back to article Hollywood awarded $110m against TorrentSpy

Operators of the once-popular TorrentSpy tracker have been ordered to pay more than $110m to Hollywood for facilitating illegal downloads of movies and television shows. U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper awarded the Motion Picture Association of America maximum damages of $30,000 per movie, for each of the 3,699 …

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  1. Ed
    Flame

    I wonder...

    how much of that Hollywood will ever see? None of it I expect, the TorrentSpy people will just declare themselves bankrupt and move on...

  2. Pierre
    Linux

    United States of China

    A tracker site is mainly a search engine, and the P2P protocols are nowhere near illegal in themselves (making them illegal would be the same as criminalizing http or mail transfer protocols on the base that they can be -and are- used in unlawfull activities).

    So when China censors webpage trackers (Google and the like), it's bad, bad China. But when the US censor torrent trackers, it's bad, bad torrent trackers? Get a grip on reality, people. Move your servers to Sweden. They don't censor search engines nor torrent trackers.

    Plus Sweden has penguins.

  3. Vendicar Decarian
    Pirate

    Information wants to be free

    Absolutely nothing is going to stop the downloading - except low prices . I downloaded two movies last week.

    Yesterday I found one of them on sale for a good price and another I had download months ago at a local grocery store of all places. So I purchased them. I moderately regret making the effort to download them at this point.

    In any case, I have a message for the MORON judge who issued the fine and the MPAA,

    "Go F*ck Yourslelf!"

  4. Matthew
    Thumb Down

    im sure they will see all of that money

    ..not..

  5. Ronny Cook

    Penguins & judges

    Penguins are native to Antarctica (and some other places in the southern hemisphere). The only ones living north of the equator are in zoos and the odd Linux enthusiast.

    Odd being the word if they want to be called a penguin.

    Those who believe that information wants to be free are invited to publish their credit card numbers. Don't forget the expiry date and CSV.

    While I agree that current copyright laws are ridiculously out of proportion the verdict is in no way surprising. The judge's job is the enforce the law as it is, not the law as we would like it to be. Ragging on the judge for doing his job is a bit low.

    ...Ronny

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Action of a Sell out

    Florence-Marie Cooper just shows once more how easy it is for the Digital Mafia (MPAA/RIAA) to buy judges in the USA. So Ms. Cooper how much was you price?

    Peoples, remember this the next time you feel stupid enough to buy a DVD of a hollywood movie: It is illegal in most country to do so. are your are directly financing a international (and extremly dangerous) criminal cartel.

    The MPAA and RIAA are responcible for destroying more lives(and familiy) in the USA then any terrorist group ever did.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Money?

    The first poster states they will likely declare bankruptcy (spelling...)

    Do they have even close to that money anyway? IS this not a bunk ruling, in that they will not get jail time ect...

  8. Steven Foster
    Thumb Up

    Victory, yeah...

    Wow looks like the MPAA/RIAA cartel has won. Oh wait, how many other Torrent sites are there? And like others have said, what are the odds of them getting the money? Slim methinks.

    Yes, go MPAA, we're all very proud of you.

  9. michael

    soo

    it is illagle to make avaible now?

    so all thouse shops I see selling bongs for "tobacko" somkeing are making avaible for drug habits how about all thouse pepol selling siringes shure they "can" be used for medicle purposes but we know most pepol use them for ilalgel drugs

  10. Stew Wilson
    Joke

    Standards are Slippin

    "Motion Picture <em>Association</em> of America"

    What is this strange beast? Is it any relation to the foul tentacles that El Reg readers know as the Motion Picture Ass. of America? If so, why was it not named as such, and if not, why were we not warned?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hang on a sec...

    "...The judgment was defaulted against the tracker after it destroyed IP log evidence, claiming it was protecting users' privacy..."

    They wilfully destroyed evidence required by the court, they are lucky they didn't end up on a perverting the course of justice or contempt of court rap. There are many places where you would go down for a _long_ time for this sort of thing.

  12. bluesxman
    Coat

    "Plus Sweden has penguins."

    The BBC-sponsored flying variety? ;o)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Ronny

    "Those who believe that information wants to be free are invited to publish their credit card numbers. Don't forget the expiry date and CSV."

    Any other straw men you want to set up while you're here?

