The founder of Canadian file-sharing search engine isoHunt is “free at last” after settling a years-old lawsuit with the record industry for $66 million. Gary Fung, who launched isoHunt.com in 2003 to allow users to search pirated music, movies and other torrent files, agreed to a consent order with the Supreme Court of British Columbia finding him liable for infringing the copyrights of over two dozen Canadian and international labels.
The court found that isoHunt and Fung were liable for $55 million in damages and an additional $10 million in punitive damages, plus another million in court costs. As part of the settlement, Fung agreed to never be associated with any other service that makes music available without the authorization of music companies. A second consent order agreed to the dismissal of a countersuit filed by Fung against the labels.
“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, the trade group for Canadian music companies. “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.”
The Canadian lawsuit was filed in 2010, a year after a U.S federal district court found the site liable for copyright infringement in a suit brought by the Motion Picture Association of America. In 2013, the MPAA was awarded $110 million in damages and the site agreed to cease operations worldwide.
Fung struck a sarcastic tone while announcing the latest settlement in a post for Medium, which he titled “Free at last from 2 lawsuits Moving On.”
“And I want to congratulate both Hollywood and CRIA on their victories, in letting me off with fines of $110m and $66m, respectively. Thank you!” he wrote. “Here’s to progress, and me leaving my life of innovative hobby to… something else? As I’ve realized through the years, there are many industries to disrupt with internet software besides the media industry.”