US Government Orders TorrentSpy To Spy On Torrent Users

Jun 9th, 2007 | By | Category: Digital Video Downloads, General, Strange

TorrentSpy, one of the most popular sites for .torrent sharing, has been ordered by US federal judge Jacqueline Chooljian in the Central District of California that, despite the site’s privacy policy, which states they will never monitor their visitors without consent, they must start creating logs detailing their user’s activities.

This information could then be turned over to the MPAA and other organizations that want to limit sharing of movies and other media files, effectively putting TorrentSpy in the position of spying on their users.

The site owners have been granted a stay of the order in order to make an appeal, which must be filed by June 12, says Ira Rothken, TorrentSpy’s attorney.

“It is likely that TorrentSpy would turn off access to the U.S. before tracking its users,” said Rothken. “If this order were allowed to stand, it would mean that Web sites can be required by discovery judges to track what their users do even if their privacy policy says otherwise.”

This action follows MPAA action in 2006 against several BitTorrent sites, TorrentSpy included. According to the MPAA, Torrentspy helps others commit copyright infringement by directing people to sites which enable them to download copyright material, an offense claims the MPAA, of secondary copyright infringement.

At the time, Rothken said “It [TorrentSpy] cannot be held ‘tertiary’ liable for visitors’ conduct that occurs away from its web search engine”. TorrentSpy claims it did nothing illegal and suggested the MPAA should sue Google.

An attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation referred to the order to demand a defendant log visitor activity and then hand over the information to the plaintiff as “unprecedented.” He continued “In general, a defendant is not required to create new records to hand over in discovery. We shouldn’t let Web site logging policies be set by litigation”

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