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MPAA Being Sued For Allegedly Hacking Torrentspy 448

Posted by Zonk
from the shoe-is-on-the-other-camel's-foot dept.
goldaryn writes "Valence Media, the parent company of Torrentspy.com, one of the web's largest torrent search engines, has filed a lawsuit against the MPAA for allegedly hiring a hacker to steal e-mail correspondence and trade secrets. From the suit: 'The Motion Picture Association of America willfully and intentionally obtained without authority, conspired to obtain without authority, purchased, procured, used and disclosed private information that it knew was unlawfully obtained through unauthorized access to Plaintiffs' computer servers and private email accounts, in violation of United States and California privacy and computer security laws.'"
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MPAA Being Sued For Allegedly Hacking Torrentspy

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  • But (Score:5, Funny)

    by Alex P Keaton in da (882660) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:19PM (#15403033) Homepage
    But wait- How can it be wrong if the MPAA does it? laws only apply to us mortals...
    • Re:But (Score:5, Funny)

      by ericdano (113424) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:29PM (#15403115) Homepage
      Seriously. The End justifies the means. We have to keep all those great artists employed so we can get great things like a remake of Miami Vice, the Dukes of Hazzard, and other such crap....
      • Re:But (Score:5, Insightful)

        by east coast (590680) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:42PM (#15403242)
        We have to keep all those great artists employed so we can get great things like a remake of Miami Vice, the Dukes of Hazzard, and other such crap....

        Why scoff? Not to justify the existance of the MPAA but if people think this stuff is crap why are people being caught downloading it?

        While the MPAA should be facing more serious legal action than a simple lawsuit the cries of "artists who are protected/represented by the **AA are just crap and their product is crap" are laughable when you consider that the **AA wouldn't have a leg to stand on if people actually felt this way. If people are serious about a boycott they need to go full tilt, if they turn to piracy the **AA is going to get paid either way.

        I agree that these movies, for the most part, are crap. But they're crap at any price, you won't be finding this trash on my HD or in my home media collection. I simply have no interest. Pirating only reinforces the concept that stuff like "Gigli" has a viable market that is being robbed by P2P and BT services.
        • by EzInKy (115248)

          Why scoff? Not to justify the existance of the MPAA but if people think this stuff is crap why are people being caught downloading it?


          Because the truth is there are people who want this crap, just not at the price and/or with the conditions that the MPAA imposes.
        • Re:But (Score:5, Insightful)

          by HiThere (15173) * <charleshixsn@earthlink . n et> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:17PM (#15403576)
          Because they're different groups of people?

          I haven't bought a CD in years ... except to burn software onto. I have a collection from before I started my boycott, and I occasionally listen to something that I used to like. It's ok. Not good.

          A large part of being a part of the market for music CDs is being in the *habit* of listening to new ones. If you lose the habit, you stop wanting new CDs. So the RIAA is in a really tough position. If they implement effective controls on copying, they cut their audience, and if they don't their audience cuts them out.

          The MPAA is a slightly different animal, but not much. I no longer go to see movies, and I don't miss them. My wife subscribes to NetFlix, and I don't even bother to watch them. Even though they're already paid for. It's not time pressure, either. I just lost the habit. I used to watch lots of TV, and now I don't.

          Is it because they are purveying crap? Possibly. But they always were, you know. If I look at the old movies I liked, or listen to the old music, well, Sturgeon's law...only squared. There is actually some good stuff there, but slightly less than 1%. If you want "very good" it becomes much less than 1%. It's mostly a matter of habit.

          Perhaps the original StarWars was as good as I remember. The second time I saw it, it still seemed pretty good, even though it was years later, the screen was an ordinary screen, and the print was pretty scratchy. The sequels? I saw the first one. It was ok, but nothing special. I've heard about several of the others...apparently there are several unexpected plot twists. It takes more than plot twists to make a movie worth seeing. In fact, plot twists aren't even necessary. The basic plot can be totally predictable and the movie can still be great (think "West Side Story" or "Camelot").

          The thing is, you can set out to make a great movie, but you can't reliably get there. You can set out to make a splashy special effects movie, and you can reliably achieve it. You've got to be willing to make a bunch of schlock to make an occasional masterpiece. Some Directors are. Occasionally a producer is. A business office is never willing to do that.

          If the MPAA rules, there will never be any more great movies. Don't criticize them because they produce crap, criticize them for fouling the well.

          That said, lots of people like schlock. It can be watched mindlessly and without significant emotional involvement. "I Love Lucy" was one of the most successful radio shows ever produced, and almost all of it is schlock. There were occasional gems, but mainly it was schlock.

          It would be nice if this suit were to bankrupt the MPAA. I don't expect it. But if every participant in both the MPAA and the RIAA caught a disgusting disease and dies slowly of the period of three years...I wouldn't weep one tear. Though I would feel a bit sorry for the janitors.
        • Re:But (Score:4, Funny)

          by Digital Vomit (891734) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:31PM (#15403689) Homepage Journal
          Why scoff? Not to justify the existance of the MPAA but if people think this stuff is crap why are people being caught downloading it?

          People like to take the time to look at car accidents, but that doesn't mean car accidents are a good thing.

          ...unless, I suppose, the vehicles involved where ones containing chaufferred MPAA executives. But, I digress...

        • Re:But (Score:3, Interesting)

          by size1one (630807)
          People download the movies even if they are crap because it costs them almost nothing. The cost of bandwidth is negligible because its used for other things as well. The majority of these people would probably not pay any amount to see these movies because as you said, its trash and has very little value. The only thing reinforcing the concept that C movies are viable is the idea that every download is a lost sale.

          Piracy is just a scapegoat for an industry that churns out horrible products. I'd love t

          • Re:But (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Skreems (598317)
            Movies just don't have the replay value that music has. Even movies I really like, I only watch once every couple of years. So what's the point in owning it? By the time I've seen it twice, there's a new format out. By the time I've seen it four or five times and actually broken even on rental costs, my old format may not even play anymore. If they would sell new DVDs for $5 or so, they could snatch up all the market that goes rental... who wouldn't want to own rather than rent, for the same price? But inst
      • so we can get great things like a remake of Miami Vice, the Dukes of Hazzard

        I completely agree.
    • Re:But (Score:3, Interesting)

      by IAmTheDave (746256)
      laws only apply to us mortals...

      While true, the conviction of el Enron honchos gives me a bit more hope. So it appears that execs can be held accountable for financial misappropriation... what about sending them to jail for hacking the same way the Justice Department likes to sentence other hackers??

      • Re:But (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Traiklin (901982)
        what about sending them to jail for hacking the same way the Justice Department likes to sentence other hackers??

        MPAA: What? you want to send us to jail? *Pulls out checkbook* Here's $30 mill.
        JD: Oh wait, YOU didn't do the hacking, that guy you hired did, we should be going after him. Sorry for wasting your time.

        That's how they won't go to jail.
        • MPAA: What? you want to send us to jail? *Pulls out checkbook* Here's $30 mill.
          JD: Oh wait, YOU didn't do the hacking, that guy you hired did, we should be going after him. Sorry for wasting your time.

          I'm afraid what you have described here is bribery and the JD has a rather dim view on that. What really happens is this:

          MPAA (to JD): What? you want to send us to jail?
          [Motions to passing Senator and pulls out checkbook]
          MPAA (to Senator): Here's $30M for your campaigns! BTW, we're having a bit of a problem

    • Re:But (Score:3, Funny)

      by stlhawkeye (868951)
      $string = qq|But wait- How can it be wrong if the MPAA does it? laws only apply to us mortals...|;
      $string =~ s/MPAA/United States congress/;
      print $string;
    • It's sad really (Score:5, Insightful)

      by porkThreeWays (895269) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:51PM (#15403339)
      It's quite sad that people get to hide under the laws that protect individuals in that corporation. They basically do horrible illegal things, and the answer to everything is a small fine. A non-human entity doesn't make these illegal decisions. _People_ do. I understand why the government seperates a corporation from individuals, but when people make knowingly illegal decisions, they shouldn't be able to hide under that umbrella.
  • I would have preferred the headline "DMCA Bites MPAA in A$$" but I suppose the current one will do.

