|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [NYLXS - HANGOUT] Corperate Spying OK for Copyright
|MPAA triumphs; judge rules TorrentSpy destroyed evidence
By Eric Bangeman | Published: December 18, 2007 - 03:23PM CT
A federal judge has handed the MPAA a resounding victory in its copyright
infringement lawsuit against TorrentSpy. Judge Florence-Marie Cooper
entered a default judgment against Justin Bunnell and the rest of named
defendants in Columbia Pictures et al. v. Justin Bunnell et al. after
finding that TorrentSpy "engaged in widespread and systematic efforts
to destroy evidence" and lying under oath about said destruction.
* BitTorrent site ordered to enable server logs, turn them over to
MPAA * Judge: TorrentSpy must preserve data in RAM * TorrentSpy to
MPAA: Log this! Site blocks US searches * Torrentspy starts filtering
The MPAA sued TorrentSpy and a handful of other BitTorrent sites in
February 2006 as part of its crackdown on piracy. TorrentSpy mounted a
vigorous defense, including a countersuit it filed against the MPAA in
May 2006, but behind the scenes, the court documents paint a picture of
a company desperately trying to bury any and all incriminating evidence.
After receiving the complaint, TorrentSpy's admins tried to bury their
tracks as best they could, according to Judge Cooper's ruling. One of
the defendants, Wes Parker, asked TorrentSpy's moderators to come up
with a plan to keep the site's forums free of piracy and the discussion
thereof. Another moderator suggested creating a hidden forum and moving
all of the incriminating content there, and Parker gave her the go-ahead.
Admins also replaced the names of copyrighted works posted in the forums
with references like "[some movie 1]"; some of those edits were made
months after the original post.
TorrentSpy also failed to provide the MPAA with full IP addresses of its
users, testifying under oath that they were not available. Conversations
on the forums between the moderators paint a different picture, however. A
March 2006 conversation between a couple of moderators showed that users
could be banned by IP address, and moderators testified that full IP
addresses were logged until April 2007.
Judge Cooper ordered TorrentSpy to begin (or resume, as the case may be)
logging its users' IP addresses and turn them over to the MPAA. Since
the IP addresses were temporarily present in RAM, reasoned the judge,
the site could be forced to keep logs of them. Just two weeks later,
TorrentSpy belatedly began filtering copyrighted content, and, two months
after that, began blocking searches by users in the US.
The defendants' actions led the MPAA to file a Motion for Terminating
Sanctions in August, the motion that the judge ruled on last week. In
addition to the actions outlined above, TorrentSpy committed a few other
sins in the eyes of judge, and she believed that they had the effect of
making it much more difficult for the MPAA to make its case.
"Plaintiffs have convinced the Court that their ability to prove their
case has been inalterably prejudiced by Defendants' willful spoliation
of evidence, making terminating sanctions the only effective recourse,"
wrote Judge Cooper. "The Court has concluded that Defendants' conduct
constitutes spoliation and second, that termination of the case in favor
of Plaintiffs is the proper sanction."
In other words, game over, and the MPAA wonâ€”but because of TorrentSpy's
actions after the lawsuit was filed. TorrentSpy has announced its
intention to appeal, but its conduct makes a reversal unlikely.
-- http://www.mrbrklyn.com - Interesting Stuff
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