The young Vancouver creator behind isoHunt has been ordered to pay $110 million in fines to a variety of film studios and music labels.
Gary Fung ran the torrent download server for just over ten years before he was ordered to pay a fine to the companies who he had been inadvertently pirating the music and films from.
isoHunt, a search like engine tool that helped over 51 million users world wide find links to download pirated movies, songs, books, and software, was one of the largest aggregators for illegal downloads and at the time of the trial, was the 167th most visited site in Canada.
“isoHunt’s shutdown is a just a casualty in this game of whack-a-mole against the Internet mob,” Fung wrote on his blog Friday.
Like many internet crusaders of the 21st century, including the recently passed co-founder of Reddit, Aaron Swartz, Fung believed that all software and forms of entertainment should be made available for free online for those unable to afford it otherwise.
Unlike Swartz, who made headlines for uploading and releasing the entire MIT library collection of studies and books into the public domain of the internet, Fung’s biggest opposition was the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the variety of movie studios and music labels they represented.
The MPAA began their legal battle against isoHunt and Fung in 2006, alleging the teen and his business cost the various studios and labels they represented millions of dollars in potential revenue.
Fung also credits isoHunt and other BitTorrent aggregators like Pirate Bay with the recently found mainstream success of popular streaming service, Netflix.
“It’s also interesting to me that Netflix stock went up 2.24% today. Did I do that,” Fung asked on his blog Friday.
Up until 2011, Netflix primarily dealt with limited streaming options to hype up their original money making product, DVD rental. In 2011, Netflix split the customer payment options into two categories, DVD rentals and unlimited streaming.
Although this is the end for isoHunt, Fung assured fans and users of his site that he wasn’t going anywhere soon.
“Stay tuned, I may do a Kickstarter or a simple sales of some other creation of mine (photos) that you may want to chip in on,” Fung wrote.
For now, the ongoing war continues between entertainment industries and the torrenting community, and it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down anytime soon.