    Now, it's only a matter of time before we see the "MPAA Sues MPAA" headline. I'm certain there's money floating all over the place inside the MPAA and those law-talking guys are going to get to thinking that they better sue first for the rights to that money. You don't know the phrase "every man for himself" until you've visited an association of lawyers.

    Anyone else praying for the MPAA to implode in on itself like flan left in a cupboard?
    • And all I keep thinking is didn't Senator Hatch try to push through some legislation a couple years ago that would make this perfectly legal for copyright holders? That's about the time he made the statement about if being OK if the RIAA/MPAA "blew up their computers" and wanted to also give them amnesty in case anything bad happened (like they trashed the wrong person's computer).

      IIRC though, he pulled back when he suddenly realized anyone who composed a Haiku in elementary school was a copyright holder -n
      • by number11 (129686) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @03:47PM (#15404399)
        didn't Senator Hatch try to push through some legislation a couple years ago that would make this perfectly legal for copyright holders? That's about the time he made the statement about if being OK if the RIAA/MPAA "blew up their computers"

        Yes. And about a week later, Senator Hatch got caught running pirated software on his government website.

        We didn't hear much from him about blowing up computers after that.
    • There's a reason the collective noun for lawyers is a "prey"
    • Is that Flan in it's powdered state, or are you cooking the stuff and putting it in the cupboard? I'm thinking lawsuit ala McDonald's scalding coffee. Copyright Yocto Yotta 2006.
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:20PM (#15403043) Journal

    If this happens, and MPAA loses, who will be the stewards of our movies? Who will be there to serve the movie-viewing public? Who will ensure we go en masse to the theater over an opening-weekend to recoup movie-making costs before word spreads of what a turkey that movie is (more on that in sec)?

    This looks serious. Please, please, please... leave the MPAA alone! They are our shepherds.

    (I saw an interview a long time ago about one of the MPAA techniques to ensure ROI on their turkeys. Multi-screen theaters were extorted into showing and advertising known turkeys to maximize viewers before word spread about how bad the movie really was. They also had to commit to a minimum number of showings. In return, they were "allowed", given the privelege, of showing true blockblosters. So, if it's a movie's first weekend, and it's getting HUGE publicity (Steve Martin's

    • RV
    ), consider it a red flag, and wait for word of mouth about the movie's worth.)
    • You're right about the movie industry advertising the hell out of crappy movies to ensure a big opening weekend, but RV is actually a Robin Williams movie, not a Steve Martin movie (not that Martin hasn't also had his share of turkeys).

      Another thing they do is refuse to pre-screen movies for critics if they know the movie sucks and will get bad reviews. IIRC, they did this with RV, as well as Doogle.
    • If this happens, and MPAA loses, who will be the stewards of our movies?

      Don't worry - Only we mere mortal humans, who can greivously appreciate the loss of 10% of our lifespan to a metal and cement box, actually "do time" for breaking the law.

      The MPAA will just get a stern talking-to and the equivalent (to the rest of us) of a parking ticket.


      And people wonder how I can feel moral outrage that we allow incorporation to entities which exist solely for the purpose of making a profit. Silly me.
    • Not only that but big chain renters like Blockbuster and retailers like Walmart will base their purchases on opening weekend success - doesn't do well the first weekend? Chances are good you'll never see it at Walmart and only after time at Blockbuster. Tie that in with the fact that Walmart (the largest single retailer of DVDs and CDs in the USA) only stocks the top movie titles (ie: no catalogue (old stuff) sales for studios or record/publishing companies), and you can see why profits are down and why t
    • I saw an interview a long time ago about one of the MPAA techniques to ensure ROI on their turkeys. Multi-screen theaters were extorted into showing and advertising known turkeys to maximize viewers before word spread about how bad the movie really was. They also had to commit to a minimum number of showings. In return, they were "allowed", given the privelege, of showing true blockblosters.

