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Shuttered BitTorrent tracker sued back to the stone age

A federal judge court inflicted $110 million in penalties on shuttered BitTorrent tracker, after the site defaulted on a court request to produce logs of its users’ activity.

The MPAA accused TorrentSpy of copyright infringement in early 2006.

The $110 million figure, one of the largest judgments ever entered for copyright infringement, was calculated by multiplying the site’s 3,669 “shown” infringements by $30,000, which is the maximum penalty available under certain conditions in the Copyright Act. U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper entered her ruling against the site and its parent company, Valence Media, for willfully and vicariously contributing to the infringement of copyrighted materials.

“This substantial money judgment sends a strong message about the illegality of these sites,” said MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman. “The demise of TorrentSpy is a clear victory for the studios.”

It remains unclear as to whether or not the MPAA will be able to collect the $110 million: Valence Media announced that it will appeal the judgment, and court records indicate that owners Justin Bunnell and Wes Parker have filed for bankruptcy.

Before the site closed its doors last March, TorrentSpy held a legal drama with the MPAA filled with twists and turns: in addition to being unable to procure server logs necessary to the case – which Cooper, frustrated with the site’s antics, called “obstreperous” – the site blocked U.S. users last August, due to the fact that court-ordered monitoring conflicted with the site’s privacy policy. Earlier, MPAA investigators paid $15,000 to hacker Robert Anderson, a former associate and advertising partner of the site, in exchange for a large cache of TorrentSpy’s e-mail and internal data.

TorrentSpy attorney Ira Rothken argued that TorrentSpy was no more liable for copyright infringement than any other search engine, as the site merely indexed torrent files and not the infringed data itself.

“The case was not decided on the merits of copyright issues whatsoever,” said Rothken, who noted that privacy differences between the United States and Europe – TorrentSpy’s servers were hosted in the Netherlands – prevented the case from going to trial.

“If an author wrote a book on where to find things and someone went after them, would freedom of speech trump copyright authority? Are you still allowed to run a search engine when there are a lot of bad torrent files? These are issues we should have gotten to in the case.”

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Sound the bugel
By ShadowZERO on 5/9/2008 9:05:06 AM , Rating: 5
I think, on this sad day in history, I shall burn an effigy of Dan Glickman.
*sheds a tear for TorrentSpy*

RE: Sound the bugel
By theamerican on 5/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: Sound the bugel
By Ensoph42 on 5/9/2008 9:26:04 AM , Rating: 5

RE: Sound the bugel
By Ensoph42 on 5/9/2008 9:52:43 AM , Rating: 5
Sorry for the double post. But let me say that the RIAA's hubris breeds contempt. If you were to walk into a gas station and the attendant say "Hey you asshat pony up 56.50 or I'll slap the funny out of you" you'd probably be inclined not only to not pay, but apply a bit of the ultra-violence. A poor example anyway.

But while the TV, music, and software industry also suffers from piracy, it's only the RIAA that has the gull to sue the pants off of everyone and everything in an attempt to protect their I.P.

Torrenting may be theft, but it's also a positive sign of change. There is still profit to be made. Unfortunately for the RIAA they have to accept first that the days of forcing overpriced CDs of crappy pop music down everyones throats is over. The internet has empowered people, a proverbial pandoras box. Tech savvy artists are now bypassing the RIAA completely to offer their releases online, while other companies also continue to make profits by selling DRM free albums, and user's no longer have to buy 9 lousy tracks for 1 good one.

And do you think that the RIAA has been really out to protect the artist? How much does an artist get per CD? Where does the money won from the lawsuits go? Back when CD's where $20 where did that money go? Hasn't the RIAA and the recording industry abused our copywrite system for years now? I may be a theif, but the music industry is morally bankrupt for the most part.

Oh and let he who has not copyied software, music, etc, cast the first stone.

RE: Sound the bugel
By Regs on 5/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: Sound the bugel
By Ensoph42 on 5/9/2008 10:27:37 AM , Rating: 2
By forcing I was really alluding to that the price of a cd, regardless of artist or label would be the same price. I understand I have the option of 'not buying it', but I didn't have the usual consumer advantage of being able to shop around. This is a cornerstone of a free market.

I don't think your worries are founded; I can't see a business model that revolves around sueing your customers could result in anything other than a major backlash against the MPAA and RIAA.

Additionally, there's nothing we can do to kill the music industry. Musicians will continue to make music no matter what. And also I'm more along the lines of thinking they are "prideful", "greedy", "monopolistic", and "outdated" than "evil".

RE: Sound the bugel
By MrBlastman on 5/9/2008 11:04:40 AM , Rating: 2
If people stop buying music outright, will the musicians work for free?

RE: Sound the bugel
By Ensoph42 on 5/9/2008 11:39:52 AM , Rating: 3
My understanding is that musicians make their money from tours. Some bands do all their own promotions. Some bands sell posters, shirts, and hats. We'll never live in a world where good musicians can't make a living. We may see the death of certain super-mega-ultra stars that bath naked in honey and $100 dollar bills, but certainly we wont see the death of the musician.

RE: Sound the bugel
By MrBlastman on 5/9/2008 11:43:45 AM , Rating: 4
True, which is why I advocate boycotting all RIAA sanctioned outlets for music sales - be it cd's, online stores, downloadable content etc.

I would hate to see musicians dissapear outright and perhaps I did not word myself correctly but agree with what you are getting at.

I will gladly pay an artist directly for their talent so they may rightfully be compensated for their work.

RE: Sound the bugel
By tastyratz on 5/9/2008 2:32:53 PM , Rating: 3
I haven't purchased a cd from the store in years... YEARS.
I've picked up a few used cds where the riaa wouldn't see a dime from time to time.
I recently was one of the people to go to Trent Reznor's site and purchase the Ghosts cd from him directly.

I will support an artist, but certainly not the Riaa. is my friend.

