Canadian owner of popular downloading site seeks court ruling on its legality

13 11 2008

The Canadian Press

Nov. 5

The Canadian owner of one of the Internet’s most popular sites for downloading everything from music to porn is pre-emptively asking the Supreme Court of British Columbia to rule on whether he is violating the Copyright Act.

Gary Fung, 25, of Richmond, B.C., runs the search engine for BitTorrent files, which are commonly used to download and upload virtually every type of copyrighted material, including music, movies, computer software and e-books.

The site currently links to more than 1.5 million files online, such as the latest chart-topping CDs, video games, DVDs and even movies currently in theatres. regularly cracks the Top 200 list of the web’s most popular sites, according to analysts at

“It serves a need that had not been served before, especially with the emergence of BitTorrent becoming a dominant (downloading) protocol,” Fung said of the site’s popularity.

Fung has been named in a lawsuit launched in 2006 by the Motion Picture Association of America.

After receiving letters last May from the Canadian Recording Industry Association demanding he take down links to copyrighted material, Fung decided he would ask the courts to rule on whether his site breaks Canadian law.

“We filed the court documents because we were threatened by CRIA. Essentially they’re saying that all we do is infringe on their clients’ copyrights,” he said.

The letters Fung received argued his site is “responsible for causing, authorizing and contributing to a staggering amount of illegal music downloading, uploading and file sharing.”

The letters also state Fung could be responsible for copyright infringement damages of up to $20,000 per song.

But Fung insists his search-engine website doesn’t break any laws since it simply links to copyrighted material online but doesn’t host any of it. He notes that Google can also be easily used to find BitTorrent files.




Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment