TorrentSpy operator ordered to pay $111 million in damages

Serving up links to BitTorrent downloads of copyrighted material doesn’t pay. According to the Associated Press, a Los Angeles, California court has found in favor of six major Hollywood movie studios in a case versus pirate website TorrentSpy.com. As part of the judgment, former TorrentSpy.com operator Valence Media will have to pay a hefty $111 million in damages to the plaintiffs—that’s $30,000 for each one of 3,700 or so torrents for movies and TV shows to which the site linked.

Valence Media has been embroiled in legal troubles since February 2006, when the Motion Picture Association of America filed its initial copyright infringement lawsuit. The following year, News.com reported that the federal judge overseeing the case had "ruled against the BitTorrent indexing service TorrentSpy.com saying that its hiding and destruction of evidence made a fair trial impossible." TorrentSpy.com went down on March 24, and a notice on the now-empty site reads:

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

The AP says Valence Media’s lawyers have filed a document in court asking for the judgement to be stayed. The lawyers claim the company is seeking bankruptcy protection in the United Kingdom.

Comments closed
    • Vaughn
    • 11 years ago

    That amount is a joke! They should pay them the fine in monopoly money!

    • timbits
    • 11 years ago

    wtf is a torrent?

      • Silus
      • 11 years ago

      A rushing, violent, or abundant and unceasing stream of something, like water or lava.

    • 0g1
    • 11 years ago

    What if they dont have $111 million?

    • DrDillyBar
    • 11 years ago

    Holy Crap, that’s a lot of doe. $30K each my right jewel.

    • CB5000
    • 11 years ago

    Killing p2p and torrents are nice IF it is really causing the companies and artists economic damages. As far as music is concerned 90% of the CD purchases is because of the music I downloaded which greatly helped in allowing me to sample music i never knew existed because its not played in American radio. I went to concerts that I never would have if not for downloaded music.

    As far as TV shows go, they need a way to make it available online W/O breaking copyright laws because a lot of people don’t like to just sit in front of a TV… they want to do some e-mail or other things while watching the show. The NBC rewind was nice for Heroes but there is only a couple of episodes there….

    PC games is a joke too… I buy games that I like because of the demo or from what I’ve seen. I download games that I have no intention of buying in the first place to try it out if it doesn’t have a demo… and almost all the time I regretted even playing it to see if it’s good or not. I think the last game that I actually liked that I downloaded was Diablo II and subsequently bought it because I wanted to play it online since single player was kinda boring…. I have yet to download any games that I liked since then… but bought plenty that I don’t regret buying in the slightest from Guildwars, Cod4, oblivion, C&C3…

      • Hdfisise
      • 11 years ago

      There is hulu and in the Uk bbc iplayer is doing a nice job.

      • evermore
      • 11 years ago

      There was a study recently that showed game sales were consistently lower if a demo was available before the release.

      Obviously that makes it sound like mostly crappy games are coming out, but it also means the game makers could save the effort and money by not making a demo, and profit from it.

        • CB5000
        • 11 years ago

        I agree with that… about 80% of the time the demo is a total disappointment for me. The recent ones were UT3 and crysis demos… such a let down. However C&C3 demo impressed me enough to buy the game and I love it.

        • kvndoom
        • 11 years ago

        In a lot of cases the game makers could save the effort and money by not making the game at all.

      • ludi
      • 11 years ago

      Radio options depend on the regional market. Some areas have fairly eclectic stations available, but if you live in a region that is dominated by Clear Channel…well, good luck.

        • CB5000
        • 11 years ago

        Well I live in Idaho… good luck getting european rock and symphonic metal here lol.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 11 years ago

          You should look in to Internet radio or streams.

            • CB5000
            • 11 years ago

            I do. I listen to Pandora internet radio all the time

    • asdsa
    • 11 years ago

    Well this is BS. I feel sorry for Valence Media.

    • boing
    • 11 years ago

    They should go after google. Google links to torrent-files as well. Fact is that it does a great job at it too! §[< http://www.google.com/search?&q=filetype:torrent<]§

      • eitje
      • 11 years ago

      wow. that’s a lawsuit waiting to happen!

        • no51
        • 11 years ago

        Tell Microsoft, this may be the way to bring Google down!

      • Madman
      • 11 years ago

      AWESOME, thanks for the tip. I could never find torrents before!

      • 0g1
      • 11 years ago

      Torrentspy was sued for “willfully inducing, contributing and vicariously allowing copyright infringement on its Web site”. Google vicariously allow copyright infringement by acting as a link to copyrighted material. However, they don’t willfully induce it (they try to cover the entire ‘web’) or contribute to it (by putting it into categories, providing seed/leech tracker info, or comments).

    • NeXus 6
    • 11 years ago

    I kept checking them via uTorrent hoping they would come back online. Oh well. There’s other torrent sites and I’ve got access to newsgroups.

    Wasn’t the RIAA/MPAA supposed to go after the newsgroups? I see nothing has come from that yet.

      • d2brothe
      • 11 years ago

      The legal system is not particularily fast….

      • d0g_p00p
      • 11 years ago

      The first rule of USENET is that you don’t talk about USENET!

        • Silus
        • 11 years ago

        Guess you already broke that one too 🙂

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This