TorrentSpy ordered to pay $111m


MyBB Legend
Jun 12, 2007
TorrentSpy, the file-sharing website, has been ordered to pay $111m (about £56m) in damages to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for breaches of copyright law.

The ruling from a US court comes only weeks after the site was shut down.

TorrentSpy facilitated the sharing of copyright material by hosting links to thousands of music, TV and film files, often without rightsholder's permission. However, no copyrighted material was actually hosted on TorrentSpy's servers.

The presiding judge ordered site operator Justin Bunnell and his associates to pay the maximum $30,000 for "each of the 3,699 infringements shown."

"This substantial money judgment sends a strong message about the illegality of these sites," said Dan Glickman, chairman of the MPAA.

TorrentSpy was a US-based torrent tracking server that shut up shop on 24 March.

On its website it says that: "The legal climate in the USA for copyright, privacy of search requests and links to torrent files in search results is simply too hostile".

It goes on to say that "It was a wild ride", not to mention a costly one. The fine is one of the largest ever handed out in US copyright history.

The MPAA allegedly paid a hacker $15,000 to procure internal TorrentSpy emails and correspondence.

Reaction to the fine has been varied. On the Shroomery message board, one poster wrote: "Torrent files themselves contain no copyrighted material. On top of that, TorrentSpy actually contained no torrent files, but was just a search engine through and index of torrent files. More or less, it is a Google for torrent files".

A poster in favour of the fine said: "I say 'chalk one up for the good guys' and give out a pre-emptive middle finger to all the losers that think they have the right to steal whatever they are able to".

US District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper ordered the site permanently closed. TorrentSpy has appealed the verdict.

TorrentSpy ordered to pay $111m


King of de Jungle
Mar 17, 2005

Site's attorney says the defunct BitTorrent tracker site filed for bankruptcy in England last week and can't afford to pay the amount ordered by the judge.

Yesterday I reported how the MPAA had won a $110 million USD judgment against the long defunct BitTorrent tracker site TorrentSpy for copyright infringement.

The award amounts to $30,000 per instance of copyright infringement, which was for some 3,699 movies and TV shows.

Now today in an interview with the site's attorney, Ira Rothken, it's being reported that they plan to appeal the amount of the judgment.

"What is really going on here is a Hollywood public-relations stunt," Rothken said. "The reason for the size of the judgment was so a bunch of news organizations would write that 'a $100 million judgment was issued against a bunch of pirates' when, in fact, it was declared against a company with no appreciable assets that has already declared bankruptcy."

He also called it an "abuse of discretion" because not only did the site declare bankruptcy in England last week and thus has no "appreciable assets," but it really never got its day in court to prove or disprove the charges of copyright infringement.

What also proves the hollowness of the case is that it really sets no precedent for other BitTorrent-related lawsuits that they MPAA may choose to initiate in the future.

"The decision means absolutely nothing as it relates to other (BitTorrent cases)," Rothken said. "It issue was not decided on the merits. It's obvious we are going to appeal."

It was only because the court determined that it hadn't been properly creating and saving server logs that their guilt was declared and the judgment awarded to the MPAA.

So much for all that "significant victory" talk by the MPAA.