages. On the other hand, if you were piss drunk, blew the stop light, and slammed into the person... the result might be the same, but your state of mind was not. This is usually where juries award big fat paychecks and/or jail time.

Third, there's tort, or contract damages. This is where the contract lays out the terms of the exchange, and the penalties if you don't comply. A star actor that decides to quit mid-season is going to royally fuck a lot of people: Tort damages aren't about calculating how badly... it's just a flat fee for failing to hold up the terms of the contract. These kind of cases are pretty open and shut; If you prove the contract terms were violated, a judgement is usually issued on the spot per the terms of the contract, with immediate effect. The court's only involvement in these is simple contract enforcement, plus legal fees. Other damages may be considered, if the contract allowed it, but often this is the only award handed out. Because you signed it, you don't have a lot of room to argue.

Lastly, there are damages awarded as a deterrent. You see, the courts recognize that you can't possibly catch every fish in the sea... but you can punish the ones you do catch proportionally worse to teach the others a lesson. Drunk driving is a classic example of this. And so is copyright infringement. The point is to instill fear in the general public because the consequences will be to terrible to contemplate.

All of these are necessary components in handing out judgements. It is not just about you and what you did, and the type of action or crime needs to be considered in how we weigh and measure out our justice. Now all that said... how would you propose calculating the damages of a copyright infringer, nevermind the ethics and morality, just the legality of it all?

When millions engage in this activity, and yet only hundreds can be prosecuted... how do you deter them? How do you stop the illegal activity? This is the question the judge faced. If you disagree with the judge, then explain why -- arguing only within the law, and not according to your own personal or political beliefs. I think you will find it is not easy to put yourself in that judge's shoes.

You can cry foul, but it's an empty cry unless you can back it up with something else the person could have reasonably done. And the judge, for better or for worse, had limited recourse here. He cannot consider whether copyright law itself is corrupt or unfair. He cannot consider the ethics or morality of ruining someone's life over something that is widely socially acceptable. He can only consider what the law says and allows for.

Re:Proportionality (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156987)

Chances are that if YOU personally are injured that you will never see anything close to an equitable judgment.

What?! You wouldn't believe how much money I've made off of class action settlements. At this rate I'll be able to retire in 19234 C.E.

Re:Proportionality (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156109)

The legal system does not hand out punishment on the basis of whether or not the defendant can pay for it; It hands it out on the basis of how much money the Judge receives on the side.
FTFY

Re:Proportionality (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156207)

Actually, the law forbids destroying a respondent and this term is indeed in violation. At some later date the victims of this RIAA witchunt will appeal citing duress and will have the judgement squashed to something they can pay while still staying alive on what they earn.

Re:Proportionality (1)

houghi (78078) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156291)

send in the tape and a check for $50,000 because it's cheaper than going to court,

And if you copy that tape and share it, you pay $500.000 per distributed copy.
1) Create an oil spill
2) Something to do with copyright as explained above.
3) Profit

Discretion (4, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156303)

Unfortunately, the law says that every time you share an MP3, god kills $150,000 worth of kittens. Statutory damages don't allow for any discretion on the part of the judge. Thank Congress for that.

Not true. 17 USC 504(c): [cornell.edu]

Statutory Damages.—
(1) ... [T]he copyright owner may elect, at any time before final judgment is rendered, to recover, instead of actual damages and profits, an award of statutory damages for all infringements involved in the action, with respect to any one work, for which any one infringer is liable individually, or for which any two or more infringers are liable jointly and severally, in a sum of not less than $750 or more than $30,000 as the court considers just...
(2) In a case where the copyright owner sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that infringement was committed willfully, the court in its discretion may increase the award of statutory damages to a sum of not more than $150,000. In a case where the infringer sustains the burden of proving, and the court finds, that such infringer was not aware and had no reason to believe that his or her acts constituted an infringement of copyright, the court in its discretion may reduce the award of statutory damages to a sum of not less than $200....

Re:Discretion (2)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156803)

Actually, this isn't just the judge. In Capitol v. Thomas, a jury repeatedly awarded more than the judge(s) did in every trial along the way. Because it's not just about how much damage you caused, but how much deterrent value a higher award brings. There were several juries, and they also awarded wildly different amounts; Each time the judge reduced it post-trial.

It can be inferred from this that when ordinary people review these cases, they judge them much more harshly than the judge does. This whole 'discretion' thing you're on about is not only very likely in play here, it's probably more generous than the average person would be given the facts of the case.

Lastly, my statements regarding statutory damages is separate from my quoted figure of $150,000. I said God kills $150,000 worth of kittens. Depending on how much you think God likes kittens, this is either a lotta kittens, or none. Statutory damages are in a range of, as you so nicely quoted, go from $750 to $30,000 -- the judge can't pick a number outside of those ranges. And in the case of 17 USC 504(c), you only quoted part of it.

$750-30,000 is the figure quoted for infringement period. In other words, knowledge or no knowledge, that's how much you're getting slapped with. For this portion, the judge doesn't consider motive -- only and solely the actual value of the work. Should the court find you did so wilfully, they can then go above that previously-calculated amount. Which is why sharing mixes of the boy band in your neighbor's garage is going to get you less of a fine than sharing Michael Jackson's collected works (there's no accounting for taste either in law, unfortunately!).

