Responsibility of Bittorrent Search Engines for Copyright Infringements

20 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2010

Date Written: December 20, 2009


With the music industry pursuing copyright infringement claims against various parties, the issue addressed in this paper is the responsibility of BitTorrent search engines for copyright infringements.

The paper analyzes the reasoning of the recent and widely-known Swedish Verdict B 13301-06 handed down by the Stockholm District Court. In this decision, the court found The Pirate Bay guilty of making copyrighted works available. The paper explores the consequences of this decision. Next, it applies the verdict’s rationale to the Google search engine.

The paper also analyzes isoHunt search engine’s legal situation in Canada. IsoHunt filed a petition in the Supreme Court of British Columbia applying for orders declaring that its services do not infringe copyright. As the isoHunt case is about authorization, the paper also considers this issue. Furthermore, the paper compares isoHunt search engine with Google search engine.

Summary: This dissertation concludes that: (i) based on the The Pirate Bay rationale Google, if sued in Sweden, might be found liable for copyright infringement as it assists in making available copyright materials to the general public; (ii) under Canadian law, and the CCH Canadian Ltd. v. Law Society of Upper Canada and Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada v. Canadian Assn. of Internet Providers rationale, both isoHunt and Google should be found as not authorizing copyright infringement.

Keywords: Internet, Copyright, BitTorrent, The Pirate Bay, IsoHunt, Google, Search Engine, File-sharing, P2P, Piracy, Infringement

JEL Classification: K10, K40, O33, O34

Suggested Citation

Czerniawski, Michal, Responsibility of Bittorrent Search Engines for Copyright Infringements (December 20, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Michal Czerniawski (Contact Author)

University of Warsaw ( email )

Krakowskie Przedmiescie 26/28
Warszawa, 00-927

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