Earlier this month some pretty surprising news hit the file-sharing scene. After many years battling aggressively with the MPAA, Canadian BitTorrent site isoHunt suddenly agreed to a settlement with the MPAA.
The amount that owner Gary Fung would have to pay to the MPAA was publicized at $110 million, a somewhat scary quantity of money by anyone’s standards. Of course, Fung doesn’t have that kind of money and wouldn’t pay it freely to the MPAA even if he did. The amount was put out there to act as a deterrent to those who might think of opening a similar site in future, the metaphorical head-on-a-pike if you will.
But despite the scary messages and veiled threats, just days after the settlement was announced a group calling themselves the ArchiveTeam told TorrentFreak that they intended to save isoHunt’s torrent files, to save them for future generations. They had a big job ahead and a deadline of October 23 looming, the date that Fung had agreed to close down isoHunt.
Things wouldn’t pan out as planned. After hearing of the backup plan Fung pulled the plug days early, thwarting the ArchiveTeam’s attempts at preserving history.
However, in the background another project was already underway to breathe new life into isoHunt even after it had been shot and buried by the MPAA. Today isoHunt.to was launched, a site that looks identical to its now-dead namesake.
Speaking with TorrentFreak the team behind the project, who have no connections to the ArchiveTeam, say that preserving a cultural icon is their main aim.
“IsoHunt has been a great part of the torrent world for more than a decade. It’s a big loss to everyone who used it over the years. Media corporations don’t like innovative or competition and isoHunt’s fate is one of the examples of how they deal with it,” our sources explain.
“IsoHunt can definitely be called a file-sharing icon. People got used to it and they don’t want to simply let it go. We want those people to feel like being at home while visiting isohunt.to. The main goal is to restore the website with torrents and provide users with the same familiar interface.”
While there is still work to be done and bugs to be ironed out, things are well underway. The interface is completely familiar, with categories to browse on the left hand side as usual. Torrent pages appear as they previously did although the ‘time added’ box appears to show when the torrent was added to the new isoHunt site, not when it was added to the original isoHunt.
At the moment some of the community-driven modules of the site such as the forum and user profiles are unavailable and due to their nature it seems unlikely that they will return. User torrent comments are also absent but it at least seems possible that these might be recovered in a future update. Additionally, brand new torrents are also being added to the site so its usefulness will not only be limited to preserving the past.
With the original isoHunt gone there is no simple way of comparing the new isoHunt’s database with the old one but the team behind the resurrection inform TorrentFreak that so far around 75% of isoHunt’s torrent database has been restored.
“Only time will tell whether users like the site or not. If they like the idea and keep coming back we’ll be happy to develop the project even further,” the team conclude.
Update: A former employee of isoHunt.com has asked us to make it extra clear that isoHunt.to has nothing to do with the original isoHunt.com.