TorrentSpy must pay $110 million to MPAA

A clear message to all torrent websites hosted on the US soil was sent all over the world today: A federal judge is hitting the shuttered TorrentSpy service with a $111 million penalty for facilitating the infringement of thousands of copyrighted works. U.S. District Judge Florence -Marie Cooper in Los Angeles, ruling in a case brought by the Motion Picture Association of America, said site operator Justin Bunnell and associates must pay the maximum $30,000 for "each of the 3,699 infringements shown." The case, producing what is among the largest fines in copyright history, was bolstered after the MPAA allegedly paid a hacker $15,000 for internal TorrentSpy e-mails and correspondence.

"This substantial money judgment sends a strong message about the illegality of these sites," MPAA Chairman Dan Glickman said in a statement. TorrentSpy, a U.S.-based torrent tacking service, shuttered in March after it lost its case against the MPAA. TorrentSpy did not lose on the merits, but defaulted after it failed to produce internal records. No U.S. case has squarely addressed the legalities of BitTorrent tracking services, although one case is nearing a resolution. Judge Cooper ordered TorrentSpy permanently shuttered. TorrentSpy attorney Ira Rothken was not immediately available for comment. He has appealed the default order to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

News Source: Release Log

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62 Comments

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hah... mediamogul terrorism at its finest, the extortionists won again. :-(

I just love being called a thief, even when I buy my media legitimately. One of the reasons I buy my **** at half price books, or other resellers. If I like something/someone enough, I'll try to buy from *them* directly, and not their overlords.

And to those who defend the moguls and their terror tactics: kiss my ass, you're contributing to the problem, not helping it. The artists aren't seeing diddly-**** from the MPAA or RIAA, or the companies that have screwed them totally. Even tours don't net them much anymore, so it's time that WE THE PEOPLE made a change, and forced the moguls to listen to US, who enable their profits, instead of the other way around.

I'm getting some inspiration here, I think I'll go register the domain torrentspyer if it hasn't been already. J/K in case you didn't get my sarcasm/joking

retarded news

i will be waiting for the MPAA to sue Google then.

we all know you can use google to search by file type right ?

i just did a test for the key word "crack" & filetype: torrent and i got 133,000 hits

so according to these morons they SHOULD be suing google then right ?

QUICK someone call the Web Sheriff !!!11ONE http://www.websheriff.com/websheriff/

This very much reminds me the story of Napster.... Yes, it has been shutdown by RIAA and MPAA, but the result? More and more technology alternatives (read: torrents) came into play which are even more difficult to track and "kill".

To me it seems they can sue and win these "anti-sharing" cases, but in the long run it isn't going to change much. Rather than suing and claiming a victory for $110 mln, which they're not going to get anyway, it would be much wiser for MPAA to embrace the technology and work with sites to everyone's benefit. An example of that would be to charge $10 or so per movie, and I'm sure, as in the case with iTunes, people will pay for the convinience.

It's funny because torrentspy was only good about 2 years ago, there's always such a delay that (most) clever people are already onto the next website.

Pfft. It sucks how this all happened, and it reeks of corruption, but to all you morons who are like 'yay one more nail in the coffin, piracy is almost over, we are going to be safe soon!'...Keep dreaming. You can't stop it...There are plenty of other sites out there...And someone will just come along and replace when one gets taken down. And how the **** are torrents responsible for terrorism? I guess the government will try anything to get the general, un-suspecting public on there side...Stay smart people =]

blah blah mpaa. clear message my ass. torrentspy was unlucky one got caught, between there ton other torrent site.
try the **** with thepiratebay they actually laugh at mpaa face

The best part of any MPAA/RIAA sueparty is when they use the word "Damages".
If it wasn't pirated, it wouldn't have been bought either. They lost nothing, but gained a potential future customer.

(hotdog963al said @ #19)
The best part of any MPAA/RIAA sueparty is when they use the word "Damages".
If it wasn't pirated, it wouldn't have been bought either. They lost nothing, but gained a potential future customer.

yup nothing ever changes

Shouldn't MPAA be fined for illegal access into TorrentSpy's mailbox and other sensitive data? Thats invasion of privacy and straight grounds of hacking. Wonder how they let that pass by. I wonder how the torrentspy people will pay off the huge amount. Although its amazing that torrentspy fought for so long, most would give up and save their asses from getting sued. Kudos torrentspy staff!

