Sunday, March 30, 2008

TorrentSpy Says Its Goodbyes

TorrentSpy shut down last week following a two-year copyright battle with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)

The site that was once one of the most popular indexes for Torrent files was forced to shut down after a costly battle which saw them being accused of copyright infringement in a 2006 lawsuit.

Friends of TorrentSpy,

We have decided on our own, not due to any court order or agreement, to bring the 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

I must note the shut down of the site was a voluntary decision, the court ruled in favor of the MPAA however the ruling only addresses the fact that TorrentSpy admins were guilty of hiding and the destruction of evidence made that made a fair trial impossible.

"The court finds that plaintiffs have suffered prejudice, to the extent that a rightful decision is not possible," the ruling said. "Defendants' conduct during discovery in this case has been obstreperous," the court concluded. "They have engaged in widespread and systematic efforts to destroy evidence and have provided false testimony under oath in an effort to hide evidence of such destruction."

The ruling means there is no direct U.S. legal precedent in relation to BitTorrent tracking sites. The central legal question of whether such sites violate U.S. copyright law for solely pointing to where users can download copyrighted works from others is still under question.

While the shutting down of TorrentSpy is a victory for the MPAA it is not the clear victory they were looking for. They want a full legal trial that sets legal precedence. If they achieve such a victory then both they and the RIAA could go on a legal rampage and have any and all Torrent sites shut down.

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