Everyone knows Halloween is a fitting time for visitations from the undead, but this is one resurrection no one was expecting. BitTorrent indexing site isoHunt has been brought back from the grave only two weeks after being forced to shut down by the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA).
The site was the third most popular BitTorrent search engine in the world until it lost its long-running court battle earlier this month. The suit was first filed in 2006, but isoHunt managed to drag proceedings through a lengthy appeals process that lasted until a three-judge panel ordered them to shut their doors before 23 October.
Operator Gary Fung was also banned from further infringement of MPAA content, and was told to pay $110 million (£68 million) in damages, despite having nothing like that amount of money at his disposal.
At the time, former Senator Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the MPAA, called the ruling a "major step forward," adding that it sent "a strong message".
Now, only two weeks after that ruling, isoHunt has returned to haunt the MPAA. The site has apparently been revived by a group with no connection to the original isoHunt and Fung.
In a post dated 30 October, called ""isoHunt is back!" the administrators of the new site wrote:
"Hey everyone! IsoHunt is back online! It's the same old isoHunt from the outside but very different from the inside. We have nothing in common with the isoHunt Inc. that made the original website. We proudly copied it and are happy to share. Isn't that what we're all here for? "
The new site is based at isohunt.to, which uses the country code of the Polynesian island Kingdom of Tonga. This is likely because Tonga is one of the few countries that don't maintain a public WHOIS database providing domain name registrant information.
All of Fung's previous news posts have been preserved, along with approximately 70 per cent of the site's old database.
In the days immediately following the court ruling, a group called ArchiveTeam attempted to archive the vast library of torrent files in isoHunt's database. However, Fung pulled the plug on the site several days early in order to prevent such efforts.
Now it seems that a similar project was secretly underway at the same time, and the new isoHunt is apparently the result.
When isoHunt shut down, Fung told TorrentFreak that he had at no time "compromised privacy of any user on isoHunt, in terms of your IP addresses or emails."
It remains to be seen whether the operators of the new site will fall victim to the same kind of legal action that brought down Fung, but it's much more likely that their identities will remain a closely guarded secret.
At the time of writing, there are 17937 users currently online at the new domain.
Image: Flickr (Photos by Mavis)