by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
copyright, evidence, mpaa, torrentspy

mpaa, torrentspy

TorrentSpy Gives Up; Shuts Down

from the there-goes-another-one dept

The saga between TorrentSpy and MPAA will certainly be declared a "win" (if not a "significant blow") by the MPAA, but it's really more of a sad statement on the way the entertainment industry goes about its business. TorrentSpy announced earlier this week that it was shutting down and giving up, not due to any court order, but mainly because it was sick of the whole process and it didn't seem likely that the judge was going to see its side of the story. If you recall, TorrentSpy lost its case, but not on the copyright claim. Instead it was based on TorrentSpy potentially having destroyed some important evidence. It does look like the company (stupidly) did destroy some evidence, though some of the "destroyed evidence" was TorrentSpy's refusal to keep log files on its users, something it felt would be a violation of its own privacy policy. Based on the destruction of evidence problem, it's not too surprising that the company shut down -- but there really was no ruling at all on the more important question of whether or not simply operating a search engine counts as "inducement." This case also highlighted some of the MPAA's more unethical moves, including having someone hack into TorrentSpy's email servers and forward internal emails to the MPAA. So, while the MPAA will surely declare victory, all the case actually showed was (a) how unethical the MPAA can be (b) that it was able to shut down a site with owners who stupidly destroyed evidence and (c) that no ruling was made on the actual claims concerning copyright.

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  • icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), 27 Mar 2008 @ 11:59am

    Thanks Mike.

    Thanks for reminding me once again that I really, REALLY need to rethink my entertainment choices. Movie DVDs, Movie Tickets and even movie channels on Sat/Cable are now becoming impossible to enjoy because merely looking at these things reminds me that the people who want to sell me this stuff are disgusting, insulting, unethical, immoral and repugnant creatures that do not deserve one red cent of my hard earned money.

    Hollywood...go stuff yourself.

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

  • identicon
    BlowURmindBowel, 27 Mar 2008 @ 12:32pm

    Here Here!

    Very well put GE, it has actually driven me to take up reading again as a major past time. Screw TV and movies, movies almost universally suck lately anyway.

    Give me my video-games and a few good books and I'm set for a long (and happy) weekend...

    Tis' a pirate's life for me! (presently on sabbatical)

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

  • identicon
    Just Me, 27 Mar 2008 @ 12:37pm

    New Movies stink anyway....

    And last as long as gas fumes in the wind. Can't say much more for the music industry. Wonder if that fact has anything at all to do with the lagging industry? Nahhhh......

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

  • identicon
    En to the El, 27 Mar 2008 @ 12:38pm

    A Sad Sad Day

    Its sad to see torrentspy give up. They were a great site while they lasted, I know all the TorrentJunkies out there will miss them! I never knew about the MPAA hacking into their email servers... Friggin bastards! Now I'm even happier I dont put a dime in their pockets!

    Id like to see someone do a report of all the MPAAs unethical behavior, then we'd really see the criminals here!

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

  • identicon
    Imrcly, 27 Mar 2008 @ 1:10pm


    This is just continuance in the battle between crooks and criminals. Not surprising though but I doubt this will just leave court until it is seen through because the MPAA is going to believe their case is stronger than ever.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2008 @ 1:19pm

    Ok, I'm taking bets on how long it will take TorrentSpy to reincarnate as something else: ElTorrentoSpyo, AmnisCustos, TorrentSpy part Duex! Place your bets

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2008 @ 1:20pm


    a) How much of this side of the argument will see the light of day in regular media.
    b) How many people who read this site on a regular basis don't already know this side of the argument.
    c) Does the MPAA give a damn. (the answer is no).

    I'm not trying to criticise the article here, but every piece of news I see that delivers the anti-RIAA/MPAA side of the story is always on websites that cater to geeks (no offence) and the like, and we're all fully aware of it. We're also relatively small in number.
    The regular people out there, the ones who need to be educated on all sides of the argument, and the ones who need to be fully educated on both sides of the argument, are the ones who will never read this. Which needs to change, rather quick by the looks of it.

