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Friday, March 28, 2008
Goodbye TorrentSpy

TorrentSpy, the popular BitTorrent search engine, was forced to permanently shutter the site after losing the latest legal battle with MPAA and other rights holders.

"We have decided on our own, not due to any court order or agreement, to bring the search engine to an end and thus we permanently closed down worldwide on March 24, 2008," said founder Justin Bunnell.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has been legally pursuing Web sites associated with movie piracy, including several sites that serve as search engines for the last three years. MPAA had described as "an one-stop shop for copyright infringement" in the past.

But TorrentSpy's decision to shut down their popular web site came after a federal judge in Los Angeles ruled against in favor of all six of the MPAA member companies last December.

"The legal climate in the USA for copyright, privacy of search requests, and links to torrent files in search results is simply too hostile," TorrentSpy's Justin Bunnell said. "We spent the last two years, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, defending the rights of our users and ourselves. Ultimately the Court demanded actions that in our view were inconsistent with our privacy policy, traditional court rules, and International law; therefore, we now feel compelled to provide the ultimate method of privacy protection for our users - permanent shutdown," he added.

The December's decision forced TorrentSpy to apply a filter against copyright files. When that didn't work it began blocking American IP addresses. But these restrictions resulted in a slide in the popularity of TorrentSpy among file sharers, giving its crown as the most popular BitTorrent tracker to the Pirate Bay.

BitTorrent sites are currently under pressure, facing the reactions of record, software, and film industries. Japanese companies plan to cut off the Internet connection of anyone who illegally downloads files in one of the world's toughest measures against online piracy.

France late last year also outlined similar measures to disconnect Internet users who flagrantly violated copyright laws.

In addition, Swedish courts will soon be able to force local Internet providers to produce information on suspected file-sharers in a move to crackdown on piracy. File-sharing can be traced by tracking the IP addresses of the computers that download or distribute a file.

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