TorrentSpy fined $111m for copyright infringement

TorrentSpy.com, the BitTorrent peer-2-peer (P2P) site has been hit with an $11m (£55.5m) fine for copyright infringement.

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TorrentSpy.com, the BitTorrent peer-2-peer (P2P) site has been hit with an $11m (£5.5m) fine for copyright infringement.

Judge Florence-Marie Cooper, of the US District Court for the Central District of California in Los Angeles, awarded the judgment to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Cooper entered a default judgement against the operators of TorrentSpy in December, saying they had destroyed evidence related to an MPAA lawsuit against them.

Last May, another judge ordered TorrentSpy to keep server logs, user IP addresses and other information in support of the MPAA's lawsuit against the site. Cooper ruled in December that TorrentSpy had ignored that order.

Valence Media, the company operating TorrentSpy, shut down the site in March. The company, based in the Caribbean, has filed for bankruptcy.

Cooper issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the company from further infringing any of the studios' copyrights. The judgement, of $30,000 (£15,000) per infringement, was for willfull inducement of copyright infringement, contributory infringement and vicarious copyright infringement, the MPAA said.

"This substantial money judgement sends a strong message about the illegality of these sites," Dan Glickman, the MPAA's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "The demise of TorrentSpy is a clear victory for the studios and demonstrates that such pirate sites will not be allowed to continue to operate without facing relentless litigation by copyright holders."

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