    "The judge's job is the enforce the law as it is, not the law as we would like it to be."

    No it isn't. The judge's job is to interpret the law. It is the police and other agencies whose remit is to enforce the law. What is at issue here is whether the judge is interpreting the law correctly, which in many people's opinion, she isn't. She's simply siding with those who wield the most corporate power.

    This is obvious if you consider that the same torrents can be found by using Google to search for them. Should Google be shut down and fined vast sums of money, simply for indexing the web? Why aren't the MPAA/RIAA suing them as well?

    The answer is that they daren't, because Google is a big company with lots of powerful friends and expensive lawyers.

  14. Liam

    hmmmm

    @ michael

    i think you need to lay off the bongs youself mate. i seriously hope english isnt your first language :)

    i love the way they can just assume that if someone downloads a movie they would have bought it. maybe they d/l to effectively rent the film? i know i just used to download loads of movies etc... didnt even watch some (same with mp3s) so its stupid to assume that hollywood is missing out on $$$ for every download. in napster days you just used to download anything that sounded interesting - and often deleted the crap you didnt like.

    i remember back in the day i used to download loads of divx... now i buy and rent a lot of dvds. in fact i bought a lot of the movies i downloaded in divx. crap films dont deserve to be bought!

    @Fraser

    "They wilfully destroyed evidence required by the court, they are lucky they didn't end up on a perverting the course of justice or contempt of court rap. There are many places where you would go down for a _long_ time for this sort of thing." - unless you are an MP or a celeb!

  15. Derek Brabrook

    from what I remember

    didn't they say they didn't log IP's and all transactions were executed in RAM ? hence why they couldn't produce the logs, or am I getting confused with "another" court case along similar lines ?

  16. Name

    "Publish your credit card numbers"

    Thats personal information, not copyright. There is a universe of difference.

    The MPAA and RIAA etc must be slowly bleeding to death - I wonder when Peak Blood (or should that be Trough Blood?) will occur?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Re: Ronnie Cook

    "The only ones living north of the equator are in zoos and the odd Linux enthusiast."

    I didn't know penguins could live in Linux enthusiasts. Isn't that a little warmer (and ickier) than the weather they're used to? I wonder how they breed? And how on earth do they find a large enough group of female Linux enthusiasts to make a viable colony?

  18. Mark

    Contributory infringement

    Hey, El Reg (USA arm), you'd better watch out. Now that linking to copyright infringement is considered copyright infringement (and criminal, at least as far as finding out who it is), then you linking to a place that links to copyright infringement is aiding and abetting a criminal act.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    PS the upside is that Jammie and all the others can say that their copyright infringement has already been paid by the $110M from BitTorrent, so no further damage was done.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know it's funny

    When I was a broke student I downloaded a number of computer games for free. Inevitably I lost most of them to either lack of space or corruption and now I'm gainfully employed guess what I'm doing to get them back?

    Sure, I could download them again but you're never quite sure what you'll get and frankly it usually takes longer than mail order.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All those zeroes

    The MPAA lawyers must have got so excited they missed off the zero in the court order and so the MPAA have been awarded "$30,00" (sic) per infringement. http://regmedia.co.uk/2008/05/07/torrentspy_fine_and_injunction.pdf

    Is that 30 dollars or three thousand?

    I bet junior pigopolists share stuff with their friends without permission so could we encourage MPAA to have a campaign to pursue music industry executives and their children and grandchildren for $30,000 per illegally copied/downloaded DVD?

    Could we also have every MPAA witness who swears in court that one illegal download costs the industry one full price sale prosecuted for perjury and perverting the course of justice?

  21. Magnus
    Stop

    It was a default judgement, the Torrentspy people sunk their case

    Basically, the judge didn't have to ponder the merits of the MPAA's case as Torrentspy shot itself in the foot by lying to the court, destroying evidence etc. The judge then passed down the statutory sentence laid down by law.

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Default_judgment <= I know it's wikipedia but it does give the basics...

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The michael translator...

    "it is illagle to make avaible now?

    so all thouse shops I see selling bongs for "tobacko" somkeing are making avaible for drug habits how about all thouse pepol selling siringes shure they "can" be used for medicle purposes but we know most pepol use them for ilalgel drugs"

    Beepbeepbeepitybeepbeepitybeepbeep. Beep.