(sibot said @ #1)
Shouldn't MPAA be fined for illegal access into TorrentSpy's mailbox and other sensitive data? Thats invasion of privacy and straight grounds of hacking. Wonder how they let that pass by. I wonder how the torrentspy people will pay off the huge amount. Although its amazing that torrentspy fought for so long, most would give up and save their asses from getting sued. Kudos torrentspy staff!
I think they should sue mpaa for 110 million and all the legal fees they had to pay thus far, for what mpaa did to them since they obtained the evidence illegally to begin with.

mpaa need to die as they are just in it for easy money and not for the artists themselves and i got 2 words for you MPAA: Suck It.

heh this wont go very far, i can just see it blowing up in their face
THEY CANT WIN GIVE IT ****ING UP ALREADY

Why doesn't the MPAA just give up? The torrent sites will just move to other countries where they cannot be prosecuted by American authorities and for every software pirating program/site that gets shut down, several more will step in and take its place.

(MulletRobZ said @ #13)
The torrent sites will just move to other countries where they cannot be prosecuted by American authorities

America will declare war as they did when they wanted to steal Iraq's oil. But killing brown people isn't a crime like stealing a movie, of trashy pop song.

(MulletRobZ said @ #13)
Why doesn't the MPAA just give up? The torrent sites will just move to other countries where they cannot be prosecuted by American authorities and for every software pirating program/site that gets shut down, several more will step in and take its place.

They wont give up because the companies that they are attempting to protect have billions in product. I agree that going after torrent sites and other tactics by the MPAA and RIAA are only going to get, at best, the tip of the iceberg. I don't believe that any of the processes that these orginizations take are going to resolve the problem they are having... however the issue here is that the MPAA doesn't realize this, or it seems they don't realize this issue. After a decade the RIAA still thinks they can stop illegal trading by sueing users.

Let's look at this another way: the US goverment has been trying to stop the use of marijuana for over half a century. Billions of dollars have been spent and yet the issue still exists. The problem in either case is the person/company/goverment cannot get themselves out of the habit of doing the same thing over and over and over, reguardless of the previous results.

The answer? I don't know. I do know the current process will have limited results that the MPAA would like.

A good analogy would be that they are trying to put the toothpaste back into the tube.

Fact of the matter is that both, the movie industry and the record industry, have completely missed the boat of the digital age. They still want to cling to their old way of doing thing because they are so far behind, they will never catch-up. Their business is going down the drain and they can't stop it. So they are going down kicking and screaming.

10 years ago they should have taken the lesson from Napster and be the first one out there.

So should we sue Google too for facilitating the process of illegal downloads by being able to search for these torrent sites? I don't think that would fly...

“This substantial money judgment sends a strong message about the illegality of these sites,”

It's about freaking time. So sorry to disappoint all the criminals out there but stealing is stealing. Finally, we're sending the right message.

(C_Guy said @ #11)
“This substantial money judgment sends a strong message about the illegality of these sites,”

It's about freaking time. So sorry to disappoint all the criminals out there but stealing is stealing. Finally, we're sending the right message.

Sorry, but the site is neither legal or illegal. The usage by the end-users is what determines the legality. If we are to get into the idea that a site or company should be held responsable for the actions of their customers, well then I would agree that this company should be held responsable. But under that process we would also have to hold Google/Yahoo liable for linking to torrents. Or to put it another way we would have to hold alcohol companies liable for the car crashes caused, in part, by their products.

I *FEEL* that the correct issue here is personal responsability. If *I* did something wrong, then it's my fault. Not TorrentSpy, Google, or Smirnof.

Just food for thought.

Peace,
James Rose
New York City

Abso-freakin-lutely. Another one bites the dust. I can't help but wear a smug grin of satisfaction when yet another door to piracy slams shut.

I don't believe "stealing" is a good synonym for pirating something.
When people think of stealing, when I think of stealing, they think of taking someone's physical property without their consent. It's very simple, very just, very illegal and it ought to be so.

Piracy isn't so clear on everything, however. Those laws are very virtual since no physical property is actually "taken away". MPAA, RIAA,... may say that for every download thousands and thousands of dollars are lost, but if I can't gay, take for example, Adobe Premiere Pro that way I won't get it at all, considering the cost. They wouldn't have lost a client on me, on the contrary, as years go on and I grow older I might save enough money to buy the damn thing and devote more time to certain video-editing hobbies. (We're talking hypothetically, of course!)

I live in Europe and, say, I want to watch the latest Lost, Grey's, Ugly Betty, Battlestar Galactica, ... Should I be such a fanatic, I would download them the second they're released. (These "virtual boundaries" of not being able to download episodes here, while they're out in the US, is very "Web 1.0" - not the way it should be, but anyway) ABC, NBC, SCiFi, ... wouldn't have lost a viewer, because I don't live in the US and I'd probably buy the DVDs anyway.