    I'm sorry this comment seems to take a negative tone, I am glad that there are places that cater to the anti-MPAA/RIAA side of the argument, (relatively) few though they be. I guess I've just started to see it as a load of people all fuming between themselves and ultimately fairly powerless to do anything about it.

    Everyone who reads this already knows it (in spirit).
    The people who don't read it are the ones who NEED to know it. And they don't.
    This needs to change.

    Peace out.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2008 @ 1:21pm

    Good thing there is

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2008 @ 1:25pm

    That really sucks!!

    And the thing is it will not do one damn thing against pirating, not even a dent!!!!!!!!!

    Talking about exposing the MPAA, I was watching this movie that I,um borrowed from a friend. Everybody here needs to watch this movie/documentary, if you haven't already watched it. Its a couple years old already. It's called "This Film Is Not Yet Rated" and it exposes the MPAA rating system and how much of a joke that is. The funny or I should say disturbing thing is how NOBODY even knows who or how they rate all of the movies. Very eye opening movie!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Mar 2008 @ 1:34pm

      Re: That really sucks!!

      I was just on wikipedia & I thought this was kind of ironic. I guess it is OK for them to copy movies. I hate hypocrites!!!

      "On January 24, 2006, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) admitted to making duplicates of a digital copy of the film that was provided to them for the purpose of obtaining an MPAA rating. According to the film's director, Kirby Dick, he sought assurances that no copies would be made or distributed for any other purpose.[citation needed]

      The MPAA admitted to making copies of the film contrary to Dick's wishes although they contend that doing so did not constitute copyright infringement or a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). They say that the privacy of the raters themselves might have been violated by Dick. Since no complaint has been filed against Dick, and since the DMCA addresses the act of subverting access control and not copying, it is unclear whether the MPAA's justification is legally sound.[citation needed]

      Dick's lawyer, Michael Donaldson, has requested that the MPAA destroy all copies of the film in their possession and notify him of who has seen the film and received copies.[citation needed]

      The DVD version of the film contains deleted scenes that showed both phone calls where Kirby Dick was assured that no copy would be made, and the last one, during which he found out that a copy had indeed been created."

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

  • identicon
    Just Another Torrent-Junkie, 27 Mar 2008 @ 1:53pm

    Coincidence? I think not!

    Is it just me or has anyone else noticed a serious amount of FAIL in all media ever since the industry has started fighting over copyrights?

    Not just Hollywood but even the music industry has been failing to produce high quality enjoyable entertainment. They are too worried about being paid for the crap they are putting out there to look for and really invest in some true talent.

    Personally I'm with GeneralEmergency and BlowURmindBowel. The industry doesn't deserve a single cent from me for the lack of services they are providing. Just give me a good book or video game and I'm set for a great relaxing weekend.

    Hollywood shape-up or ship out!

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

    • identicon
      mike allen, 27 Mar 2008 @ 2:16pm

      Re: Coincidence? I think not!

      what you say may be right but concider the writers strike may have had something to do with it.
      as to the copyright crap I think the last movie i went to see was the x files movie i have other issues with the movie industry apart from the crap of copyright which is rediculas.

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

  • identicon
    Pete Valle, 27 Mar 2008 @ 3:29pm


    So, how much longer will it take for the MPAA and the RIAA to figure out that shutting down a single torrent search engine is akin to using a bucket to save the Titanic? A new version of Torrent Spy, or two dozen similar engines, will come out, probably within days. All they are doing is giving geeks in obscure countries the opportunity to host new services. Look at what has happened to the Pirate Bay.

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

  • identicon
    Gary Storm, 28 Mar 2008 @ 12:59am

    Oh PLEASE....

    I'm sorry T-Spy was shut down too (but not as sorry as I am over Demonoid), BUT....

    please don't give me all that crap about movies being shit and the MPAA being evil criminal bastards. Every time we download a movie (or mp3 or game or whatever), WE are the evil criminal bastards.... and you know it.

