P2P search engine defends itself

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P2P search engine defends itself

IsoHunt has moved to defend itself following the filing of a suit against the peer-to-peer (P2P) networking search engine by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) last month.

IsoHunt has moved to defend itself following the filing of a suit against the peer-to-peer (P2P) networking search engine by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) last month.

As reported in IT News, IsoHunt, and fellow search engine TorrentBox.com, was sued for allegedly providing links to illegal copies of movies and TV shows.

In an email interview, IsoHunt owner and webmaster, Gary Fung, acknowledged that his search engine helped in the distribution of copyrighted material, but argued that the act of doing so was not itself wrong.

“Nowadays, everything is copyrighted on creation, by default,” Fung argued. “Open source software relies on licenses which are based on copyright laws, and software like Linux proactively uses BitTorrent for distribution of operating system images.

“There are also non-copyrighted, public domain materials, which we index as well. Independent entertainment producers are now looking to promote and distribute their content using P2P services.”

While the MPAA was probably over-reacting with its prosecution of P2P search engines, the industry body’s strategy was to be expected, Fung said.

“Big business naturally resists change to their current business models and practices, because change means uncertainty to their bottom line,” he argued.

“If they really want to protect their profits, they should be going after ‘real’ pirate DVD sales instead.”

Fung said IsoHunt would fight the claims against it by finding a way to work with the MPAA in distributing its members' content.

“If we were the MPAA we would market and sell our content to the millions of BitTorrent and P2P users by promoting ‘premium’, protected content that's higher quality and downloaded faster than what's currently available on P2P,” he said.

“Ease, consistency, quality and legitimacy would be on our side, and there's no reason we wouldn't have the same success as iTunes does, with costs further lowered by P2P.”

The legitimacy of content could be ensured using digital watermarks, rather than digital rights management (DRM) technology to give users the freedom to play purchased content on any device, while still deterring mass piracy, Fung said.
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