RE: Sound the bugel
By just4U on 5/9/2008 2:37:34 PM , Rating: 2
<sigh> .. even there they can nab you if they had a mind to. While they have turned a blind eye to most used sales .. legally were not supposed to be selling them. We have right's to the physical media something is on but not to the media itself and are not authorized to resell it.

RE: Sound the bugel
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2008 12:18:42 PM , Rating: 2
True, but I think that in itself is a whole other issue. To me, that's basically like saying I can't resell a couch because I didn't design it, I only own the materials the couch is made of. It's not like I'm passing the couch off as my own, and I doubt anyone is making a profit of a reselling used CDs. Yes, they make money off of it, but it's hardly as much as they originally paid for it.

RE: Sound the bugel
By Spivonious on 5/9/2008 10:49:21 AM , Rating: 2
I'll "cast the first stone" then, since I don't break laws.

The MPAA and TV studios have sued or threatened to sue many of the copyright-infringing websites (e.g. YouTube). The RIAA is the only one so far to have the gaul to sue individuals, but why shouldn't they? Are individuals no longer responsible for their actions?

I agree that torrenting is a very clever way of transferring data. The RIAA is just going after illegal activities. I don't remember any CDs being forced down my throat. I don't buy crappy pop music. Anyway, why is the RIAA responsible for artistic value? They simply produce and distribute music. There are plenty of sources to buy just the one good track (iTunes et. al).

The RIAA is out to make money. They are a business. Doing it "for the music" is an attractive bohemian idea, but you can't feed or house yourself by giving free performances every Saturday. Should the artists get a bigger cut of the profits? Sure, once the record company recovers its investment. But that's not for me to decide. If the artists don't like the deal, then there are plenty of options today for distributing music other than signing with a large record label.

Your excuse for thievery is akin to me saying "Ford doesn't pay their workers enough so I'm going to steal a few cars." It's a childish argument at best.

RE: Sound the bugel
By Ensoph42 on 5/9/2008 10:59:13 AM , Rating: 2
I'll "cast the first stone" then, since I don't break laws.

This I hardly believe. Never, ever ever, have you copied a piece of software or CD in your whole life? Not even when you were young? If you've ever owned a C64 I know you've copied software.

Your excuse for thievery is akin to me saying "Ford doesn't pay their workers enough so I'm going to steal a few cars." It's a childish argument at best.

Yes steal a few cars. Its the law so it must be right! If a law is unjust break it. In Fords case what if you found out that cars were really being made by 5 year old child slaves that were then ground into oil to fuel their hate machine woud you? I say burn the factory down.

RE: Sound the bugel
By MrPieGuy on 5/9/2008 11:10:27 AM , Rating: 2
Did you actually just compare the RIAA's dealing with artists to child labour?

What is unjust about a law that requires you to pay for a good/product?

RE: Sound the bugel
By Ensoph42 on 5/9/2008 11:15:52 AM , Rating: 2
It's called hyperbole.

The RIAA is an anachronism that is filing lawsuits, not for the betterment of the music industry, but to mearly save itself. It is artificially creating a reason to justify its own existance.

RE: Sound the bugel
By PWNettle on 5/9/2008 1:33:01 PM , Rating: 2
Don't steal intellectual property (or in this case don't create sites that facilitate stealing intellectual property) and they'd have no reason to ever go to court.

I don't see how protecting your own property can be a bad thing, which is all they're tasked to do.

The people who are against protection of intellectual property amaze me. You want a double standard. I'm going to assume you're not all volunteers - that you expect to get paid for your work. I'm going to assume that you don't like the idea of people stealing your physical property. Yet somehow you think it's ok to steal music, videos, games, and any other intellectual property? All the stuff that gets stolen is luxury items nobody needs - and if you don't want to pay for your luxury items, you don't need them.

Having alarm systems, cameras, and security guards in grocery stores, malls, and other retail outlets doesn't make the products there better - it protects the products from scumbags that want to steal it. How is what the RIAA doing any different?

RE: Sound the bugel
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2008 12:26:36 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I find it ironic that you talk about double standards when you yourself are suggesting one. You are suggesting that the RIAA/MPAA/whoever has the right to take down an entity just because SOME people misuse it? Hell, the whole of society would break down if you followed that logic. If you want to sue them for willingly hosting illegal torrents, fine. The thing is, they aren't really doing that. They just want ALL torrent sites GONE.

Your analogy to security mechanisms is astonishing. Suing is not a security mechanism, it's what you do to recoup loses when your security mechanisms have failed. Copy protection, validation, and DRM are all security mechanisms, not the legal system.

RE: Sound the bugel
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2008 12:30:38 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry for double post... but, if you want to suggest that the RIAA should be allowed to sue a search engine, then they may as well go after Google, MS, and Yahoo. They give you MILLIONS of pages in which to do illegal activity. While I don't agree with the RIAA, they are actually doing one thing right, suing individuals. I don't agree with the amount that they say they lost, or recoup, but it makes far more sense. If someone steals a car with tools they purchased at Home Depot, does Home Depot get sued? HELL NO.

RE: Sound the bugel
By mahax on 5/9/2008 11:19:37 AM , Rating: 2
So you never speeded, parked without a ticket or jaywalked?

Would you consider downloading an illegal song a worse crime than above?

Think about it, iTunes sells songs for .99$ Penalty for illegal download? Thousands. Park without that few dollar ticket, penalty? ~100$?

RE: Sound the bugel
By Flunk on 5/9/2008 11:47:37 AM , Rating: 2
You analogy is flawed, there is no other case of theft where you are liable for more than the normal value of the stolen goods. Parking fines have no relation to the concept of theft.

RE: Sound the bugel
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2008 12:33:34 PM , Rating: 2
How do you give value to a non-physical item then?

RE: Sound the bugel
By Tombpsyco on 5/11/2008 9:24:02 AM , Rating: 1
A recording is a physical object, It has mass. Just because you can make electronic copies of a item doesn't make it any less a physical object than the original. Believe it or not the copies of everything on your computer are real objects with weight an mass.

So do these objects have a value?

RE: Sound the bugel
By TheDoc9 on 5/9/2008 11:20:17 AM , Rating: 2
Except that music is not more of a necessity, such as a car is liable to be. Also, a car requires physical labor and materials to build and has many other costs attached, where as a song can be copied instantly, has no physical presence, uses no materials and is used for nothing more than listening. Where does this boundary for stealing stop, and who are you to decide? Is having something that most people probably weren't going to buy anyway such a crime? The only people this benefits is the lawyers because they get to bill insane rates and buy there bmw's/lexus/huge house.

Myself I buy my music tracks using amazon to avoid any hassle. A dollar or two a month is not a big deal to me and that should be a good indication of just how much actual good music these clowns put out. And half of these purchases I still regret.

RE: Sound the bugel
By just4U on 5/9/2008 12:14:07 PM , Rating: 2
I'll "cast the first stone" then, since I don't break laws.

The sad thing is, I used to agree on this until I started to read just how these copyright laws are laid out... They are done in such a way that realistically, almost everyone over the age of 4 can be considered guilty of some form of infringement. (Or THEFT as some of you refer to it)

That makes me angry. It really does. They have turned us all into criminals (if you want to look at it that way). What ticks me off even more is even my Grandmother was guilty of it. She was the most law abiding person I knew, and always tried to do no wrong. She'd have been literally horrified that in the eyes of the court and the RIAA she was no better then a common criminal.

RE: Sound the bugel
By eyebeeemmpawn on 5/9/2008 1:25:25 PM , Rating: 2
The RIAA is out to make money. They are a business.

The RIAA is an association of recording industry organizations whose purpose is represent the interests of recording industry. Though it seems their true purpose is to sue individuals for copyright infringement. That way each of the associated labels don't end up with egg directly on their faces for their mafia tactics.

This is America, home of the "free market". If you want to be in business, you need to compete in the given environment, not manipulate the environment to suit your business needs. Record labels set the price of their albums, but not the value. The value is determined by the market.

Retail businesses have to deal with actual theft, but your don't see everyone being searched on their way out of the store. If we have to sacrifice our basic rights to privacy for the sake of someones archaic business model, then its time to press the reset button because this is no longer America.

RE: Sound the bugel
By JustTom on 5/9/2008 10:14:20 PM , Rating: 2
Retail businesses have to deal with actual theft, but your don't see everyone being searched on their way out of the store.

Really bad analogy. Do you have any idea the number of anti-theft measures you are subjected to everytime you enter the typical store? Cameras, store security, scanners, tags on the merchandise, they are not searching everyone because they do not need to.

RE: Sound the bugel
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2008 12:36:43 PM , Rating: 2
All easily bypassed if you have the slightest clue what you are doing. Some of the measures are more difficult though, like the ink filled tags on some clothes. Screw up with one of them and you're caught no matter what. Most other things, like DVDs, CDs, and other such sized items can easily be stolen with little to no effort.

RE: Sound the bugel
By Odeen on 5/10/2008 1:25:28 AM , Rating: 4
Your excuse for thievery is akin to me saying "Ford doesn't pay their workers enough so I'm going to steal a few cars." It's a childish argument at best.

Wrong. Cars are a rival good. CD's are a rival good. What does "Rival good" mean? It means that only one party at a time has ownership. If I own a car, and you take it, you now have a car, but I do not.

"Theft" according to the Merriam Webster dictionary is "the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it."

You take my car, you deprive me, the rightful owner, of it, therefore you have committed theft.

Now the funny thing about intellectual property is that it's NOT a rival good. There is no way to deprive the rightful owner of the intellectual property of it.

You can steal a physical object (a CD) containing intellectual property or, somehow, steal the rights to the intellectual property (the rights themselves ARE a rival good), therefore depriving its rightful owner from manufacturing and selling copies. No one here (besides you) is advocating that.

Where your analogy falls apart is that, unlike stealing cars (where some car owners end up without cars), copying music does not actually cause anyone to end up without the music. If someone has an objection to Ford's business practices, they are free not to buy Ford cars. If someone has an objection to RIAA's business practices, they are free not to buy RIAA CD's.

RE: Sound the bugel
By JustTom on 5/10/2008 12:34:55 PM , Rating: 2
If someone has an objection to RIAA's business practices, they are free not to buy RIAA CD's.

This is very true but they don't have a right to distribute copies of music or copy music they are not authorized to copy. When music is distributed illegally for free it does in fact diminish the value of the underlying IP. Some percentage of those who download that music without paying for it would in fact had bought it if a free download was not available.

Whether it is stealing, or theft, or just violation of copyrights it is ethically wrong. You are using something, whether it is tangible or not, that you have no right to use.

RE: Sound the bugel
By Alexstarfire on 5/10/2008 12:43:16 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, I don't believe it really diminishes the value of it. Of course, since music truly doesn't go by value it's probably impossible to say for sure though. Yes, they do have a price for it, but that's not the value of it. I'm sure the picture of my girlfriend has little to no monetary value, but it is of great value to me. If music prices were determined by the market, AKA consumers, then you'd see a vast difference in the price of certain artists, songs, etc. Though, perhaps not since it's not a physical good and it easily reproduced.

Either way, value, price, and profit are all completely different from each other.

RE: Sound the bugel
By jojothehobo on 5/9/2008 11:31:16 AM , Rating: 2
The biggest issue on this for me is the $30,000/item. For any law to be meaningful it has to treat everyone equally. For example when Sony, an MPAA member, inserted malware onto many users computers they got off with a wrist slap and a minimum fine. Their fine didn't even cover the cost of extracting their malicious software. We all know why, but the verifiable facts that the MPAA and its member companies get treated differently under the law points to the necessity, in the interest of societal respect for the law, to review the copyright law and whether or not its penalties aren't cruel and unusual.

