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isoHunt to Shut Down as Part of Settlement With Studios

The website isoHunt will shut down as part of a settlement in a massive piracy suit filed by Hollywood studios, agreeing to pay $110 million for claims that the site induced the pirating of movies and TV shows.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Chooljian canceled a planned hearing after she was informed of the settlement. A copy of the proposed settlement was filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Thursday morning.

The settlement terms include a $110 million judgment against isoHunt and its owner, Gary Fung, ending a seven-year legal battle over its operations.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in March ruled against isoHunt, concluding that “there is more than enough unrebutted evidence in the summary judgment record to prove Fung offered his services with the object of promoting their use to infringe copyrighted material.” The appellate court also said that isoHunt was not protected by the “safe harbor” provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, concluding that the site had so-called “red flag” knowledge of infringement and that they were profiting from it through advertising.

The settlement also prohibits Fung from “further profiting from the infringement of MPAA member studio content.”

Chris Dodd, chairman of the MPAA, said in a statement that the settlement “sends a strong message that those who build businesses around encouraging, enabling and helping others to commit copyright infringement are themselves infringers, and will be held accountable for their actions.”

Studios sued Fung and isoHunt in 2006. It had been one of the most popular sites using the BitTorrent protocol, In 2009, a federal court judge issued an injunction against the site, but isoHunt continued to operate through private servers in Canada. After the 9th Circuit issued its ruling upholding that injunction, what remained to be decided was how much in damages the site would have to pay. After a district court ruled that isoHunt’s infringement was “willfull,” they faced damages of $150,000 for each act of infringement. In addition to the settlement amount of $110 million, the agreement requires that isoHunt shut down by Oct. 23, 2013, according to the MPAA.

Michael Elkin, an attorney representing isoHunt, had no comment.

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