      That's called "block booking," and it's been illegal for over 50 years.

      Schwab

    • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao&hotmail,com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:51PM (#15403879) Homepage
      Multi-screen theaters were extorted into showing and advertising known turkeys to maximize viewers before word spread about how bad the movie really was.
      Reminds me of this...
      "If Coca-Cola accidentally created 100 million cans of faulty Coke, you know for sure the entire 100 million cans would be dropped in the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean, without a second thought and irrespective of what that did to the year's profits. What do we do with a crappy movie? We double its advertising budget and hope for a big opening weekend. What have we done for the audience as they walk out of the cinema? We've alienated them. We've sold audiences a piece of junk; we just took twelve dollars away from a couple and we think we've done ourselves no long-term damage."
      --- David Puttnam, movie producer - GQ magazine, April 1987
  • (Standing and applauding) Good show!
  • Phwew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by iNTERcEPTOR-SdB (673569) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:20PM (#15403052) Journal
    Glad I only download less prosecuted television shows from there. Where do I contribute to money to help sue them?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:21PM (#15403056)
    That's exactly what they're going to say. The MPAA is, after all, practically a subsidiary of our government now. They are going to say that they had no choice but to fight fire with fire!

    And, do you know what? Since people have only a rudimentary understanding of the "dark Internets," everyone will eat their explanation up, and then head to the nearest Wal-Mart to purchase a CD published by a RIAA affiliate.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, Torrentspy.
    • by Lead Butthead (321013) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:38PM (#15403204) Journal
      The MPAA is, after all, practically a subsidiary of our government now.
      Surely you mean it's the other way around.
    • If the MPAA broke the law (Criminal or Civil) in the process of trying to enforce their rights with regards to Copyright, they loose the right to pursue that defendant- if you're guilty of a violation in the matter yourself, you can't go running to the government to help enforce the rights when you're infringed upon.

      Doesn't matter if Torrentspy is "pirating" things. If they obtained things illictly about that fact
      from Torrentspy, the MPAA doesn't really have the right or ability to pursue the case at that
  • celebrity jailtime (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Meeble (633260) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:22PM (#15403059) Journal
    Its like trying to put a celebrity in jail, won't happen. There needs to be a big swing taken first by someone who packs a lot of punch to open a wound big enough for this type of lawsuit to have more teeth. Torrentspy does not have that kind of clout to land one :\
    • Its like trying to put a celebrity in jail, won't happen. There needs to be a big swing taken first by someone who packs a lot of punch to open a wound big enough for this type of lawsuit to have more teeth. Torrentspy does not have that kind of clout to land one.

      All hail... King of the Mixed Metaphor! Hail! Hail! :)

  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:23PM (#15403067) Homepage Journal
    This is a tough one for me. As an anarcho-capitalist, I believe that the MPAA's power comes not just from bribing and lobbying, but directly from the entire implementatin of copyright and patents -- any law that offers the use of force and legalizes a monopoly eventually creates distribution cartels and really powerful political cronies.

    Here we see an eye-for-an-eye. Gandhi said if we followed that rule the whole world would be blind. I think it's appropriate here as in the long run, it isn't consumers who will "win" if this case continues, it is the lawyers and the law itself that wins. As cases are won and lost and precedents are set, we don't see the market of sellers and buyers made easier, instead we see more laws and legal precedents that put more power in the hands of those who can afford the legal costs.

    So what happens if the MPAA loses? Can you or I use the same case tactics to defend our own information? What happens if the MPAA wins? They only get more powerful. In the end, someone else is enhancing their power (through the State), rather than a market that really doesn't need any more powerful players in the game.

    I'd rather see someone sue the LAWS that are bad rather than take advantage of other bad laws to try to fix the system in their favor.
    • Yes, but in this case, I say we go with Buffy's impersonation of Gandhi.
    • I'd rather see someone sue the LAWS that are bad rather than take advantage of other bad laws to try to fix the system in their favor.

      You can't sue laws. Even if you could, they have no money to pay damages. You need to VOTE to change laws.

      This is a tough one for me. As an anarcho-capitalist, I believe...

