A federal judge in Los Angeles has terminated an ongoing lawsuit against the operators of TorrentSpy.com in favor of all six of the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) member companies.
MPAA had sued TorrentSpy.com in February 2006, alleging the site was promoting copyright infringement, by allowing users to download copyright-protected files from other users.
The court ruling means that TorrentSpy operators
are liable for copyright infringement.
"The court's decision is a significant victory for MPAA member companies and sends a potent message to future defendants that this egregious behavior will not be
tolerated by the judicial system," said John Malcolm, Executive Vice President and Director of Worldwide Anti-Piracy Operations for the MPAA.
"The court clearly recognized that defendants engaged in evidence destruction because they knew that such evidence would prove damaging to them. The sole purpose of TorrentSpy and sites like it is to facilitate and promote the unlawful dissemination of copyrighted content. TorrentSpy is a one-stop shop for copyright infringement and we will continue to aggressively enforce our members' rights to stop such infringement."
In its decision, the court ruled that "although termination of a case is a harsh sanction appropriate only in extraordinary circumstance, the circumstances of this case are sufficiently extraordinary to merit such a sanction." The court found that the evidence was
"not deleted or modified negligently, but intentionally in direct response to the institution of this lawsuit."
The worldwide motion picture industry, including foreign and domestic producers, distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per-view operators lose more than $18 billion annually as a result of movie theft, MPAA said. "More than $7 billion in losses are attributed to illegal Internet distributions, while $11 billion is the result of illegal copying and bootlegging," the organization added.
Torrentspy founder told The Associated Press his company will appeal the ruling.