The US District Court of California has issued a permanent injunction against the BitTorrent search engine isoHunt, forcing it to shut down in the United States. IsoHunt is expected to block all access to US visitors in response to the decision, but no action has been taken thus far.

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Isohunt LogoEarly 2006, the MPAA issued a complaint against isoHunt and  TorrentBox, claiming that owner Gary Fung operated file-sharing services and profited from copyright infringement.

Judge Stephen Wilson of the US District Court of California, Southern District issued a permanent injunction against the popular torrent site Isohunt yesterday, forcing the site and its owner Garry Fung to immediately prevent access to virtually all Hollywood movies.

Last month isoHunt chose to redirect (TF) all United States visitors to a Lite version of its website in a final attempt to prevent the search engine from having to close, but this was not enough according to the Court.Wilson now found that this is not enough. From the verdict

“Defendants’ proposed ‘primal’ or ‘lite’ website contains all of the same indexing and searching functions as the original websites, only with a different interface for the users to operate.”

The verdict also mentions that Isohunt clocks about 2.5 million unique monthly visitors from the U.S. alone.

The verdict does not necessarily mean that isoHunt will be unavailable in other parts of the world. Gary Fung earlier told that the ultimate measure would be to block access to visitors from the United States, which would also be sufficient to comply with the Court’s demands.

IsoHunt is not the first torrent site that has been put out of business in the United States by the MPAA. In the summer of 2007 a federal judge ruled that TorrentSpy (TF) had to monitor its users in order to create detailed logs of their activities and these were to be handed over to the MPAA.

In a response to this decision, TorrentSpy decided to block access to all US visitors instead which led to a huge drop in traffic. In 2008 TorrentSpy, once the largest torrent site on the Internet, closed its doors for good after it was ordered to pay a 110 million dollar fine.

Gary has to comply with the temporary injunction withing a day. The permanent injunction also holds for isoHunt’s sister sites TorrentBox, Podtropolis and Ed2k-it etc.

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