A little over a year ago, TorrentSpy.com was still the most visited BitTorrent site, but times have changed. After an expensive two year battle with the MPAA, TorrentSpy decided to throw in the towel and the site has now shut down permanently.
TorrentSpy is no more, Justin Bunnell, the founder of the site writes: “We have decided on our own, not due to any court order or agreement, to bring the TorrentSpy.com search engine to an end and thus we permanently closed down worldwide on March 24, 2008.”
The main reason for the shutdown is the ongoing legal battle with the MPAA, which started February 2006. “We now feel compelled to provide the ultimate method of privacy protection for our users – permanent shutdown,” Justin writes.
By the end of 2006 TorrentSpy was more popular than any other BitTorrent site, but this changed quickly in August 2007, when a federal judge ordered TorrentSpy to log all user data. The judge ruled that TorrentSpy had to monitor its users in order to create detailed logs of their activities, and hand these over to the MPAA.
In a response to this decision – and to ensure the privacy of their users – TorrentSpy decided that it was best to block access to all users from the US. This led to a huge decrease in traffic and revenue.
This was not enough for the MPAA, who argued that TorrentSpy had ignored the court decision. The legal battle continued, and this eventually led to a preventative closure of the site by Justin, to protect the privacy of its users.
Brokep from The Pirate Bay had this to say about the closure: “Today all big torrent sites are pressured somehow. TPB has its share of pressure, however we expected it and have a legal system that is more just in cases like this. The way that the copyright lobby is going at this is totally wrong and we can’t let them win. And we won’t let them win. Today we reached a loss of a site, but it was more a person having to give up for economical reasons than anything else. The copyright lobby has their big cards – money and influence. In the long run they will have to give up as well. And when they do, I’ll go to the US and buy Justin a well-deserved beer.”
At this point it is not clear what will happen to the TorrentSpy.com domain. Perhaps Justin should offer it to other BitTorrent site owners?