    It is illegal to make available now?

    So all those shops I see selling bongs for "tobacco" smoking are making available for drug habits, how about all those people selling syringes? Sure, they "can" be used for medical purposes, but we know most people use them for illegal drugs.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    What about Google?

    Surely the biggest indexer of torrent links in the world, as it indexes all the other (previously unknown) torrent trackers and makes them easily accessible!

    Or can it afford the lawyers to destroy the RIAA and so they keep quiet?!

  24. Xpositor

    @Michael

    Your posting omiited the "Sent from my Blackberry Wireless Device".

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh dear

    Rather odd as, to my knowledge, they never actually even hosted the torrent files, let alone the data on the end of them. Seems like the *AA wanted to get a nice little tight foothold to start out against the actual torrent sites.

    So how do you get $110M out of someone who most likely only has a few grand and a couple of PCs to their name?

    To put it in perspective, I read a comment that the US only offered Burma $3M in aid, which works out to around $30/ person, this case places each infringement at $30,000. As they say "Money talks and BS walks.".

    In the end though, can't see it making much difference, with the freebie culture in full swing with today's yoof.

  26. michael

    @ the @michael pepol

    first off thanks for the translate

    yes basicley I was saying that

    actuley english is my main /only language (if you exclude BASIC / C) but being dyslexic I spell and wirte Very bad and can not be bothered to spend 30mins on a post spelling it right (anyway my boss would complane more)

    the point of my post was that I did not think it was illage to sell things that "could" be used for a crime

    sent from my dell laptop throught my hands

  27. Peyton

    @Derek

    I seem to remember the case being along those lines as well - that they weren't maintaining logs. A judge then (iirc) said they must start maintaining logs, they refused to comply, and at that point began blocking US IP addresses from accessing the site.

    Refusing to comply seems like a much different animal to me than "destroying evidence"

    When they started blocking US IP addresses, I just assumed they were not hosted here. Is that not the case? I have to admit, regardless of thoughts on freedoms and legalities, hosting a torrent search here in the USofA is really not the brightest move to make... not unless you have deep pockets and can hire top-notch attorneys.

  28. Pierre
    Linux

    Penguins

    In my native language, pingouin mean auk (and penguins are called manchots) So yeah, it was BBC case.

    Auk icon.

  29. Liam
    Thumb Up

    @ michael

    totally irrelevant but how the hell do you become a dyslexic programmer? surely programming / becoming an author must be the hardest things to be when dyslexic. fair play to you tho fella! coding wrecks my head and im not dyslexic at all! :)

  30. StopthePropaganda
    Thumb Down

    @ Pierre-just because a judge said it doesn't make it OK

    oh, it's still bad when it happens in the US. Please don't make the mistake of thinking the policies that unelected lawyers from rich corporations (Kind of like the EU's "consortiums" ) have forced upon the American people have anything to do with the desires of our countrymen. Despite the Media's blaring of the opinions of the vocal minority and the overrepresentation of the elite liberals' business interests, the majority of this country still thinks a human life is more valuable than a business investment-whether it's a building, a movie (adapted from someone else's ideas of course) or a song (generated by machine to contain focus group derived "pop" elements).

    This in no way allows Google or China off the hook-what they're doing in a national level is many times worse than what Hollywood lawyers are deploying now...but the "entertainment" industry seems to like the Chinese precedent and enforced social structure enough to deploy what are unconstitutional means to get there. Soon, perhaps there will be a world where Americans look to Chinese info-rebels for the ways and means to be allowed to see the truth and think for themselves.

    And of course, the Democratic Majority in both houses of Congress, being well paid for by a certain California Mouse Company and a bunch of millionaire talking dolls, chooses to do nothing about this but make up false complaints about elections their party talking head lost almost a decade ago.

  31. Tom Bell

    @ Liam

    Actually, a lot of the best programmers are dyslexic - note I modestly include myself in this elite group. I seem to remember some research many years ago about this. Something to do with the brains being wired differently somehow giving one a oneness with computers.

    I started with 370 assembler code but these days mostly do Java or PHP, just trying to picck up Python but I find I can read things in most languages.

    One bad habit I did have was using two character variable names - less to make mistakes spelling -- and in the days before spell checking editors comments were a real effort.

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