Canada-based BitTorrent tracker search engine files petition with the Supreme Court of British Columbia seeking its declaration that it’s “operation of the isoHunt Website does not violate the Copyright Act, RSC 1985, c. C-42 insofar as CRIA Files are concerned.”
It was September of last year that BitTorrent tracker search engine isoHunt sued the Canadian Record Industry Association (CRIA) in order to preempt threatened copyright infringement litigation.
In a series of letters the CRIA claimed isoHunt served no purpose other than to engage in copyright infringement of its members’ music catalogues.
“We intend to take this all the way up to the Canadian Supreme Court unless CRIA settles with us out of court in any reasonable way,” Gary Fung, President of isoHunt Inc., said at the time.
So far his efforts have been in vain with the most recent ruling by Judge Curtis denying his petition as “improper form” and ordering that he pursue the case using the “normal, lengthy, and costly” legal process.
Fung’s attorneys have have now filed a petition with the Supreme Court of British Columbia asking that declare the site “does not violate the Copyright Act, RSC 1985, c. C-42 insofar as CRIA Files are concerned.”
Specifically, it argues the following:
- It is the user having activated BT Client Software, and not the Plaintiff isoHunt, who selects which dot-torrent file and the associated BT Content File to obtain;
- The Other Websites are indexers of dot-torrent files and do not provide any BT Content Files;
- Without sufficient information from the user and a person claiming to be the copyright holder, the Plaintiff isoHunt cannot effectively determine in respect of a given dot-torrent file selected by the user and the associated BT Content File: (a)whether the name of the selected BT Content File accurately describes the material contained in the selected BT Content File; (b)whether the selected BT Content File associated with the dot-torrent file in fact contains material that may be protected by copyright; (c)if the material in the selected BT Content File is protected by copyright, which country’s copyright laws are applicable; (d)if the material in the selected BT Content File is protected by applicable copyright laws, whether under such applicable copyright laws, the user’s copying or distribution of such BT Content File is a permitted or licenced activity; and (e)if the material in the selected BT Content File is protected by applicable copyright laws, whether under such applicable copyright laws, the user’s copying or distribution of such BT Content File is an exception to infringement.
- The Plaintiff isoHunt expressly provides for and implements a “notice and take-down” policy for a person claiming that a dot-torrent file is related to a BT Content File containing material in respect of which the person holds the copyright.
It’s an interesting test case for the both the BitTorrent community and the CRIA because it’ll force the issue of the legality of tracker sites to be discussed once and for all, especially mere search engines like isoHunt who mainly index trackers hosted by other sites.
It’ll also force the CRIA to explain why the country needs additional copyright enforcement legislation if it’s able to successfully seek redress in court.
Moreover, Fung thinks sites like isoHunt provide an invaluable marketing and distribution tool for copyright holders and that it’s important they put “their differences aside” and “figure out how we can utilize P2P distribution and social media for the benefit of all.”