Going on to music then, which is the grayest area of them all. Should I like a song on the radio, I'd might like to play it whenever the hell I want, so I'd download it. Should I feel like supporting the artist, I'd buy the album - preferably from their own personal website, that way I'll know my money is going to them, and nowhere else.
If anyone has any problems with this, I'll do what I used to do before I first had an internet connection, or like my parents did before me many years ago, and tape the damn song on a cassette. It's impossible to keep up with the evolution of music, so many songs getting released every week, it's crazy!

Anyway, what I'm trying to say, I can understand pirating software is illegal, but when you hit the artistic scene (music, tv, ...) everything becomes very muddy. Should you have to pay for everything you actually want to see or hear, you'd be out of money in no time, so a better solution must be found!

So the utopian solution would be to tax everyone 20 dollars a year and to divide it over the different artists, departments, producers, actors, ...
Something like music, stories, tv, ... are part of our culture, who we are ourselves, and it's unfair to put a limit to how much music you can listen or how much movies you can see, which is being done now.

That's just what I firmly believe in.

(C_Guy said @ #11)
It's about freaking time. So sorry to disappoint all the criminals out there but stealing is stealing. Finally, we're sending the right message.

Just stick your favourite software and the word "crack" into Google and see how many hundreds of thousands of hits come up. But of course you would always pay royalties. George Bush managed to become president because of patriots who think like you. America, the land of the free (unless you happen to live in Iraq)

(boho said @ #11.4)

Just stick your favourite software and the word "crack" into Google and see how many hundreds of thousands of hits come up. But of course you would always pay royalties. George Bush managed to become president because of patriots who think like you. America, the land of the free (unless you happen to live in Iraq) :wacko:

You didn't agree with what he said.. so you just blamed Bush. Wow. Really. WOW.

that judge has just set a presedent
IF the MPAA can illegally obtain evidence, so can everyone else.
"the MPAA allegedly paid a hacker $15,000 for internal TorrentSpy e-mails and correspondence."

exactly! ... cause it's like someone said above... 'i wonder how much of that is going in the Judges pocket' from the MPAA. lol

cause it would almost seem for sure he (the judge) was paid off... especially when it's $110million lol

(ThaCrip said @ #7.1)
exactly! ... cause it's like someone said above... 'i wonder how much of that is going in the Judges pocket' from the MPAA. lol

cause it would almost seem for sure he (the judge) was paid off... especially when it's $110million lol

Just because you get a judgment agansted someone doesn't mean anyone will ever see a dime.... you can't get water from a stone.

Yea this part about the case disturbed me...what happened to needing a warrant or at least to be suspected of being a terrorist?

(SkyyPunk said @ #6.2)
Yea this part about the case disturbed me...what happened to needing a warrant or at least to be suspected of being a terrorist?

Only the goverment needs a warrent to search, if a private citizen or company breaks into your house/apt/etc that's b&e, which is a crime. But in that situation you have to find a district attorney to procecute the offence, or a civil case against the person.

I THOUGHT you could not use evidence gained illegally for a case.... interesting. (and sad)

There are many differences two of which...

The intentions of many file sharing sites is primarily for illegal use, nothing else. Google does not have intents.

A torrent site is a primary source to the download file.... google is a secondary source linking to the primary sources... thereofore their involvement is less.

Arizona District Court Judge Neil V. Wake dealt a heady blow to the RIAA last Monday, striking down its popular “making available” theory as insufficient grounds for accusations of copyright infringement.

http://www.dailytech.com/RIAA+Sucker+Punch...rticle11650.htm

Counterclaims denied as well:

http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=11717

They will probably appeal based on the findings of this case that all a tracker does is make the items available.

(cragdoo said @ #2.1)
don't trust Rlslog ???

here's the story's source

http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/05/t...ntspy-ding.html

and sorry to correct you , but Rlslog isn't full of warez and pirated movies , it's a similar site to torrentspy , doesn't actually hold the files anywhere , just 'points you in the right direction' kinda like google ....

mmm, No. Google doesn't index your Warez for you, you go search for them.

It's not that I trust rlslog or don't, I only find it strange that it's a allowed to be linked to, while any discussion remotely connected with pirated material is forbidden.

The real question would be more: How much of that money will go the artists/actors/producers that the MPAA is suppose to represent.

Altough there are no chance they get any of it. TorrentSpy filed for bancruptcy and they have no asset.

(Captain555 said @ #1.1)
The real question would be more: How much of that money will go the artists/actors/producers that the MPAA is suppose to represent.

I am sure that Dick Cheney will get 10%.