TorrentSpy to Appeal in MPAA Court Case

TorrentSpy, once the most frequently visited BitTorrent site, has appealed the ruling in their case against the MPAA. Last year, they were ordered to pay a $110 million fine after the court terminated the case, but TorrentSpy's lawyer Ira Rothken believes that the issues at stake warrant an appeal.

torrentspyFor years, TorrentSpy has been a well known player in the BitTorrent community. In 2006 the site attracted more visitors than any other BitTorrent site, but this quickly changed in 2007 after a federal judge ruled that the site had to log all user data.

The judge ruled that TorrentSpy had to monitor its users in order to create detailed logs of their activities. Even worse, the BitTorrent site was ordered to hand these logs over to the MPAA. TorrentSpy owner Justin Bunnel didn’t want to give up the privacy of the site’s users, and decided that it was best to block access to all users from the US instead. In March 2008 he went further still, taking the decision to shut down completely.

“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,” Bunnel wrote in a message to users of the site. A month after this decision the case against the MPAA was terminated and his company was ordered to pay a $110 million fine, which it has now appealed.

TorrentSpy’s lawyer, Ira Rothken, told CNET News, “We’re arguing the court was wrong in procedures and wrong in judgment. In a one-hour hearing regarding discovery issues, the court terminated the case and didn’t give TorrentSpy a trial. We believe the court was wrong and abused its discretion. We believe the court ordered TorrentSpy to do things that was in violation of the site’s privacy policy and we believe that the tension between the court’s discovery orders and user-privacy rights is an important issue on appeal.”

The MPAA wont be too happy that TorrentSpy hasn’t given up the fight yet. At the time, MPAA’s Dan Glickman was very pleased with the outcome of the case, as he said: “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.”

With the appeal, filed at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, TorrentSpy aim to overturn this earlier judgment, and restore hope for other BitTorrent site owners in the US.

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