Jenner & Block

October 17, 2014 Firm Secures Victory for Movie Studios in Seminal File-Sharing Copyright Case

The firm effectively shut down one of the world’s largest BitTorrent websites, protecting our movie and television clients from a popular, easy and anonymous form of digital piracy. Reached on this day in 2013, the settlement with Gary Fung, owner of isoHunt Web Technologies Inc., ended nearly eight years of litigation.  IsoHunt had allowed users to search for and find “BitTorrent links" to movies, television shows and virtually every other form of copyrighted content.  In January 2010, the U.S. District Court of the Central District of California  granted summary judgment in favor of the studios, finding that isoHunt was liable for “inducement” of copyright infringement under the seminal Supreme Court standard (which was set in an earlier case litigated by the firm).  The Court also rejected the defendant’s attempt to compare isoHunt to a conventional search engine such as Google. In May 2010, the Court granted a permanent injunction prohibiting the defendant from providing access to the studios’ content.  In March 2013, the Ninth Circuit affirmed both the finding of liability and the injunction.  When the settlement was announced in October, the Washington Post opined that isoHunt’s demise was “a well-deserved victory for the motion picture industry,” adding that the courts had found “clear evidence that isoHunt was trying to profit from infringement.”  Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, was quoted saying 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 illegal actions.”  In addition to closing down isoHunt, the consent judgment awarded $110 million in damages against the defendants.  The team representing the movie studios included current Partners Gianni Servodidio, Ken Doroshow and Dave Handzo, as well as Paul Smith, who led efforts in the Ninth Circuit.

CATEGORIES: 2005-present, BitTorrent, isoHunt, movie studios

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