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Ten Years of Sharing Culture with IsoHunt

photo of Michel Bauwens

Michel Bauwens
29th January 2013


Tenth Anniversary reflections by the founder:

“10 years of isoHunt. Jan. 22 to the day, when the domain was registered. When I started isoHunt during engineering school, I truly did not think I’d be working on it for 10 years, but here I am. Napster, Kazaa, Suprnova, LokiTorrent. Big names have come and gone, and the Internet has changed. One would think we the people of the Internet are losing to the copyright cartels, but I think different. I saw solidarity against tyranny in protests against SOPA, which did not pass (happy coincident that Internet Free Day, Jan. 18 when SOPA failed, is so close to our anniversary). I see musicians and filmmakers slowly but surely warming up to new possibilities of Internet distribution and promotion, abandoning notions of “1 download = 1 lost sale” in the physical age. Ideals of the Free Software movement and Creative Commons will face new challenges with 3D printed copies of physical objects, replicated from copyrightable digital designs. We are moving into the world of science fiction. Will copyright or even money be relics like in Star Trek, where all material scarcity and wants are gone, replicators can make anything needed, and holodecks can create any world imaginable? Too utopian perhaps, but if someone from 100 years ago is to look at technologies we have now, a lot of it maybe construed as magic too.

Without being strictly sentimental with the past or the future, there’s a point I’m trying to make. I did not think I’d be working on isoHunt for 10 years, but I have. I’m imagining what the next 10 years should bring. Why am I still working on isoHunt? To quote Breaking Bad, am I “in the empire business”, subverting the establishment? No, we are in the culture business. Culture, distilled into digital files, shared by people, on the Internet. In the culture business, there are creators, and there are consumers. In this age of “broadcasting yourself”, we are often both creators as well as consumers. And in my ideal world, consumers will share what they want, freely, and creators will be promoted accordingly and compensated fairly. Minimal friction, and minimal middlemen in the way who doesn’t help in connecting consumers directly with creators.

I’ve fought Hollywood’s lawsuit for almost 7 years now, it’s so ancient it’s almost not even worth mentioning. Same goes with CRIA’s lawsuit. I’m tired of this squabble and they trying to make me and isoHunt another scapegoat in their crusade of no historic meaning. The only way to move forward is together, with the creators. For the next 10 years, I’m imagining a reboot of isoHunt. From a mostly passive search engine, to a new system where you the consumer can be active participants in bringing creators on board, and you can frictionlessly contribute to the creators. I’m calling this isoHunt Spotlight for now, until we think of a better name. And this will be a new endeavour, a complement to isoHunt the search engine which will continue its mission of indexing any and all torrent links. What is Spotlight exactly? Think Kickstarter, Netflix, Spotify, Gamefly, Kindle Owners’ Lending Library rolled into one, with global licensing from day one that only makes sense for the Internet. We are still in the planning stages of this thing, so we can use your thought and help in making this happen. If we can make such a system of frictionless funding, creating, consuming and sharing happen like I’m imagining, it’s going to be beautiful. To get there, we’ll need to bring a lot more creators on board, together.

Oh, and we just passed half a million fans on our Facebook page. Along with the millions of users who have frequented isoHunt the last 10 years, thanks for your support! Cheers to the next 10.”

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