TorrentSpy has been ordered to pay a $110 million fine by a federal judge in Los Angeles. The BitTorrent site was found guilty on the charges of copyright infringement of several movie studios represented by the MPAA.
This default judgment is the result of an ongoing court case between the MPAA and Valence Media, TorrentSpy owner Justin Bunnel’s company, that started early 2006.
It is uncertain at this point whether TorrentSpy will appeal.
Unsurprisingly, MPAA’s Dan Glickman was very pleased with the outcome of the case that lasted over two years, as he said:
“This substantial money judgment sends a strong message about the illegality of sites. The demise of TorrentSpy is a clear victory for the studios and demonstrates that such pirate sites will not be allowed to continue to operate without facing relentless litigation by copyright holders.”
“The claims made by the MPAA in this case don’t stand up to any sort of scrutiny,” says Andrew Norton, head of the US Pirate Party in a response. “It is also clear that our judicial system urgently needs some unbiased education in modern technical matters, as anyone that has watched this case knows the judge is out of her depth. What chance does justice have in that situation?”
In 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 lead to a preventative closure of the site by Justin, to protect the privacy of its users.
UPDATE – Wired have the judgement available in their coverage here
UPDATE – TorrentSpy will appeal the decision.