August 27, 2007 |
Big business is not a big fan of the BitTorrent protocol and its growth. BitTorrent essentially builds upon the P2P architecture but blurs legal lines even more, which has led to bandwidth limitations by ISPs, and legal action (PDF) from the MPAA.
With that said, it should come as no surprise that TorrentSpy, a popular torrent search directory, has now begun to block all searches originating from within the United States.
The service was named in the February 2006 lawsuit by the Motion Picture Association, but it was not until this June when the tension started building. That's when a federal judge ordered the site to begin tracking users as possible evidence in "a copyright infringement lawsuit filed by a handful of movie studios and the MPAA."
In the MPAA report, TorrentSpy was described as "the world’s most-visited site for obtaining infringing content using Torrent software."
After hearing the news, TorrentSpy stated in a court filing that "The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) might just as well have sued Google Inc. for copyright violation rather than pick on [us]."
Ira Rothken, the lawyer for TorrentSpy, mentioned that he was determined to fight for the company but also stated that “the odds favor the copyright owners, copyright law in this country is Draconian and dramatically skewed on the owner’s side”.
Now, US users who try to search using the website are directed to a privacy message. Instead of receiving results when I performed a simple search, I was directed to a page with the following statement:
Sorry, but because you are located in the USA you cannot use the search features of the Torrentspy.com website. Torrentspy's decision to stop accepting US visitors was NOT compelled by any Court but rather an uncertain legal climate in the US regarding user privacy and an apparent tension between US and European Union privacy laws.
I am not quite sure that I believe the line about it not being "compelled by any court." I am pretty certain that the thought of being implicated on infringement charges played a factor in this recent decision.
Ars Technica believes that "this latest development in the TorrentSpy drama throws the logging requirement back in the MPAA's face. If the MPAA wants its logs, it can have them—good luck finding any information that it can actually use!"
I wonder if TorrentSpy will experience any noticeable drop in traffic now? Will this news work for or against TorrentSpy in its case versus the MPAA?