isoHunt, a search engine for BitTorrent files founded more than a decade ago, has agreed today to shut down all its operations worldwide. The company, founded by Canadian Gary Fung, has also accepted a judgment that it must pay the movie studios that sued it $110 million.
Prosecutors allege that the 13 launched a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks beginning in 2010 on the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America, and the U.S. Copyright Office in retaliation for the 2010 shutdown of The Pirate Bay, a Swedish torrent-tracking site. The campaign was later extended to Bank of America and credit card companies such as Visa and MasterCard after they refused to process payments for WikiLeaks.
The operator of the popular file-sharing service isoHunt is demanding a federal appeals court grant it a jury trial, two weeks after the court declared it a massive copyright scofflaw and said it’s on the hook for what could be millions of dollars in damages payable to Hollywood studios.
If you get your Internet through AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable or Verizon and you’re one of the millions who prefer downloading Game of Thrones, Dexter, and the Big Bang Theory for free through illicit channels, you may get a letter from your ISP letting you know that your copyright transgression has been spotted by the copyright holders’ ref. The “ref” is Reuters-owned firm Mark Monitor, which has 100 employees and a suite of automated tools for watching Torrent sites to catch the IP addresses sharing and downloading content.
During the coming weeks the controversial “six-strikes” anti-piracy system will kick off in the U.S. While none of the participating ISPs have officially announced how they will handle repeat infringers, TorrentFreak has obtained a copy of Verizon’s full policy. Among other things, offenders will have to watch a video about the consequences of online piracy, before their speeds are reduced to 256kbps. Also worth mentioning is that the copyright alert system will also apply to business customers.
SOPA will "give the U.S. government the power to censor the Web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran," the letter says. Chris Dodd, the chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America, recently invoked China as a model, saying that "when the Chinese told Google that they had to block sites" the company complied, according to a report at Variety.com. Dodd backed away from that comparison in a speech (PDF) yesterday, saying it's unfair to compare shutting down "foreign rogue sites and the policies of repressive governments."
The FBI has raided the Los Angeles apartment of a Screen Actors Guild member the bureau believes was first to upload the Oscar-winning movie The King’s Speech as well as Black Swan, and other in-theater-only films to the Pirate Bay in January, according to interviews and sealed court records obtained by Wired.com. The Tuesday raid of Wes DeSoto’s apartment came months after the guild and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences both lauded The King’s Speech with top-acting and top-picture awards.
In what appears to be the latest phase of a far-reaching federal crackdown on online piracy of music and movies, the Web addresses of a number of sites that facilitate illegal file-sharing were seized this week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Department of Homeland Security.
The FBI has launched an investigation into an online protest that allegedly took down numerous Web sites belonging to antipiracy and entertainment groups, as well as the U.S. Copyright Office, a source with knowledge of the probe told CNET today.