A United States court wants isoHunt to stop inducing copyright infringement via torrents that can be found through the popular BitTorrent search engine. The proposed injunction would require isoHunt to censor its site based on a list of keywords. A similar measure led to the quasi-shutdown of Mininova last year.
In an ongoing legal battle with MPAA-represented movie studios, a Californian court has now proposed a permanent injunction that would require isoHunt to maintain a list of banned keywords and remove torrents that match items found on it.
The proposed keyword filter is a suggestion from the movie studios that was taken over by the court. Last year, a Dutch court ordered fellow torrent site Mininova to install a similar measure. The operators of Mininova found it technically unfeasible to pre-approve or filter every potentially infringing torrent file, so restricted their torrent offerings to uploads made by approved users instead.
IsoHunt owner Gary Fung has no faith in a filtering mechanism either. He previously told TorrentFreak that such a measure “raises serious issues on the balance between freedom of speech, fair use and copyright protectionism,” as it would also filter out many torrent files that are in the public domain, or distributed with the consent of copyright holders.
It has to be noted that the court’s suggestion is not yet a final order. Fung told TorrentFreak that he will certainly be objecting to the proposal. Instead of a keyword filter Fung has prepared a ‘lite’ version of isoHunt that would address the judge’s concern on inducing copyright infringement.
The lite version of the site is nothing more than a big search box similar to other search engines such as Google. Unlike the present site where users can browse through various torrent categories, the lite version should not induce copyright infringement any more than other search engines, Fung reasons.
Whether or not the court will accept this lite version, it is unlikely that isoHunt will start to actively filter content from the site in the future. The ultimate measure would be to block access to visitors from the United States, which would also be sufficient to comply with the court’s demands.