IsoHunt to pay $110 million in damages to MPAA and shut down site

Torrent search engine IsoHunt will close its doors after the owner has settled with the MPAA after 7 years of lawsuits. Besides the shutdown of the site, the owner has to pay $110 million in damages to the MPAA, the organisation defending the rights of the American movie industry.

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IsoHunt was found guilty in a number of lawsuits for hosting a service with the intention for users to obtain copyrighted material and profiting from advertising. The owner and founder Gary Fung continued to defend himself but a trial scheduled for the 5th of November this year, would probably only increase the amount of damages Fung has to pay. The MPAA earlier announced it would claim $600 million and it seems this triggered Fung to settle.

Before the lawsuit would take place, the owner, that runs the site for more than 10 years, decided to stop the legal battle and went for a settlement. The site has to shut down before the 23rd of October, the $110 million in damages has to be paid and Fung can no longer participate in anything that “makes profits at the expense of content from MPAA members”.

The MPAA has stated it is satisfied with the settlement. Chairman Chris Dodd said in a statement that the lawsuits and the eventual settlement send a clear signal to those who facilitate downloading of copyrighted materials.

IsoHunt was sued by Hollywood in 2006 for the first time, in 2009 the site was found guilty for the first time. After that the site introduced filters that should have blocked copyrighted content, but it seems  not good enough. On the 22nd of  January this year, the owner blogged on his site that he was planning something new. It’s unclear if that legal initiative will still be developed and if there’s still money to fund it.