RE: Sound the bugel
By JustTom on 5/9/2008 11:52:37 AM , Rating: 2
But while the TV, music, and software industry also suffers from piracy, it's only the RIAA that has the gull to sue the pants off of everyone and everything in an attempt to protect their I.P.

The MPAA accused TorrentSpy of copyright infringement in early 2006.

This was a story about the MPAA
suing the pants off someone not the RIAA. Please, next time read the article before commencing with rant.

By the way, the Business Software Alliance "sues the pants off" companies all the time. And they pay people to snitch on their employers to facilitate those laws suits. So they MPAA and RIAA are hardly unique.

RE: Sound the bugel
By Ensoph42 on 5/9/2008 12:07:58 PM , Rating: 2
Ouch I just got owned. Cut me some slack it's late here in my timezone. Whenever I see "filesharing" and "lawsuit" I assume it's the RIAA. I'm probably not the only one here.

The MPAA and the Business Software Alliance has not built up the sort of negativity about their practices due to how they go about them. Businesses especially are accountable to do things by the books.

And for the record it was not a "rant"; it was a harangue.

RE: Sound the bugel
By JonnyDough on 5/10/2008 12:42:48 AM , Rating: 2
"There is still profit to be made. Unfortunately for the RIAA they have to accept first that the days of forcing overpriced CDs of crappy pop music down everyones throats is over."

This doesn't disregard theft. Please stop acting like it does.

RE: Sound the bugel
By MrBlastman on 5/9/2008 9:27:53 AM , Rating: 4
While I don't advocate illegal downloading nor piracy of software (developers deserve to be paid), I'll pose one very simple, but succinct question to you:

Which is more thievery - downloading some songs or the rediculous antics the RIAA pulls on the artists it is supposedly trying to promote and benefit?

I await your answer.

RE: Sound the bugel
By theamerican on 5/9/08, Rating: -1
RE: Sound the bugel
By MrBlastman on 5/9/2008 10:30:21 AM , Rating: 2
Ah but you've placed yourself within the quandry between a Legally wrong action and an Ethically and Morally wrong action.

Both are harmful. One is harmful to those whom sell the music, the other is harmful to the careers and livelihood of the true talent, the artists. I don't think it is as cut and dry as you make it sound.

True, greed is not illegal, but usury is... An action the RIAA is notorious for enacting on their artists in a discreet but deceptive way.

But, to further elude your scruitiny, what if I, the individual, were to simply - ignore the music industry all together and refuse to both download or buy their product. In essence, ignore their existence alltogether and partake in a zero net sum of their collective efforts? I expectantly look forward to the RIAA suing us who choose to do just this some day.

RE: Sound the bugel
By porkpie on 5/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: Sound the bugel
By MrBlastman on 5/9/2008 10:49:44 AM , Rating: 2
What part of what I said above your comment pertained to the RIAA protecting their property? Please read completely my comment and summate a fitting reply.

If in fact you point to them protecting their property by suing those whom refuse to purchase or utilize any of their products then your logic is flawed. Otherwise, I see no connection.

RE: Sound the bugel
By just4U on 5/9/2008 12:26:36 PM , Rating: 2
I will give you the answer your looking for.

The worst part of all of this, is that their greed has allowed for the vast majority of our culture to be viewed as thieves and criminals weather we know it or not.

That MUST change.

RE: Sound the bugel
By GaryJohnson on 5/9/2008 10:15:35 AM , Rating: 2
The artists choose to do business with the members of the RIAA.

RE: Sound the bugel
By MrBlastman on 5/9/2008 10:43:05 AM , Rating: 2
Years ago, they had no choice but to do business with them. Many of them would blindly do so without knowing what really goes on.

Fortunately, times have changed a bit and I await the arise of the first newfound talent to successfully rise in fame through non-RIAA avenues such as the Internet, blogs, torrents, Youtube etc.

The question is not will it happen, but when?

RE: Sound the bugel
By ShadowZERO on 5/9/2008 9:29:43 AM , Rating: 2
If i want free software, I will usually go to the software site's official torrents. Sometimes torrent tracker sites are faster, though.

I mainly use torrent sites for software, music, or movies, that while may be copyrighted:
1) I used to own but have lost the CD/DVD media they were on
2) Are next to impossible to purchase legally, short of overpaying on Ebay for a possibly non-functional copy
3) Are versions of those things that were modified from their original version, and the original is no longer legally available

RE: Sound the bugel
By Staples on 5/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: Sound the bugel
By MrBlastman on 5/9/2008 9:50:22 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think many of us think stealing music is justified, but rather many of us see the atrocities the RIAA and other similar organizations commit on a daily basis (or in the past) with various artists and the outright draconian measures they slam down upon their own customers.

I choose to just ignore the music industry outright. If their revenue stream dries up, they should cease to exist, right?

RE: Sound the bugel
By ShadowZERO on 5/9/08, Rating: 0
RE: Sound the bugel
By xsilver on 5/9/2008 10:38:45 AM , Rating: 1
Besides your dubious abilities to count to 5 :) there are some flaws to your argument.

1) You can shoplift the mona lisa, there is no clear option to buy that.

2&4)By committing copyright infringement, you're not removing the item but diluting its value. The cliche example is that if anybody could clone ferrari's then ferrari would go out of buisness because there would be no one willing to pay 300k for one. Plus having a ferrari would no longer have the prestige attached to it. In a sense ferrari would be worthless. The valid definition of stealing is taking something that doesnt belong to you, not the physical removal of property.

4v2.0) Its all well and good that you're willing to pay for something AFTER trying it out, but someone with lower morals wont and companies cant take that chance. Thats simply not the way business works. I'll borrow this car and see if I like it, I'll buy it if I do. I'll borrow this hamburger and test if it tastes good. etc.etc.

RE: Sound the bugel
By sacgary on 5/9/2008 11:21:34 AM , Rating: 2
To be more precise, in criminal law, theft (also known as stealing) is the illegal taking of another person's property without that person's freely-given consent. Physical removal aside, copyright infringement is stealing.

