TorrentSpy, the now defunct torrent sharing website, has been ordered to pay the equivalent of £56m to the Motion Picture Association of America. The site indexed millions of torrents of music, images, TV, and films but the site was plagued by court action throughout its life. Eventually, in a bid apparently designed to protect its users’ privacy, TorrentSpy closed its doors in March of this year.
Valence Media, the parent company of TorrentSpy, as well as its owners Justin Bunnell and Wes Park have filed for bankruptcy. Understandably, the MPAA sees this as being a major victory in their fight against online copyright laws. They began legal action against TorrentSpy in February 2006 and the site was later ordered to being tracking users and submit its findings to the MPAA. In order to prevent this from happening, American users were blocked from using the site.
Dan Glickman, chairman of the MPAA stated that “the demise of TorrentSpy is a clear victory for the studios.” While the torrent sharing technology itself is perfectly legitimate and speeds up downloads by breaking data into smaller packets, the infringement of copyright laws obviously isn’t legal. Legal action is ongoing for many other Torrent index websites as the MPAA and other organizations attempt to stop the illegal downloading of content online.