Illegal BitTorrent site isoHunt rises from the grave after death blow

isohunt archive team pirate flag

File-sharing behemoth isoHunt has relaunched under a new domain less than two weeks after the site’s owner shut it down as part of a $110 million settlement with the Motion Picture Association of America, reports Torrentfreak. The group behind the isoHunt relaunch says they are simply trying to preserve a Web “icon.”

The site will now live on at the isoHunt.to domain.

isoHunt was relaunched by a group called ArchiveTeam, which describes itself as a “loose collective of rogue archivists, programmers, writers, and loudmouths dedicated to saving our digital heritage.” Previous ArchiveTeam efforts include the permanent storage of some 20 million Friendster profiles from the defunct social network. A member of ArchiveTeam told Torrentfreak that isoHunt was simply too important to Internet history to let it disappear.

“IsoHunt can definitely be called a file-sharing icon,” said an unnamed ArchiveTeam member. “People got used to it and they don’t want to simply let it go. We want those people to feel like being at home while visiting isohunt.to. The main goal is to restore the website with torrents and provide users with the same familiar interface.”

The death of isoHunt.com came as a result of a settlement between the site’s owner, Gary Fung, and the MPAA. The two entities have been embroiled in a legal battle over isoHunt’s enablement of online copyright infringement for the past seven years. The group originally sought $600 million in damages, though the $110 million figure that was eventually agreed upon is seen by many as a warning to other file-sharing entities.

As part of the settlement, Fung was forced to shut down isoHunt by October 23. When he got wind of ArchiveTeam’s plans to save the site, however, he pulled the plug early, possibly due to concerns about complying with the terms of the settlement.

While ArchiveTeam says that it has restored roughly 75 percent of the torrent files available on the original isoHunt so far, the collective plans to continue development of the site if users continue to show interest. It remains to be seen whether the MPAA or other pro-copyright entities will shove the revamped isoHunt back into the grave.

[Image via Lizard/Shutterstock]

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