      Ah well, that explains it.
    • An eye for an eye leads to the law being changed before everyone goes blind. Of course, usually, a lot of people are blinded first, but that just seems to be typical where living beings are involved, except maybe mushrooms and bonobo chimps.
    • You can't sue laws, but you can sue people who break laws in a way that damages you. If they can successfully argue that the law is itself unconstitutional, then the law will go away. Either that or vote in lawmakers who will repeal the law. Both options will cost a lot of money.
    • "Gandhi said if we followed that rule the whole world would be blind."

      If I'm going to get blinded anyway, I'd rather the guy who does it be in the same boat. Otherwise he'll keep tormenting me and I won't be able to do anything. Taking away power from those who misuse it isn't mindless revenge; it's pretty well grounded in logic.
    • Anarchy [wikipedia.org] and capitalism [wikipedia.org] are somewhat at odds with one another, no? Without a governing body of some sort, who determines the legitimacy and value of currency (which capitalism certainly requires to thrive)?
  • by statusbar (314703) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:24PM (#15403070) Homepage Journal
    I thought that the MPAA/RIAA were campaigning for the government to give them special exemption status with regard to the anti-hacking laws in the Patriot Act so that they could hack with impunity, even in the case of causing lost data, on the suspicion of copyright infringement.

    --jeffk++
  • d00d (Score:5, Funny)

    by packetmon (977047) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:24PM (#15403073) Homepage
    Torrentspy's complaint includes claims that the man whom the MPAA allegedly paid $15,000 to steal e-mail correspondence and trade secrets has admitted his role in the plot and is cooperating with the company.

    MPAA: How much to get us information on this evil company
    h4x0r: d00d 3y3 c4n pwn3rfy th3m f0r ch3ep w1f my 0d4y j3etsp34k to0lbar!
  • by HPNpilot (735362) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:25PM (#15403076) Homepage
    Perhaps their army of high-priced lawyers will come up with some great defenses, ways to beat back the various laws.

    Then we can all use them.

    Very clever, let the MPAA pay for attacking these insane anti-citizen's rights laws.
  • by carou (88501) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:26PM (#15403088) Homepage Journal
    No proof is in the article - presumably not wanting to prejudice the court case. The MPAA deny it, of course:

    "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."

    Conceivably both lawsuits will succeed, both parties allege (different) illegal activities. The question is, whose suit will attract the most damages - one stolen spreadsheet or a few million stolen movies?
    • I thought torrentspy was just an indexer. They don't host any of the material do they?
    • " We are confident that our lawsuit against them will be successful because the law is on our side."

      I'm confused. I thought the law was supposed to be on the side of the public?

      Oh well, I suppose when you pay for a law, you should expect it to be on your side.
    • If Torrentspy wins their suit and it's adjudicated that the MPAA unlawfully obtained infromation from within the group, would that also make that information inadmissable in the MPAA's suit? I don't really know anything about the rules of evidence for a civil case.

      Also, torrentspy's claim (that they in no way validate or transfer any illegal material) might actually hold up. Heck, they don't even run the trackers... they just host the .torrent files.
    • Yeah, but look who stole the spreadsheet. It's one thing if you catch a known criminal engaging in the activity they're infamous for. It's quite a different story to catch someone denouncing said activity engaged in the very same proposition they stand against. Back in the Wild West(tm), "them was (gun)fighting words".
    • The MPAA says that Torrentspy [torrentspy.com] is facilitating thievery, but then turn around and say that downloading movies is actually copyright infringement. Well, which is it? At this point, the penalties for actually stealing movies or music are almost nonexistent compared to copyright infringement. Consider that if you steal a CD or DVD from, oh say Tower Records, you get a veritable slap on the wrist (read: a fine and probably never being allowed in that store again), but if you 'infinge on copyrights' you face a
      • Their is a clear difference between theft and copywrite violations. For it to be a copywrite violation there has to be non-trivial distribution.