    In the eyes of the law we are breaking the law. I broke the law when I downloaded I AM LEGEND. I couldn't get to a cinema to see it, but after seeing it (and I knew nothing about it) I am going to buy yhe dvd. It's worth it. It's worth actually saying to the thousands of guys who made the movie and distributed it and advertised it that, you know what, you made a movie worth buying, so here's my $30 to go towards your hard work... it's appreciated. I personally don't think p2p is all that bad as long as people buy what they really like. If you don't like what you downloaded then you wouldn't have bought it anyway. But fair is fair.... buy it if you like it.

    My wife is a musician, and yeah she has some free tracks for download, but we aren't going to be able to buy food or pay our mortgage each month or fix the car without people actually buying the mp3's or cd if they like it. We have 2 (nearly 3) kids to support too. Remember that if you download the whole album whenever someone puts it up as a torrent. Fair enough if you want to screw the fat-cats who can afford it, but don't forget the little people.

    I know I'll get flamed for this, but I`m sick of people saying the RIAA and MPAA are arseholes (and they can be, don't get me wrong) in one breath when they are being aresholes themselves by stealing (not buying what you really like) on the other hand.

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

    • identicon
      Gary Storm, 28 Mar 2008 @ 1:06am

      Re: Oh PLEASE....

      Oh, and if you want to download the free mp3's, you can get to them via the link above. If you like them, listen to the rest and if you like her work enough, buy the whole mp3 album for $3.50 (drm-free), or the cd for $10 or something like that.

      My main point is that if people like us weren't downloading the movie's and music, the MPAA wouldn't be doing the illegal tactics of hacking etc. But can you really blame them? I don't like it, but it's probably what I`d do if I knew thousands of people were sticking their hands into my pockets while I wasn't looking.

      Maybe there should be special versions of product for people to try (like game demo's). It would be hard though to justify, as music and movies want to be at a decent quality to shine... so doing a low-bitrate version wouldn't work (like screeners are crap most of the time). Maybe a small size of the movie, smaller than 320x240 for preview purposes on p2p.

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

      • identicon
        DanC, 28 Mar 2008 @ 6:49am

        Re: Re: Oh PLEASE....

        the MPAA wouldn't be doing the illegal tactics of hacking etc. But can you really blame them?

        Yes, you can and should blame them, for various reasons. An illegal response to an illegal act is still illegal. Also, the RIAA and the MPAA constantly take the high morale ground in their lobbying efforts, yet in practice they use underhanded tactics to achieve their goals. It's hypocrisy and illegal, and if they want to pursue their lawsuits against infringers, they should be operating legally.

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

    • identicon
      Paul, 28 Mar 2008 @ 3:17am

      Re: Oh PLEASE....

      I agree with you. I download a lot of stuff and if it's good I'll buy it. I will admit though that the stuff put out really isn't worth the purchase price (especially music CD's). I did notice however back a little after Napster was shut down that the industry did start offering more the purchase of the CD's (bonus DVD's, tickets, and other stuff as well). I've purchased a few mp3's from Amazon, but after a HDD failure pretty much like throwing money out the fault since I didn't back them up, but I went out and illegally redownloaded them since I had already paid for them in the first place and Amazon wasn't about to let me go and grab them again for free. I didn't see an option when I went to see if they had an order history tied to my account so I could get them again. If there is then let me know :) I've even downloaded a few movies that I own, but like to keep them on my drive for easy access and don't want to rip and encode them myself. Also, my library of "pirated" stuff is small since I don't like having a lot of useless stuff on my reason I use Linux (sorry...couldn't help myself)

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

  • identicon
    El Ignoramus, 28 Mar 2008 @ 3:04pm



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

  • identicon
    Boycott the Fuckers, 28 Mar 2008 @ 8:45pm

    Lets boycott all music and movies

    Lets boycott buying all music and movies

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

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