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Canadian P2P Site Shut Down By ISP!!!

17-Jan-07 01:26 am EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Well it’s finally happened now in Canada too.  The long arm of the MPAA finally, this afternoon, caused isoHunt.com to have its connection cut by its ISP.  A message on the isoHunt.com website reads as follows:

Update, Jan. 16, 2007

Lawyers from our primary ISP decided to pull our plug without any advance notice, as of 14:45 PST. No doubt related to our lawsuit brought by the MPAA, but we don’t have more information at this time until people responsible comes to work tomorrow. We will be back in operation once we sort out this mess with our ISP, or we get new hardware ready from our new ISP.

Sit back and enjoy the rest of the internet in the mean time, while it last. For your torrent searching needs, try Google for now by searching for "SEARCH TERMS ext:torrent".

You can also come hang around our IRC channel (SSL on port +7000). We’ll update on this page and on IRC when we have more information.

– The isoHunt crew

Intenret news sites, as usual, were quick to pick up on the outage….

— list above will be updated as news develops

isoHunt was a Canadian pioneer in the field of P2P websites.  It’s another blow to free information exchange – and happens ahead of Canada imposing regulations on such sites.  I attempted to reach isoHunt’s ISP this afternoon for further comment, but nobody from the company – Server4You.net – was available for comment today.

What’s particularly puzzling about these measures by MPAA is just how futile they are.  As Fung (isoHunt’s operator) points out in his outage notice; anyone can stick up a .torrent file on any website in the world.  As soon as Google picks it up, all you gotta do is query Google and everyone can download the torrent and the file it’s associated with.  Nobody shuts down Google for that – yet indexing these .torrent files is somehow wrong?  It’s so bizaare.

Further arguing that it’s a technicality is also being very near-sighted.  Then the argument becomes one of how many other kinds of .torrents does one have to offer before your site isn’t illegal anymore?  Where’s the line?  Who draws it?

All questions, among many others, that the MPAA can’t and won’t answer.

Most disturbing of all – it’s happening in Canada now too.  We’re not part of the "DMCA evil empire" and all the other wierdness that goes along with it, like the US.  Today on CBC’s Newsworld channel, a professor at the University of Ottawa, Michael Geist, was seen commenting on how inattentive the Conservative government in Canada is being to the needs of individual Canadians in framing its new Internet anti-piracy law.  According to Getist, the government seems more interested in pandering to what he called "foreign lobbyists" than creating a law in Canada that would offer ‘fair use’ and other Internet-age protections guarding freedom of information.  (See also, this January 11th article on CBC.ca, this topic.  Geist also went on to cite the very negative effects the DCMA has had in the US and fears that being exported to Canada.)

And maybe that’s what Server4You.net’s lawyers were freaking out about today – seeing the writing on the wall, so to speak.  Plus, as an American-owned company, they might not be as sensitive about the rules in Canada, opting instead to yield to the MPAA’s fearmongering.

I suppose since the government has turned a deaf ear to Canadians on this issue, the best we can hope for now is an election to let the proposed legislation die on the order paper.  We might not need an election for any other reason right now, but when asked – for this reason alone – I’ll be for it.

isoHunt promises a return to service – hopefully that happens too.  Will update here in the days ahead as developments warrant.

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Terry Glavin

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