TorrentSpy Loses To The MPAA... But For The Wrong Reasons

from the bad-news dept

TorrentSpy has lost the first round of its case against the MPAA, but the details suggest that it's for all the wrong reasons. TorrentSpy, of course, is like many other torrent trackers: it's a search engine. While the MPAA went after TorrentSpy claiming that it was violating copyright laws like Grokster/Morpheus, TorrentSpy pointed out (correctly) that the Supreme Court only said that service providers who actively encourage copyright infringement can be held liable. Instead, TorrentSpy noted, it was a search engine, just like Google -- which is quite accurate. However, the court seemed to have difficulty understanding this -- and when the court ordered TorrentSpy to spy on its users (against TorrentSpy's own terms of service), the company instead chose to cut off US users. This seemed quite admirable and reasonable. It was, in fact, a lot more admirable than the MPAA, who hired someone to hack into TorrentSpy's servers and pass on internal emails. However, it appears that TorrentSpy's decision to not spy on its users and to block access to US users is part of what caused it to lose the case. The ruling isn't on the merits of the actual copyright claim, but on the claim that TorrentSpy destroyed evidence -- such as the IP addresses of its users. There does appear to be some additional egregious destruction of evidence from TorrentSpy beyond just the IP addresses of users -- which was incredibly stupid for the company. That certainly hurt the company's position. However, that does not address the merits of the original lawsuit. The MPAA, of course, is claiming this is a huge win, but that's just its usual press release quote and has little to connect it to reality: which is that the MPAA won this case on a technicality rather than the merits. TorrentSpy plans to appeal, so this is hardly over -- but the destruction of evidence will hurt the rest of TorrentSpy's position, no matter how reasonable it may have been.
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Filed Under: copyright, file sharing, legality, mpaa
Companies: mpaa, torrentspy


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  1. identicon
    Iron Chef, 18 Dec 2007 @ 8:42pm

    Re:

    If I recall correctly the original MPAA request was to turn over all IP addresses however since TS didn't log IP addresses (at the time) but instead simply held logs in volatile RAM there was no way to do so. Could that have been the "destruction of evidence" they're claiming?

    I suppose it could also have been for the dropping of packets from US IP addresses. Does dropping packets == destruction of evidence?


    You bring up some good points, but the main problem isn't technical, but it's business in perspective.

    The Business needs to ask for a way to license IP instead of fighting it. I guarantee you that the opearaional costs are 100x higher when you feed it to the lawyers, especially when you factor in loss of value in branding. Has anyone seen Sony recently?

    I'm appauled at the nickle-and-diming. Consider efforts from Maddox It sickens me that everything has gone so profit driven. Loosen up a little. You'll get more by investing in a community than you will ever get from suing.

    When the lawyers get involved everyone is a victim.

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