U.S. District Court Rules Against TorrentSpy

Bob Preston
LOS ANGELES — TorrentSpy, one of the largest sources of illegal free adult content online, has suffered a defeat in a California courtroom.

A federal court in Los Angeles ruled against TorrentSpy.com, saying that the company destroyed evidence and provided false testimony during the discovery process for their trial against the Motion Picture Association of America. In the ruling, the court terminated the entire case.

Although estimating TorrentSpy's effect on adult industry profits would prove near-impossible, many in the industry blame torrent sites and similar file-sharing technologies for millions in lost revenue every year.

But attorney Ira Rothken, who represented TorrentSpy, told XBIZ that the case hinged on privacy. In its ruling, U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper wrote that TorrentSpy had intentionally modified or deleted key file directories, concealed users' IP addresses and withheld the names of forum administrators.

"TorrentSpy is very privacy-centric," Rothken said. "They had to choose between their privacy policies and the requirements for disclosure. They wanted to err on the side of protecting their users."

The MPAA had brought suit against TorrentSpy.com for providing a safe haven for terabytes of pirated movies, TV and other media. John Malcolm, executive vice president and director of worldwide antipiracy operations for the Motion Picture Association of America, said that illegal pirating and bootlegging of Hollywood movies costs the industry $11 billion annually.

"The court finds that plaintiffs have suffered prejudice, to the extent that a rightful decision is not possible," the ruling said.

To that end, TorrentSpy isn't giving up.

"It's not like they proved their case. It's not like they proved that TorrentSpy infringed copyright," said Justin Bunnell, founder of TorrentSpy. "I think we have a lot of grounds for appeal and we'll pursue it vigorously."