Xsilver as for your comment about paying for something after trying it out, most businesses DO offer this option. Show me a dealership that does not allow test drives and I'll show you one that doesn't sell many cars. As for the hamburger comparison, while you are usually not able to try it first to see if it tastes good, most places will refund your money if you don't like the burger.

Now applying both of these to the RIAA, MPAA or recording artists in general, sure there are some places you can listen to a CD before you decide to buy it, but not everywhere and every music lover may not have access to such a place. Having listened to the CD without paying for it according to the RIAA this is also stealing. {See their successful suit against Kazaa users that had copies of CD's they had purchased and burned on their computer but didn't place in the Kazaa share folder and RIAA won the suit.}

If I buy a CD and I don't like it I cannnot get my money back unless I want to sell it as "Used" for a loss. Or if I buy the same CD and only like one or two songs I can't just pay for the ones I like.

I understand here are sites such as iTunes where I can pay per song, but there are a LOT of people who don't have computers or otherwise have access to the internet.

I agree the record companies are shooting themselves in the foot by not directly marketing per song to the internet fans and the days of buying CD's are on the way out.

I believe the popularity of internet downloads of music is what forced Tower Records out of business. They were no longer making enough money at the marginal profit rates allowed by the RIAA, MPAA and the artists to stay afloat because people were just not going to the stores any more.

The RIAA has completely gone overboard and needs to be reigned in but until the government and the courts stop supporting them they are free to rape us any way they want.

RE: Sound the bugel
By xsilver on 5/9/2008 11:45:42 AM , Rating: 2
yes you can test drive a car but the OP's intention was not the same.

The same intention would be to sign the title of full ownership to me before I decide if I want it.

lol - I was joking with the hamburger comparison, I dont know where you're from but if you eat the whole hamburger I'd think there's no refunds. (I've had a bite of a hamburger when I realized it wasnt what I ordered so I got the right one, but a refund on a $3 burger? thats new to me)

RE: Sound the bugel
By JustTom on 5/9/2008 11:59:59 AM , Rating: 2
{See their successful suit against Kazaa users that had copies of CD's they had purchased and burned on their computer but didn't place in the Kazaa share folder and RIAA won the suit.}

Can you cite this, because I never heard of it and googling gets me nothing. I am aware of quite a few suits where the user made his or her music available to download but none where the music in question was out of the reach of other Kazaa users.

Frankly, if this is true then the trail judge should be impeached.

RE: Sound the bugel
By michal1980 on 5/9/2008 10:42:08 AM , Rating: 3
it is tefth, alot of Dailytech users are twisted, there logic centers are broken.

Just because you dont take a physical copy, does not mean you haven't stolen.

software/movies/music all have costs tied with them, and they also have some sort of value. That vaule is assigned by the rights holders.

The cosumter has many legal choices: buy a cd, buy the itunes version, listen on the radio...

or just not buy the music.

Instead, people have rationlized that, 'i'm not taking a piece of plastic', and this music 'sucks' so why should I pay for it?

if it sucks... why bother stealing it? And when you buy that cd, what are you really payin for? the plastic or the music on it? the plastic is just a method for delivering the music to you, the cost is still for the music.

So then you'll argue... but the arist only gets like 10 cents on a 20 dollar cd...

how much money is the artist getting when you download the cd for nothing? oh thats right, a big fat ZERO.

RE: Sound the bugel
By Ensoph42 on 5/9/2008 11:29:08 AM , Rating: 2
Now, by cutting out the middle man, the RIAA, who has been stealing from artist for years, we're stealing from the artists directly. ;)

Let me tell you how omelettes are made...

RE: Sound the bugel
By Goatjoe on 5/9/2008 11:34:42 PM , Rating: 2
Now I am nervous... I have this book at home, and I didn't pay for it.. My local Library paid for it, and put it up on a shelf for everyone to share for free!!! So, I saw it, grabbed it, swiped my card - and now, its mine! All mine!! (For the next two weeks!) - Point is, Is how that not illegal, since I am enjoying the Author's hard work for nothing!!! What does he get out of the deal??? I mean, really... I could have bought the book, but - hey - it was FREE!!! (As long as I get it back in time, In case if I dont - its $0.25 per day...)

RE: Sound the bugel
By porkpie on 5/9/2008 10:44:13 AM , Rating: 2
Are you kidding yourself? No one uses a torrent site for only downloading free software. If you say you do, you are lying. F TorrentSpy. I'm glad they got this penalty, Thief enablers.
shame on you for speaking the truth. Don't you know pirated software, music, and movies is a god-given right?

RE: Sound the bugel
By mindless1 on 5/10/2008 1:30:18 AM , Rating: 2
Step back and consider a scenario. Suppose you want a free, as-in non copyrighted work. Suppose you do what many would do, Google search for this. What do you get? Probably 100 thousand hits where people are linking to somewhere else. Where are they linking?

Often it's to a tracker from one of these "torrent sites". What would have made your search faster? Instead of reading through some Google search hits, simply going to a torrent site because you know they facilitate P2P for both the legitimate uses as well as the illegitimate.

They don't twist your arm trying to make you download anything you don't want to. It is a tool and like many can be used for both legal and illegal purposes.

Let's consider the handgun example. Does anyone typically use a handgun for hunting? Unlikely. Handguns are used to shoot people which is generally illegal. Does that make everyone who manufactures, sells, owns one already guilty of crime (if all other laws were followed)?

Are car manufacturers "drunken driver enablers"? Yes, but you don't see people going around fuming about it because they see what you conveniently ignore - the issue of personal responsiblity for one's actions. If there's anything we hold dear it is freedom of choice, not just to have it but to reserve the ability to have choice in the future, choice to not have random attacks on activities that aren't illegal just because a few, even many might do illegal things.

You're glad they have been penalized, but is this fair? Justice always needs to strive for fairness. were their crimes really worse than some college kid who shares copyrighted files and then defaults to paying a couple thousand dollars to the RIAA? If money is the penalty, it seems there is a disparity in the amount.