        For example:
        5-finger discount from BestBuy: Theft
        Watching a DVD you purchased: OK
        Loaning your DVD to a friend: OK
        Viewing a DVD with 5 friends: OK
        Showing a DVD to 50 paying customers: Copywrite Violation
        Burning a copy of a DVD and giving it to a friend: Copywrite Violation
        Burning 100 copies of a DVD and selling
  • Three words come to mind. Burn baby burn!

    Yeah!
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:32PM (#15403149) Homepage Journal
    vigilante n. 1. One who takes or advocates the taking of law enforcement or moral code into one's own hands.

    This is what happens when a corporate consortium declares itself a vigilante in the fight against pirrracy. What makes it worse is there own twisted view of what is morally right and what isn't (suing students into bankruptcy and hacking into people's computers to justify there ends most certainly isn't).

  • Which is a good hint that good people don't.

    Anyway, back on topic. Ever since the RIAA started providing corrupt or malformed songs on P2P networks[1] it was only a matter of time before the MPAA started futzing with things too. However it is surprising that the MPAA would outdo the zealoutry of even the RIAA.

    [1] I don't condemn all file sharing, only the illegal kind.
  • Doubtful (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Khammurabi (962376) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:32PM (#15403153)
    I'm willing to bet that the MPAA can claim ignorance on this one. While I have no doubt that the MPAA execs greenlighted this project, I also don't doubt that the MPAA will scapegoat the executive in charge. I expect a press release to be forthcoming stating that the executive in charge of the project undertook this act on his own accord, without the knowledge or approval of MPAA.

    Unless the hacker has more direct contacts than one or two people inside the MPAA, I'd expect this to be swept under the carpet fairly quickly. I really hope the MPAA gets some bad press because of it, but I'm not going to hold my breath.
  • this is funny. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoctorDyna (828525) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:33PM (#15403162)
    The MPAA is like OJ. Even when they win, they will still be a loser. I still don't understand how they could have such a low understanding of technology that they would attack torrent sites anyway.

    Besides, there is still the old idea that you can't call downloading "theft" because there really is no proven loser. We should all of us contact a lawyer and have legal documents drawn up, and notorized that say something like "In the event that any digitally copyrighted material is found on this hard drive, let this document serve as a legally binding guarantee that said materials would never have been purchased otherwise and therefore no loss of revenue can possibly be proven solely based on the posession and or existance of these materials."

    See, the problem is they have managed to convince too many judges that ALL of the material you or I may have on a hard drive would have absolutely been purchased had we not had the opportunity to download it.

    I call bullshit. Who's with me?

    • I'm with you. I don't like paying for ANYTHING.
      • Re:this is funny. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Cyno (85911)
        Makes sense..

        If enough good people prefer sharing there would really be no reason to pay for anything, I mean, its not like money is really based on anything anymore. And a lot of products are valuable because of their intellectual property, whatever that is..

        Hrmm, I believe in The Abolition of Work [deoxy.org].

        This [youtube.com] is also interesting..
    • > Besides, there is still the old idea that you can't call downloading
      > "theft" because there really is no proven loser.

      Downloading is not theft (it may or may not be copyright infringement) because that is well-established law in the US. Theft implies that someone has been deprived of possession of his property. Making a copy, authorized or not, does not deprive anyone of possession of any property and so is not theft.
    • Re:this is funny. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:02PM (#15403437)
      The MPAA is like OJ. Even when they win, they will still be a loser. I still don't understand how they could have such a low understanding of technology that they would attack torrent sites anyway.

      Torrent sites track torrents and provide a means of exchanging copyrighted materials. It's pretty cut and dry.

      Besides, there is still the old idea that you can't call downloading "theft" because there really is no proven loser.

      Then you can't call GPL violations "theft," but Slashdot does all the time. The loser is the person who owns the material who would normally have been compensated, but will not be because you downloaded without paying. Your downloaded files will be uploaded to other individuals who will also not pay. It's facilitation of copyright violation and withholding of revenues owed.

      We should all of us contact a lawyer and have legal documents drawn up, and notorized that say something like "In the event that any digitally copyrighted material is found on this hard drive, let this document serve as a legally binding guarantee that said materials would never have been purchased otherwise and therefore no loss of revenue can possibly be proven solely based on the posession and or existance of these materials."

