TorrentSpy Drop-Kicked By Federal Judge In MPAA Copyright Lawsuit
A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled against TorrentSpy.com, the BitTorrent indexing site, in a case brought on by the Motion Picture Association of America for copyright infringement. The Judge stated that TorrentSpy’s “hiding and destruction of evidence” made a fair trial impossible, and impacted the ability for the movie studios to prove its case.
“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 determined. “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.”
TorrentSpy operators systematically changed or deleted directory headings naming copyrighted titles and forum posts that explained how to find specific copyrighted works; concealed IP addresses of users; and withheld the names and addresses of forum moderators, the court concluded. They had earlier been fined $30,000 for violations of discovery orders and were warned of severe sanctions if they continued to ignore the orders.
TorrentSpy’s San Francisco-based attorney Ira Rothken naturally disagreed with the ruling and called the act, “draconian in nature and unfair.” He said he does not believe any data was intentionally destroyed and said some actions were taken to protect the privacy of TorrentSpy users. Now all TorrentSpy can do is argue over the amount of damages, Rothken said. The company will appeal the decision, he said.
TorrentSpy is maintaining its site internationally, with servers located in The Netherlands.