Hollywood studios won legal victory against file sharing today, as a judge awarded a $111 million judgment against BitTorrent site TorrentSpy for copyright infringement. But the MPAA, which represented the studios, shouldn’t spend that money yet. Valence Media, which operated TorrentSpy shut the site down in March and is seeking bankruptcy protection in UK courts.
Valence was fined $30,000 for each violation for the approximately 3,700 illicit movie and TV downloads. This is the maximum fine allowed by the Copyright Act.
According to TorrentFreak, TorrentSpy was the most popular BitTorrent site in 2006. But in August of 2007, a federal judge ordered the site to monitor and record all its user activity data. TorrentSpy responded instead by blocking access to U.S. users. The MPAA kept up the legal pressure forcing TorrentSpy to shut itself down.
The Threat Level blog writes that TorrentSpy did not lose this case on merits, rather it defaulted when it failed to provide internal records. TorrentSpy has appealed the default order.