Post-Pirate Bay, Post-Mininova, isoHunt Grabs the Glare…

In quick succession, the Pirate Bay and Mininova collapsed, and others – including SceneTorrents – have also exited.

That is shifting the action onto still-standing trackers like isoHunt, both in terms of user traffic and legal glare.

Currently, the Vancouver-based isoHunt is fending off lawsuits from the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), groups that are aiming to obliterate the tracker just like its larger rivals.  But isoHunt founder Gary Fung is taking the counteroffensive to preserve his company – and challenge copyright law in the process.

That includes countersuing, and last week, isoHunt opted to defend itself in a full trial against CRIA in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.  That promises to keep both parties mired in legal action well into 2010, a huge drain of energy and capital.  “It’s a tool, period,” Fung recently told Forbes.  “People search for what they’re interested in searching for.  We display our top searches just as Google does.  But I don’t see that as in any way encouraging searches for copyright infringing material.”

Whether isoHunt survives remains a question-mark, especially with the MPAA also baring its teeth.  On its surface, isoHunt is starting to look like just another company dragged into a legal morass, and distracted away from the critical development required to remain competitive.  Either way, the fertile file-sharing space will continue to produce alternate applications and technologies, and a potentially endless war for major copyright owners.