Feeds

MPAA copyright punch up knocks out TorrentSpy

Former BitTorrent champ throws in the towel

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

The operators of TorrentSpy, once the most popular BitTorrent tracker, have been forced to permanently shutter the site after losing a battle with rights holders.

A Los Angeles court ruled in favour of the Motion Picture Ass. of America in December after TorrentSpy destroyed evidence, claiming it was protecting users' privacy. The judge said it had made a fair trial impossible and imposed a $30,000 fine.

This statement has been posted the TorrentSpy site by its founder Justin Bunnell:

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 legal climate in the USA for copyright, privacy of search requests, and links to torrent files in search results is simply too hostile. We spent the last two years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, defending the rights of our users and ourselves.

Ultimately the court demanded actions that in our view were inconsistent with our privacy policy, traditional court rules, and international law; therefore, we now feel compelled to provide the ultimate method of privacy protection for our users - permanent shutdown.

It was a wild ride,

The TorrentSpy Team

Rights holders might question how TorrentSpy's operators made those "hundreds of thousands" of dollars in the first place.

The December decision marked the knockout blow in a lengthy pummeling of TorrentSpy by the film industry lobby. The site's operators unsuccessfully attempted to appease US courts by applying a filter against copyright files. When that didn't work it began blocking American IP addresses.

The restrictions resulted in a slide in the popularity of TorrentSpy among filesharers, which was funded by advertising. Its crown as the most popular BitTorrent tracker was taken by the Pirate Bay.

The militant Swedish outfit's administrators are currently in court themselves. Peter Sunde, one of the four on trial, reacted to the permanent closure of Torrentspy today, writing: "I was not the biggest TorrentSpy fan out there. It was a personal thing about filters and such that I could not agree to, but I must applaud Justin Bunnell for the way he has been taking care of his users and their privacy.

"Today all big torrent sites are pressured somehow. [The Pirate Bay] has it's [sic] 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."

Illegal filesharers are now facing a pincer movement from the record, software, and film industries. As well as attacking BitTorrent trackers, a long-running international lobbying campaign to force ISPs to disconnect persistent infringers seems to be gaining ground. Japanese telcos have acquiesced to the scheme and the French government, ISPs, and rights holders have agreed to implement a similar system.

Westminster is, meanwhile, threatening new anti-filesharing laws if UK internet providers don't voluntarily agree sanctions against repeat copyright infringers. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?