RE: Sound the bugel
By eye smite on 5/9/2008 10:32:32 AM , Rating: 2
I'm just glad to see they're appealing this decision. Hopefully another judge will reduce or dismiss that fine completely.

RE: Sound the bugel
By AntiM on 5/9/2008 11:39:16 AM , Rating: 5
We can discuss the legality or morality of downloading IP without paying for it for eternity and never come to a consensus. What we SHOULD be discussing here is the fact that a site was found guilty of infringing upon IP without ever actually providing one single byte of IP. Doesn't that concern anyone? Don't you people see the implications of this? Did the site aid in infringement? I suppose so. Did they actually infringe upon anyone's IP? .. no. The thing that scares me is the power and influence the big media companies have.

RE: Sound the bugel
By cousine on 5/9/2008 1:36:53 PM , Rating: 2
I'll shed no tears for TorrentSpy or any site that promotes theft. Why is it that people who DL music,books and film without paying for them don't also go into their local Wal-Mart or Best Buy and take those same items without paying for them? Those same folks , would they feel comfortable going into someone's home and taking anything that they could get their hands on simply because they wanted them? I don't think so. Could it be that they are afraid of the consequences of such actions? You bet. According to many people who have posted comments on this subject it seems they think that everyone behaves the way they do. Well not everyone does. Making payment in exchange for goods and services is not an unreasonable thing.

RE: Sound the bugel
By just4U on 5/9/2008 2:06:15 PM , Rating: 2
The bottom line is our society has outpaced certain industries who are trying desperately to cling to the past ways of doing business. In their efforts to do so they have pretty much screwed most of us over. If your not satisfied with the goods and services that are being presented then either you stop buying it, or they change. Unfortunately.. there is no legal recourse on much of what you have already purchased (in regards to movies,cds,software ect)as certain policies can be seen as draconian at best.

I firmly believe that if you look at the wording of most copyright laws you will find that the vast majority of us are guilty of breaking them and according to these companies need to be held accountable. When a entire culture can suddenly be viewed as criminals then you know something is very wrong and needs to be addressed.

Is this even legal?
By AnnihilatorX on 5/9/2008 9:01:56 AM , Rating: 5
MPAA investigators paid $15,000 to hacker Robert Anderson, a former associate and advertising partner of the site, in exchange for a large cache of TorrentSpy’s e-mail and internal data.

I am no expert but is that even legal?

RE: Is this even legal?
By drq on 5/9/2008 9:57:38 AM , Rating: 2
Naturally. Anything RI/MPAA does is legal, everybody else is illegal.

Seriously now, Tspy should sue him for those $110 million :D

RE: Is this even legal?
By Spivonious on 5/9/2008 10:59:20 AM , Rating: 2
Pretty sure hacking is illegal. Also, any evidence gathered from that action would be inadmissible in court.

RE: Is this even legal?
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2008 12:07:08 PM , Rating: 5
I am no expert but is that even legal?

Actually a recent DT article said a judge just ruled the RIAA can't violate their own copyrights. Like paying people to steal their own copyrighted music and stuff. Which is obviously, aside from hacking, how they obtained most of their " evidence " for this case.

This whole thing should have been thrown out of court. Its absurd. Paying someone to steal confidential client data ? How in the hell can you do that and present it in a court of law as legal evidence ?

RE: Is this even legal?
By borismkv on 5/9/2008 5:49:44 PM , Rating: 2
Line the judge's pockets with cash.

This is
By Gold E Lox on 5/9/2008 11:49:39 AM , Rating: 3
not right.
Charging the site $110,000,000 for INDEXING torrents is not justice, its TERRORISM. First of all, torrent files contain NO copyrighted data, second even if they did, TorrentSpy doesnt host the torrents, it INDEXES them. This is an outright disgrace.

RE: This is
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2008 12:02:54 PM , Rating: 2
I agree. The fine for the " crime " seems to be totally excessive.

RE: This is
By JustTom on 5/9/2008 12:05:16 PM , Rating: 1
It was a site whose primary reason, notice I did not say sole reason, of existence was to facilitate an illegal activity. Whether you think that activity should be illegal or not is up to you but there is ample precedent to punish organizations that facilitate illegal activities.

RE: This is
By Reclaimer77 on 5/9/2008 12:19:25 PM , Rating: 2
It was a site whose primary reason, notice I did not say sole reason, of existence was to facilitate an illegal activity. Whether you think that activity should be illegal or not is up to you but there is ample precedent to punish organizations that facilitate illegal activities.

I don't think you understand. This isn't about this particular website. This is a platform to indict the entire Torrent technology of being illegal. Since the only way they could prove this site broke laws was to pay a hacker. Which, last time I checked, was illegal.

RE: This is
By JustTom on 5/9/2008 1:51:38 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe it is the people who use a really wonderful technology, torrents, to break the law that is indicting the platform.

Torrentspy lost this case not because of the elledegly stolen user logs but because they failed to produce required documents.

RE: This is
By borismkv on 5/9/2008 5:55:22 PM , Rating: 2
You mean IP address information, search requests, and linking information for the however many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of requests per day that went through torrentspy's servers? Logging and saving all of that information to disk would become physically impossible within a week or so, not to mention the strain it would cause on the site's servers, which would effectively destroy the capabilities of their service.

RE: This is
By Mike Acker on 5/9/2008 6:02:40 PM , Rating: 2
Charging the site $110,000,000 for INDEXING torrents is not justice, its TERRORISM.

uuuuuh assisting a party in breaking the law will generally involve you as an accessory

good thing to keep in mind

By JonnyDough on 5/10/2008 12:41:21 AM , Rating: 2
"TorrentSpy attorney Ira Rothken argued that TorrentSpy was no more liable for copyright infringement than any other search engine, as the site merely indexed torrent files and not the infringed data itself."

Hey, I'm 11 and it's ok for me to have sex since my 23 year old sister does! It's ok for me to kill and try to get away with it, someone else did! WRONG!

