The file sharing website IsoHunt.com is shutting down. In a Stipulation and Proposed Judgment filed with a District Court in California it has agreed to halt all operations and to be permanently enjoined from further infringements. In addition, isoHunt and its founder Gary Fung have agreed to be jointly and severally liable for damages in the amount of US $110 million dollars.
The settlement follows isoHunt’s summary judgment loss in which District Court Judge Stephen Wilson issued an order permanently enjoining isoHunt and Gary Fung from continuing to engage in copyright infringement. The Court found an injunction necessary because the motion picture studio plaintiffs “have demonstrated that they have suffered irreparable harm, and would suffer further irreparable harm from Defendants’ continued infringement”. The Court had previously found that isoHunt’s “websites are used overwhelmingly for copyright infringement, with upwards of 95% of all dot-torrent files downloaded from Defendants’ websites corresponding to works that are infringing or at least highly likely to be infringing.”
It also follows the decision of the Ninth Circuit in March which affirmed the summary judgment decision. The Ninth Circuit, in rendering its decision, made several important findings. .First, it confirmed the holdings of many courts that users of file sharing services are liable as direct infringers for uploading and downloading copyright content such as the motion pictures in issue. Second, isoHunt’s substantial encouragement and enablement of infringements rendered it liable for inducing infringement. Third, none of the DMCA safe harbors applied to protect isoHunt. Importantly, isoHunt could not rely on several of the safe harbors because it had “red flag” knowledge of infringement.