Canadian Music Companies Successfully Settle Legal Action Against isoHunt

VANCOUVER, July 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Canadian and international music companies have settled litigation against isoHunt Web Technologies Inc. ("isoHunt") and its founder Gary Fung ("Fung") with the entering of orders by consent against isoHunt and Fung.  The settlement ends a lawsuit filed in 2010 alleging substantial copyright infringement of music on the isoHunt site, as well as an opposing action filed by isoHunt and Fung.

isoHunt and Fung agreed to a court order finding them liable for infringing the music companies' rights in their recordings, which were made available for BitTorrent file-sharing through isoHunt's websites. Fung and isoHunt further agreed not to be associated with any service that makes the music companies' recordings available without authorization, including by BitTorrent or any other file-sharing technology.

"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 & CEO of Music Canada. "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."

isoHunt was one of the largest unauthorized BitTorrent sites in the world, offering access to a vast array of music and films for instant download by millions of users. It operated out of Vancouver with worldwide reach.

"Courts all over the world have confirmed that websites such as isoHunt infringe rights", said Frances Moore, Chief Executive Officer of IFPI. "Artists, creators and record companies pay a heavy price for that infringement, in lost revenues, lost jobs and lost investment. This settlement sends a strong message that anyone who builds a business by encouraging and enabling copyright infringement faces legal consequences for these actions."

A timeline of legal activities involving isoHunt:

  • 2008 – isoHunt files a petition in British Columbia Supreme Court against Canadian music companies, seeking to have its BitTorrent file-sharing site declared legal under the Canadian Copyright Act;
  • 2009 – The British Columbia Supreme Court rejects isoHunt's application, and grants the Canadian music companies' application to have the petition proceed by way of an action or full trial. isoHunt files such an action;
  • 2009 – A US federal district court finds isoHunt liable for copyright infringement in a case brought by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), citing unchallenged evidence that 95% of the files traded through isoHunt's sites were likely infringing;
  • 2010 – Two dozen Canadian and international music companies file a lawsuit against isoHunt and Fung in British Columbia Supreme Court, alleging massive copyright infringement and seeking damages;
  • 2012 – The Canadian government passes The Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-11), which ensures that businesses that enable infringement can be held liable for the activities they facilitate. In public statements, government representatives identify isoHunt as the type of "enabler" that the law is intended to target;
  • 2013 – A US federal court of appeals unanimously upholds the US district court's decision;
  • 2013 – isoHunt and Fung agree to halt all operations worldwide and are deemed liable for a judgment of US$110 million in the US proceedings;
  • 2016 – by way of a consent order filed in the Canadian proceedings in British Columbia Supreme Court, isoHunt and Fung are liable for CAD$55 million in damages and an additional CAD$10 million in punitive damages. isoHunt and Fung further agree not to be associated with any service that makes the music companies' recordings available without authorization.

Despite these successful legal actions, piracy remains a significant problem for the music industry. IFPI estimates that 20 per cent of all fixed line internet users worldwide regularly access services offering infringing music. A recent report by the Digital Citizens Alliance demonstrates that one in three piracy sites contains malware, which could result in identity theft, stolen banking information, or exposure to hackers. 

Notes for editors:

About Music Canada

Music Canada is a non-profit trade organization that represents the major record companies in Canada, namely Sony Music Entertainment Canada, Universal Music Canada and Warner Music Canada. Music Canada also works with some of the leading independent record labels and distributors, recording studios, live music venues, concert promoters, managers and artists in the promotion and development of the music cluster.

About IFPI

IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises some 1,300 major and independent companies in 61 countries. It also has affiliated industry associations in 57 countries.  IFPI's mission is to promote the value of recorded music, campaign for record producer rights and expand the commercial uses of recorded music in all its member markets.

SOURCE Music Canada

For further information: Quentin Burgess, Music Canada, qburgess@musiccanada.com, +1 (416) 967-7272 x106; Adrian Strain, Director of Communications, IFPI, adrian.strain@ifpi.org, +44 (0)20 7878 7935


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