Canada looks at the legality of torrent sites

April 2009


As the Swedish courts consider the Pirate Bay case a judge in British Columbia has refused to rule in favour of a major BitTorrent tracker without a full trial to consider the legalities of what the service does after the owner of one of the most popular Torrent indexing services, isoHunt, which provides links to over 1.5 million BitTorrent sources of content, much of it unlicensed, went to court himself to ask for a ruling that his operation did not contravene the country’s copyright laws.

Such a ruling would, of course, stop the record companies from taking action against him, and would presumably help him raise investment and sell advertising. The defence raised in Sweden was that a BitTorrent site hosts no illegal content itself, only potentially linking to illegal (and legal) content. The British Columbia Supreme Court Judge Victor Curtis has not ruled that Fung is acting illegally, but refused to provide the declaration the Torrent man requested, saying a full trial would be required to assess the legal status of isoHunt. Judge Curtis also raised some concerns regarding the service, comparing isoHunt to a gun seller saying that Fung, like a gun dealer, isn’t liable whenever a customer uses his services (or guns) for illegal purposes, but can be held responsible to a certain extent if he knows a customer’s intentions are illegal when providing the service (or gun). Basically he was saying Fung may be guilty of so called ‘authorising infringement’ and a full hearing would be needed to consider that fact.  &

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