Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) quietly sued BitTorrent tracker site isoHunt nearly a month before the controversial copyright reform bill (Bill C-32) was proposed, proving that copyright holders do have the proper tools necessary to fight online infringement.
With Canadian legislators still mulling a new copyright reform bill (Bill C-32) it should come as know surprise that the current system, despite copyright holder claims to the contrary, is working just fine.
“Legal clarity is needed to send a signal that downloading music from the Internet without payment is not allowed,” the CRIA said in a statement last June. “Stronger rules are also needed to rein in Canadian-based peer-to-peer websites which, according to IFPI, have become ‘a major source of the world’s piracy problem’.”
Yet, a month before it made this statement the “legal clarity” it was looking for already existed. The charges it was able to make in court against isoHunt prove so.
“The isoHunt Websites have been designed and are operated by the defendants with the sole purpose of profiting from rampant copyright infringement which defendants actively encourage, promote, authorize, induce, aid, abet, materially contribute to and commercially profit from,” reads the CRIA’s complaint. “The defendants and users of the isoHunt Websites act together, in and as part of a file-sharing community, to reproduce and distribute the Plaintiffs’ sound recordings and other copyright content.”
Could the charges be any less ambiguous?
isoHunt lost a similar battle in the US back in 2009 when US District Judge Stephen V. Wilson found that isoHunt and owner, operator Gary Fung had infringed copyright, and intentionally encouraged piracy, stating that the “evidence of defendants’ intent to induce infringement is overwhelming and beyond reasonable dispute.”
What’s ironic about the CRIA suit however, is that it’s essentially a countersuit to an earlier claim filed by isoHunt. Back in September of 2008 isoHunt decided to pre-empt copyright infringement litigation threatened by the CRIA by suing them (Petition to the Court) so that the courts could clarify its legal rights.
In his petition Fung pointed out that Google works just as isoHunt does, yet it indexes ACTUAL CONTENT! With isoHunt users can only search through .torrent (tracker) files whereas with Google you can search through music, movies, images, and more. In many cases they can be downloaded with a simple right-click of the mouse.
Moreover, the whole affair is confusing because on the one hand the CRIA says that Canadian law is ill-suited to deal with BitTorrent tracker sites like isoHunt, and yet it managed to file a lawsuit under preexisting laws that allowed it to do just that.