RE: JonnyDough
By adiposity on 5/10/2008 12:46:31 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, I'm 11 and it's ok for me to have sex since my 23 year old sister does!

Wow, talk about a bad analogy. If you had sex there would be ZERO legal repercussions for you.

It's ok for me to kill and try to get away with it, someone else did!

Uh, now a search engine is similar to murder? Nice. You do realize they are comparing themselves to google here, right? If you can search for torrents on google (which you can) then why can't torrentspy help people search for torrents? They don't even store torrents!

Although, this second analogy isn't bad. Just convert "someone else" to "the government" and you'll see the exact problem. Google doesn't get in trouble because it's huge. If the government erroneously kills someone, it gets away with it because it's too big and powerful. Torrentspy is a small fry, they will go down, google will stay up. Even though I can use google to find torrent files more effectively than I could ever use torrentspy. Oh well.


RE: JonnyDough
By JonnyDough on 5/10/2008 5:16:12 PM , Rating: 2
Dear Dan,

Methinks you're a bit over-analytical. That wasn't to be looked into so deeply. I was simply stating that when trying to argue their case they can't point fingers at someone else and say "well they do it!" You get pulled over by a cop and try to tell him that someone else was speeding, do you think he won't give you a ticket? There, is that a better analogy?

You can't justify your actions by the wrong doings of another. Each is accountable unto themselves.

RE: JonnyDough
By adiposity on 5/10/2008 7:42:37 PM , Rating: 2
You chose two bizarre examples, one equating being a search engine with underage sex, and one with murder. It seemed to me those examples might not have been the best comparison.

The ticket is a better analogy, yes. Especially since speeding is extremely common. However, it still is a poor comparison, I think. The problem isn't that torrentspy is arguing "others do illegal things therefore we can." They are arguing "being a search engine is legal, and that's all we are." They don't even need to point at other search engines for it to be obvious that search engines themselves are generally accepted as legal entities on the internet. But they can say, "if what we are doing is illegal than ALL search engines are illegal." If that is the implication then it means the death of the internet as we know it. And that is the point.

Now as to the truth of their argument, I can't say. I haven't used their site. But if they are only providing a way to find OTHER sites with torrents, then they are just doing what Yahoo, Google and Microsoft are doing, but with a sharper focus. You must admit it's significant if search engine can be considered illegal simply because the results you find on it may lead you to find illegal material.

It certainly is a far cry from "Well sir, there's a law against speeding, and you were speeding." If search engines are legal and they are a search engine, then how can they be legally sued? That is the question.


By bond007taz on 5/9/2008 11:01:43 AM , Rating: 2
whatever IQ points I had before I read this post and comments I have lost...

RE: wow...
By MrBlastman on 5/9/2008 11:03:05 AM , Rating: 2
If that is the case, then you won't even notice them missing. :)

Horses may not be Stolen
By Tiger DaDa on 5/9/2008 12:53:11 PM , Rating: 2
In early England people were not hanged for stealing horses, they were hanged because HORSES MAY NOT BE STOLEN.

RE: Horses may not be Stolen
By Swamp on 5/9/2008 5:55:03 PM , Rating: 2
Pirating will decrease if the companies lower their prices for the products they are trying to sell. Yeah they need to make money to. But the cost of buyn a OS or other software is crazy. Dl'ing music on torrents is a joke. Movies and software/games are what torrents are used for.

Well here's My 2 cents
By switch196a on 5/11/2008 8:55:37 AM , Rating: 2
I apologize ahead of time for my bad grammar.

I have owned tons of copies of both starcraft and diablo 2 over the years. I have all the legal media, all the legal keys, and several non working copies from all kinds of abuse. I have had to RE-BUY several copies of the media alone to stay legal in my shop. Why should i continue buying the legal media over and over when i already owned several copies (i own 17 copies of starcraft now and almost all of the media no longer works).

Now let me, as a consumer and a legal business, break this down.

Each copy of the battlechest of starcraft costs me 40$ (or used to)

I need 10 legal copies because i have 10 computers in my shop

that's 400$ just in one game (i have over 321 titles we offer for lan parties and general gaming)

A disk goes bad for whatever reason and i have to re-buy the media.

Another 40$ spent for cdkey, media, and a stupid looking box i just throw in the storage room.

Now i want to know how this is fair to me. I have purchased enough legal copies to run on these machines almost twice over because i had to keep my business legal. Now times this by 321 and watch how mad i get every time a disk just quits installing or playing. I look to blizzard for help and i might as well shoot myself in the foot. You people want to know who helped.


Thanks to a few no-cd cracks or workarounds my workstations no longer need disks for most of the games... And i no longer care if it's legal anymore because if i have a CD-KEY, and all the LEGAL MEDIA, blizzard and anyone else concerned can kiss my rear.

Now a lot of people i'm sure are wondering why this even matters.

well for one without a torrent site the evil cracked games (which i have legal copies of) would not exist and i would have to let customers use the original disks again. The manufacturers offer NO SOLUTION to this unless they offer their game on steam (which i cannot use in my store). SO WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO!!!! Just keep bending over every time someone steals a cd from me, or steals a dvd, or breaks it, or it just wears out!!! It's ridiculous and greedy. I was not a SOFTWARE PIRATE until i had to find a way to save my business some money, and i wasn't even aware it was illegal till after i did it and a cop friend of mine pointed it out. Might i add even he thinks it's a little ridiculous. I understand these people want to protect their intellectual properties, but it's not going to happen if they keep screwing around with our money!! They are just going to keep driving people into the hands of their enemy!!

RE: Well here's My 2 cents
By Icelight on 5/12/2008 12:04:11 PM , Rating: 2
...Many game companies (include Blizzard) will send you replacement CDs at a marginal cost.

By Joz on 5/9/2008 9:00:55 AM , Rating: 2

This is so utterly stupid it makes the lions at the frat house look cool.

