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TorrentSpy.com Sues MPAA
May 25, 2006
Thomas Mennecke
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StreamCast sues eBay, Sharman sues P2Pnet, Creative sues Apple, and the MPAA sues TorrentSpy. In an online world turned upside down, what other bizarre combinations can occur? Reminiscent of the Millennium Falcon taking the offensive against an imperial Star Destroyer, TorrentSpy has filed a lawsuit against the MPAA.

The lawsuit filed by TorrentSpy’s parent company Valence Media along with employees Justin Bunnell, Forrest Parker, Wes Parker, claims the MPAA unlawfully obtained information about the inner workings of TorrentSpy.com. TorrentSpy.com is a BitTorrent search engine the MPAA accuses of facilitating online piracy. The MPAA sued TorrentSpy.com on February 23, 2006, claiming monetary damages due to piracy.

Specifically, the complaint makes the bold accusation that MPAA Vice President and Director, Legal Affairs, Worldwide Anti-Piracy Dean Garfield single handedly approached an ex-associate of the plaintiff’s in June 2005. According to the complaint, the ex-associate was offered $15,000 to obtain critical information the MPAA would need to solidify their case against TorrentSpy.com and its associates.

The complaint further alleges that Dean Garfield, on behalf of the MPAA, regarding the information that he requested, "We don't care how you get it." TorrentSpy’s lawyer also states the MPAA would protect the ex-associate from any liability from obtaining the information.

Additionally, the complaint states the ex-associate took the MPAA up on its offer and managed to seize several important documents. The complaint alleges the ex-associate obtained the following information:

a. A Microsoft Excel spreadsheet containing Torrentspy.com income and expenses from January through June 2005;

b. Private emails of Torrentspy.com/Valence Media principals and employees, including (without limitation) a Valence Media principal's residential utility bill, showing his home address; insertion orders for client advertising orders on the Torrentspy.com website; and other personal, private and confidential information belonging to Plaintiffs;

c. Graphic file pictures, or "screenshots," of Torrentspy.com computer servers, revealing information about Torrentspy.com servers and operations, including (without limitation) Internet Protocol ("IP") addresses, names, file architecture, indexing of torrent files, and other confidential Torrentspy.com business information and trade secrets;

d. A file containing a list of Torrentspy.com servers and confidential information related to such servers;

e. Torrentspy.com client bills, billing information and other Torrentspy.com business information and trade secrets.

The complaint, filed on May 24, 2006, was immediately refuted by the MPAA.

"These claims (by Torrentspy) are false," Kori Bernards, the MPAA's vice president of corporate communications, said in an e-mail to CNET News.com. "Torrentspy is trying to obscure the facts to hide the fact that they are facilitating thievery. We are confident that our lawsuit against them will be successful because the law is on our side."

According to Valence Media’s legal council Ira Rothken, the MPAA’s alleged wrong doing was revealed after the ex-associate had a “change in heart” and told TorrentSpy everything.

The MPAA did not immediately respond to our request for comment at time of publication.


This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: Trackers/Indexers
Legal/Courtroom :: Other Lawsuits

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