You've completely misread how the law is actually interpreted. The judge bases the award on the value of the work, not the person's culpability. The culpability is what drives the award upwards. So for example, if the work has a calculated value of $5,000 and the court doesn't feel the infringement was intentional, it stays at $5,000 per work. But if it was deliberate, then they will multiply that by an arbitrary figure, based on how deliberate the judge feels the action was. This new figure caps at $150,000 per infringement. Also not quoted was the bench rules, which vary by each court, and would include how this 'arbitrary' math should be done; California appeals court may say you multiply by a value of 10 to 50... Federal court, maybe 50 to 5 billion. Without a copy of the bench rules, it's difficult to say how strongly the judge felt about your culpability.

Re:Discretion (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156953)

Your statement is technically correct, but it misses the intended meaning:

While there is court discretion, there is a statutory minimum. The problem is that the law doesn't state what the unit of measure for a single infringement is. So when the unit of measure is one download of one song, a $200 minimum is unreasonable. That would be $3000 for a single download of a single audio CD. If the file was torrented, the dollar amount increases exponentially as the file is shared.

That is how Jamie Thomas wound-up with a settlement of over $2000 per song.

Re:Proportionality (1)

trackedvehicle (1972844) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156311)

The legal system does not hand out punishment on the basis of whether or not the defendant can pay for it;

This is not entirely true, and it shouldn't be true, either: at least here in Finland, fines for traffic violations are proportional to the offender's income. And I believe this is a very good system, because otherwise, those with lots of money would flaunt the rules, since for them the fines are a pittance. See, for instance, Steve Jobs, parking in the disabled's spot and more than happy to pay the fines.

Where The Fuck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156103)

Where the fuck did ISOHunt get $110 million?

Will they never learn? (1)

corychristison (951993) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156119)

For every site they take down, hundreds more will pop up.

This is just a scare tactic. $110 Million? The company only had $5 Million in assets. This is all show. They will never actually get $110 Million. Ever.

MPAA has juristiction in Canada? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156157)

IANAL, and perhaps I'm missing something obvious here.

What power does a US court have over a Canadian national running a website operating in Canada?

ISOhunt had 5-6 million dollars?!? (4, Insightful)

Maow (620678) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156225)

ISOhunt had 5-6 million dollars - presumably from hosting ads along with links?

That makes the "we weren't hosting any infringing content ourselves" defense, which I've always been sympathetic toward, somewhat inconsequential.

The fact that the site (owners) profited to the tune of multiple millions of dollars by facilitating copyright infringement kind of rubs me the wrong way. Had they done it for not much more than hosting fees I'd be more aligned with them receiving a "shut down, now" penalty.

And before I'm called a corporate shill, I fight the mess that copyright laws have become by boycotting the big content producers. They haven't made one single cent from me in many years, nor have I pirated any of their content. I've learned that I just don't need what they're selling.

Re:ISOhunt had 5-6 million dollars?!? (4, Interesting)

RichMan (8097) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156289)

ISOhunt provided the index. From the index they made a profit.

The "Yellow Pages" is a profitable form for finding things. The makers of the yellow pages make money, yet they provide none of the services they index.

Re:ISOhunt had 5-6 million dollars?!? (1)

CCarrot (1562079) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156617)

ISOhunt provided the index. From the index they made a profit.

The "Yellow Pages" is a profitable form for finding things. The makers of the yellow pages make money, yet they provide none of the services they index.

Except, perhaps, advertising in the Yellow Pages :)

Re:ISOhunt had 5-6 million dollars?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,7 days | (#45156637)

Wow. You're really reaching now. Illogic is the order of the day around here.

Re:ISOhunt had 5-6 million dollars?!? (0)

MightyYar (622222) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156505)

I've long maintained that copyright should be a commercial concept only - it is simply not fair to impose such a complex and hard-to-understand set of laws on regular people. I don't even think it would cost the copyright holders much money or change the current state of affairs. For example, ISOhunt (and Napster for that matter) clearly fall into the commercial realm and would still get shut down. Comcast and Verizon could still be compelled to impose "3 strikes" style limits. The idea that making a mix tape for your girlfriend violates copyright law is just ludicrous and just about every person in the United States of a certain age has violated that provision at some point. Why in the world do we allow this?

Re:ISOhunt had 5-6 million dollars?!? (1)

Kielistic (1273232) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156561)

Clearly there is customer demand for such a service. Maybe they should knock off the cartel crap and start selling their products the way people want them. It would be much easier to get rid of places like isoHunt if they actually had a competing service.

Re:ISOhunt had 5-6 million dollars?!? (1)

NettiWelho (1147351) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156583)

The fact that the site (owners) profited to the tune of multiple millions of dollars by facilitating copyright infringement kind of rubs me the wrong way.

I agree, US govt should give them the same treatment they give the banks that laundry untold of billions of cartel drug money made by murder of tens of thousands.

After all, considering all that pirates have done [wikipedia.org]

So when they say $100 million (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156411)

They mean they have agreed to declare bankruptcy.

Where will the money go ? (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | 1 year,7 days | (#45156993)

How much of that $5-6 million will go to the musicians who, presumably/supposedly, have been losing income through the activities of ISOhunt ? Call me cynical, but I suspect that none of it will. The money will be used to hand out bonuses to MPAA employees & lawyers and the rest to fund future MPAA activities.

Will someone please remind me what the ultimate purpose of the MPAA is supposed to be.

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