*they have been painted so many colors so many times no one knows what they are anymore. (gold atm)

By astonmartin on 5/9/2008 10:04:24 AM , Rating: 2
Well i would like to adress two issues by quoting an CNET article/interview with TorrentSpy attorney Ira Rothken:

1 " the case has no precedent-setting value because TorrentSpy never got its day in court. This may come as good news to IsoHunt, one of TorrentSpy's former competitors, which has also been sued by the MPAA for allegedly violating copyright. "

2 "According to Rothken, TorrentSpy filed bankruptcy in England last week and is without the ability to pay even a fraction of the $100 million, rendering the judgment's dollar amount meaningless."

In my opinion this is basically a public relations stunt from the MPAA which achieved its goal as the news is on almost every internet/multimedia site.

We're Techies Right?
By bpurkapi on 5/9/2008 12:04:34 PM , Rating: 2
Shouldn't there be more comments like: if its a rip is it really stealing since its not the same as the retail copy? Or: If its divx is it stealing since its been reprocessed? In the digital era we are not talking about 1:1 copies most things you download illegally are different from the retail edition. Songs bit rates are lower then a cd, or movies have been altered to fit 700mb. Are these technically the same as the original album or dvd of much higher quality? And if so, how can they be prosecuted as a full infringement if they are half the actual quality?

what a sham
By plinkplonk on 5/10/2008 6:57:32 AM , Rating: 2
if they paid a hacker $15000 to get hold of that information for use in court why are they not on trial for the crimes they're committing, is America the hypocrisy capital of the world or something?

By Suomynona on 5/10/2008 9:40:14 AM , Rating: 2
boohoo. titty titty bang bang

By shortbusrider41 on 5/10/2008 1:01:45 PM , Rating: 2
"I think, on this sad day in history, I shall burn an effigy of Dan Glickman.
*sheds a tear for TorrentSpy"

burn me a copy...

Interesting topic
By zergworld on 5/10/2008 2:34:14 PM , Rating: 2
What is the value, cost, and proper remuneration for IP?

Does the value of IP translate to the cost of producing it, distributing it, using it?

If we regard IP as a service rather than a product, it can be bartered, but that service does not have an inherent per-item cost of manufacture. There is usually a one-time cost of development - does that set the value?

While it does seem fair for IP to be be marketed for profit, should it be artificially protected? What is the actual loss from the unauthorized sharing of IP? It's dubious at best.

I would prefer that IP be like google, where information is free, but that IP owners benefit via sale of associated hard products/services, such as music players, software sales, ads, etc.

Per-copy per-use charging is archaic. If there were a tax or surcharge for every time I recited a passage from a best-selling book or if I had to make payment for using my basketball and greater payment proportional to the number of people in the game, that would be an outrage. Yet, that's effectively the expectation with movies, music, and software.

There's the cost of the production, and then there's the cost of use.

While I don't see why IP owners should be able to enforce gross viral-like profits for sharing information or entertainment, they should be able to expect some just remuneration. If *everyone* copied rather than paid, the IP author is being treated unfairly.

However, capitalism isn't about fairness; it's about profit and more profit. I think the only way to balance just profit (not too little, not too much) with just use is some kind of regulation.

I would suggest some kind of amortization.

Perhaps an author sets the value of an article of IP, which, if met, the author considers acceptable remuneration. IP gets sold at full price until that margin is reached. After which, another nominal price is set for the continued distribution channels, but previous ownership is freed from copyright restriction.

Early adopters aren't price-gauged, and late-adopters get to benefit. Further, IP owners make a just profit.

Sharing for the sake of sharing seems OK to me. Selling someone else's IP without proper remuneration is NOT OK.

When is something valid IP?
By zergworld on 5/10/2008 3:33:35 PM , Rating: 2
If I have a conversation with a friend, that material isn't protected as copyrighted IP, correct?

If I record that conversation, it is.

If I write to my blog, that's my IP, but if I blog at someone else's site, it's not my IP.

If I write an article and sell it to an online journal, that's the journal's IP, but I get a writer's fee.

Now, if I write a book, I might stand to make a small fortune.

It seems that information, ideas, etc, get IP protected status when it exists in a commercial context, when it is bartered and sold, which means its saleable value depends on the strength of the distribution medium, not the effort put into the original work.

If I sit at a coffee shop and debate at length, presenting strong, original ideas, I don't get anything for that, but if I act to commercialize it, those very same thoughts and words become copy-protected. Odd.

This doesn't seem quite right. It would seem that the original ideas and words are not the same product as the commercialized version. That new version is usually wrapped in a fashionable container and then advertised. The production of the fancy media and the means of distribution represent cost, profit, and ultimately, jobs for people. So far so good.

But lets not conflate the intrinsic rights and value of the original IP with the new entity that just repackages that original work for sale.

IP by itself doesn't have intrinsic value, but marketed IP gets protected just like any other form of commercial entity.

It is this new product that distribution channels should be able to protect, since that is their product, their effort, their cost. Unfortunately for them, that is not the same as the original work, and if the original work can be obtained by other means, at a lower cost, so be it.

A distributor's appeal to IP protection is logically erroneous. It's a smokescreen designed to protect its business model.

My mother once remarked that articles she writes for a medical journal are distributed for free online (yet she does get paid a fee for the submission as printed in hardcopy). She considered this unfair since the same information read by people online get that information for free, whereas money changes hands in the context of the printed magazine.

This clearly reflects differences in cost, profit, and payment due for the packaged product and that for the freely distributed version, showing that the information embodied in the original work has an original cost and payment associated but no intrinsic payment due merely on the basis of readership / usage.

Of course, the site could have had a different business model and charge users, but it cannot force users to use their site, and if that information is accessible through other channels, that should be allowed.

If a site purchases information for the exclusive right to sell it, so be it, but they should not have the exclusive right to distribute it. Information should be essentially free, whereas products, services, and packaging around that information that have real cost associated with them, should obviously be recoverable.

"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs

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