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MPAA Countersued For Hacking

The Motion Picture Association of America has been sued by Valence Media, parent company of the TorrentSpy search engine, over its employment of a person to steal private information from them.

MPAA Countersued For Hacking
MPAA Countersued For Hacking

The battle between content creators and file sharing sites took another turn, as a torrent search engine cried foul and fired back at its tormentors, CNet reported.

Attorneys for TorrentSpy said in the suit the MPAA paid $15,000 to an unnamed “informant” who entered their computer systems without authorization to collect information on TorrentSpy for his employer.

The action filed in US District Court for the Central District of California said an intermediary for the MPAA told the informant, “We don’t care how you get it,” and promised him indemnity from liability for his actions.

Those actions included obtaining an Excel spreadsheet listing TorrentSpy expenses for January through June 2005; private emails of company employees and executives; details about TorrentSpy’s servers and networking; and client bills and other trade secrets.

The lawsuit also alleges an agent of the MPAA told the informant private investigators would be employed to “comb through the trash” of TorrentSpy founder Justin Bunnell and other people associated with the company.

This dispute is an offshoot of the MPAA’s battle with sites like TorrentSpy, which indexes torrent files. Those torrent files act as pointers to content stored on other machines. The MPAA sees no difference between providing copyrighted content for download and pointing to where end users can find it.

That led the MPAA to sue TorrentSpy and other torrent search engines in February 2006. MPAA categorized TorrentSpy as “the world’s most-visited site for obtaining infringing content using Torrent software. The site offers over 160,000 content items including 27,182 movies, 21,130 TV shows and over 45,000 music items” at that time.


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David Utter
About David Utter
David Utter is a business and technology writer for SecurityProNews and WebProNews.

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