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MPAA Would Rather TorrentSpy Spy On Users Than Stop Offering Service?

from the motivations,-huh? dept

TorrentSpy and the MPAA have been involved in a legal fight for quite some time. TorrentSpy is basically a search engine for files that are offered for download via BitTorrent. However, because the MPAA views such BitTorrent as a tool for unauthorized use, it's trying to sue the search engine, rather than go after those who are actually responsible for sharing unauthorized content. There was a slightly troublesome ruling earlier this year, where a judge ordered TorrentSpy to spy on its users -- violating TorrentSpy's own privacy policy. Rather than do so, TorrentSpy decided to block access to US users. Now, you would think this would make the MPAA happy. After all, the site they were so worried about was no longer an issue for the entire US market. Instead, the MPAA is back in court claiming that this action is merely another illegal move by the company. Apparently, the MPAA would rather have TorrentSpy keep operating, but spy on its users, than block access. That doesn't make much sense if TorrentSpy is really such a huge problem. Unless, of course, the MPAA doesn't have any real evidence that TorrentSpy is doing anything wrong -- and this is about the only way it hopes to prove its case.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Trerro, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 4:11pm

    It makes perfect sense if you think about how the MAFIAA operates. If they simply shut it down, there's no one to milk through bogus lawsuits. If they keep it up and spy on it, on the other hand, they can let their lawsuits make up for their lack of a real business model.

    At least this time, they don't have a leg to stand on.
    "They're not doing what we forced them to do with their US users!"
    "What users?"
    "Oh, uhhh, well... damn."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Clayton, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 5:58pm

    The MPAA has absolutely no reason to continue this legal battle because Torrentspy is not based in the US and it can't be accessed from the US.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 7:45pm

    The fact that TorretSpy isn't based in the U.S. is irrelevant to the case. There have been other cases where non-US companies have been sued in US courts and lost. More and more countries are claiming jurisdiction over web based businesses, even if they don't operate or "service" that country directly.

    The fact that TorretSpy has cut off access to the US user's may also be irrelevant depending on how the judgment was worded/defined. If TorretSpy is to spy on it's "users" then it's still violating the court order even if none of those users are US based. If the order specifically claimed US user's then there may be a case that they aren't violating that order.

    Regardless of how you view the US courts jurisdiction over non-US companies the problem is still that these same courts assume that they DO have jurisdiction. It may currently be a problem enforcing these judgements against non-US companies but expect that before too long the international trade groups start being pulled into this. It's already happening in the patent area where a company holding a patent (valid or otherwise) sues non-US companies for patent violation and before it can even be brought up into a US court of law the patent holder asks the international trade group to block ALL imports into the US of the "offending" merchandise. This has been granted before even though patent infringement has yet to be proven.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Shalkar, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 8:37pm

    My Opinion is:

    If people would just have some back bone, then all would be good. What TorrentSpy did is have back bone. Now if the groups like the international traders would have some and just say "prove it", then it'd be a better world to live in. What happened to make people so pathetic and cowardly?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Michael, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 10:46pm

    So, has anyone thought that:

    "Users wont want to use a service that is taking their personal data and information and giving it to the MPAA."

    This would result in no one going to TS and then they would loose their advertisers, and then eventually have to close.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    mike allen, Oct 13th, 2007 @ 1:08am

    I really do not understand what thhe MPAA are worried about I have just heard of a film made for 80 thousand euros the crew worked for free the distribution was to give it away free. lets rewind GIVE IT AWAY FREE on DVD. Now that film has taken millions of dollers at the American box office. my source for this is the BBC. The MPAA RIAA and others have it as always wrong.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 13th, 2007 @ 1:32am


    No. The scam artists of the movie industry just want to use the privacy info to build cases on to keep milking citizens.

    Why slaughter the cow and eat steaks for a few weeks, when you can keep it alive and drink milk for a decade?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Mike, Oct 13th, 2007 @ 3:33pm

    Who cares?

    TorrentSpy sucked anyway... Pirate bay is still up!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Lucretious, Oct 13th, 2007 @ 4:56pm

    Actually it may be a good thing that the MPAA is pulling this as any competent judge will then be able to see that this use of the court system is simply an assembly line of extortion settlements that is being footed by the American taxpayers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Paul, Oct 13th, 2007 @ 9:00pm


    The fact that TorrentSpy isn't in the U.S. is completely relevant. What is the US government going to do? Block them? Oh... wait.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Paul, Oct 13th, 2007 @ 9:03pm

    Re: Re:

    you missed the point. He's saying no one will use TorrentSpy if they change their privacy policies. Either TorrentSpy doesn't hand over any data and the MPAA gets no list of people to sue OR they do and no one uses TorrentSpy and the MPAA still gets no list of people to sue PLUS TorrentSpy goes out of business. Maybe thats really what MPAA wants then. Just put TorrentSpy out of business.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Oct 13th, 2007 @ 11:33pm

    Could just be...

    ...they're being taken back to court for being a smartarse.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    beefer, Oct 14th, 2007 @ 8:31pm

    so you are saying...

    that torrentspy is no longer available in the us. last i checked i was in the us and the isp is also in the us but i just got on to and did a search. can someone explain? are we not talking the same torrentspy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    BTR1701, Oct 15th, 2007 @ 7:31am

    Re: Jurisdiction

    > Regardless of how you view the US courts
    > jurisdiction over non-US companies the problem
    > is still that these same courts assume that
    > they DO have jurisdiction.

    They can assume it all they like but unless they actually *have* jurisdiction, companies like TorrentSpy are free to ignore their rulings. One of the key components of valid jurisdiction is the ability of the court to enforce its rulings.

    If TorrentSpy has cut off all U.S. access to its site and is no longer doing business in the U.S., what do the studios hope to accomplish here? Even if the judge rules in their favor, the judge has no ability to enforce her jurisdiction over this foreign company anymore. It’s not like this judge has the power to order a foreign government to freeze foreign bank accounts or other assets. The MPAA would have totill bring a separate suit in whatever country TorrentSpy now operates and the litigate the thing all over again, anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    SailorRipley, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 7:37am

    Re: so you are saying...

    no, it's the right torrentspy, just try doing a search, you'll see :-)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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