Los Angeles – A federal judge in Los Angeles has ruled in favor of Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) member studios in their copyright infringement suits against BitTorrent index TorrentSpy.com, taking the extraordinary step of terminating the case after finding that TorrentSpy had intentionally destroyed evidence. The case will now proceed directly to the phase where damages are considered, although CNET News.com reports that TorrentSpy will appeal the decision.
U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper said in her ruling that, "although termination of a case is a harsh sanction appropriate only in extraordinary circumstance, the circumstances of this case are sufficiently extraordinary to merit such a sanction."
The court found that TorrentSpy members destroyed evidence including forum postings with references to copyright infringement, site directories referencing copyrighted works, and user IP addresses.
Six MPAA studios sued TorrentSpy in early 2006, in a case that eventually saw TorrentSpy file a countersuit against the MPAA, alleging the trade group hired a hacker to steal corporate information from the company.
TorrentSpy blocked access to U.S. users during the course of the case, after the judge ordered the company to turn over information on its users stored on its servers’ RAM memory.
The MPAA called the ruling a "significant victory."
"The court clearly recognized that defendants engaged in evidence destruction because they knew that such evidence would prove damaging to them," said John Malcolm, MPAA EVP and director or worldwide anti-piracy operations.
"The sole purpose of TorrentSpy and sites like it is to facilitate and promote the unlawful dissemination of copyrighted content."
http://snipurl.com/1vhxk (PDF: MPAA announcement)
http://snipurl.com/1vhyn (DMW previous coverage)