Music industry gets $66M in settlement with Canadian BitTorrent search site IsoHunt
Gary Fung of Vancouver founded isoHunt in 2003, forced to shut it down in 2013
A Canadian website that let users search for music, movies and other files shared using BitTorrent agreed to pay the music industry $66 million to settle two outstanding copyright lawsuits.
"After 10 years (2006–2016), I'm happy to announce the end of isoHunt's and my lawsuits ," wrote Gary Fung, the Vancouver resident who founded isoHunt.com in 2003, in a blog post on the website Medium.
The site reported that it had 51 million users and linked to 13.7 million active BitTorrent files when it was shut down in 2013 as part of a $110 million US settlement with the movie industry.
Now, Fung and isoHunt have agreed in a consent order filed with the Supreme Court of B.C., that they infringed on the copyright of a group of 27 Canadian and international record companies.
They have also agreed to pay $55 million in damages, $10 million in aggravated damages and $1 million in legal costs to settle the lawsuit filed by the music industry in 2010.
A second consent order agreed to the dismissal of a counter-suit filed by isoHunt and Fung against the Canadian music industry without costs.
"Music companies in Canada stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight against illegitimate sites that distribute massive volumes of creative works without compensation to creators," said Graham Henderson, president and CEO of Music Canada, an industry group that represents Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada, in a statement announcing the settlements.
"Thousands of Canadian creators, our creative industries, and their employees are directly harmed by these activities. This settlement is a step forward towards providing consumers with a marketplace in which legitimate online music services can thrive."
Fung thanked his lawyers for helping him survive the decade of legal fights. He also thanked his users and said he had kept his promise to protect their privacy by not disclosing any user data that could be used to extort money from them.
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He called the ordeal "an interesting and challenging journey for me to say the least, and the most profound business learning experience I could not expect."