      *rolls eyes* Yeah, that'll work.

      It doesn't matter if you wouldn't have purchased something. How does that magically give you the legal right to have it? Do you understand capitalism and economies at all, or are you another dorm room kid with head-in-the-cloud ideals about how the real world works?

      See, the problem is they have managed to convince too many judges that ALL of the material you or I may have on a hard drive would have absolutely been purchased had we not had the opportunity to download it.

      It doesn't matter if you would or wouldn't have purchased the material. You ended up getting the material without paying for it when you had no right to, legally and ethically. You're essentially saying in that statement that you have a ton of stuff you would have never purchased, but you downloaded it anyway, which just bolster's the MPAA's position that the sites you got the material from should be shut down, so that the MPAA members' rights aren't being violated. The judges have to agree, because it's against the law to violate creators' rights and steal their stuff so you don't have to pay them for it. What gives you the right to do that?

      I call bullshit. Who's with me?

      Probably every other freeloader who has created an entire fictional belief system that scapegoats copyright holders so they don't feel guilty for pirating the fuck out of everything. "The MPAA made me do it! The RIAA made me do it!"

      Why don't you ask John Carmack sometime if it's okay that people download Doom 3 without paying him for the years of work he put into it? Carmack's a Slashdot hero around here...would be interesting to see people's reactions to his response.
  • Spy (Score:5, Funny)

    by tgpo (976851) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:36PM (#15403193)
    So in this case it's Spy vs. torrentSpy
  • by Bob Loblaw (545027) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:42PM (#15403246)
    Why are the authorities not involved in raiding the MPAA offices in this case? That seems to be the *first* step when the MPAA are after someone else.
  • by internic (453511) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:46PM (#15403283)

    I'm confused as to why this is a lawsuit brought by a private company and not a criminal investigation conducted by the FBI. IANAL, but I would have assumed that breaking into a company's computer systems to retrieve this information would violate criminal law, and I would have assumed that paying someone to do this would also violate criminal law. What's going on here?

    Is paying someone to break into a computer system not a criminal act? Are the FBI knowingly ignoring a criminal act (perhaps because the MPAA is rich and politically powerfull)? Is Torrentspy just misrepresenting the situation to make it sound worse than it actually is (and, therefore, sound criminal)?

  • by east coast (590680) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @01:48PM (#15403307)
    IANAL! Ok, now that's out of the way...

    Can someone tell me why this is a matter of sueing the MPAA? I would think that if there was solid evidence of the MPAA being caught up in this activity that the cuffs would come out and some suits would be hauled off to the klink.

    That, in and of itself, makes this seem like something that may be hard to attack in a court of law. If you have a legal conviction it would make the civil suit seem solid. A civil suit on it's own seems weak.
    • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @02:10PM (#15403515) Homepage
      > If you have a legal conviction it would make the civil suit seem solid.
      > A civil suit on it's own seems weak.

      You've got it backwards. A criminal conviction requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Winning a civil suit requires preponderance of evidence. OJ Simpson was found not guilty but nevertheless lost a subsequent wrongful death suit.

      Besides, there's no money in filing a criminal complaint.
  • by RobertKozak (613503) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @05:17PM (#15405214) Homepage
    On the face of it, it looks as though what **AA did was only (allegedly) break in and steal some emails while TorrentSpy is (allegedly) facilitating copyright infringement (but not actually infringing themselves).

    But the act of breaking into a computer system breaks CRIMINAL laws while copyright infringement breaks only CIVIL laws. BIG difference.

    Where are the FBI Raids? This country is so turned around now that, if you are big and powerful, you can get away with criminal acts while if you are a small timer you get the book thrown at you for minor offences.

    I am very disappointed!
  • by NeuroManson (214835) on Thursday May 25, 2006 @08:40PM (#15406374) Homepage
    Anyone who pirated Gighli? Anything they can use as an excuse for it tanking?

Nothing is impossible for the man who doesn't have to do it himself. -- A.H. Weiler

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