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TorrentSpy accuses MPAA of hiring hacker

Written by Ben Reid @ 25 May 2006 11:53 User comments (55)

TorrentSpy accuses MPAA of hiring hacker The company behind popular Bittorrent search engine TorrentSpy has countersued the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), alleging that it hired a hacker to infiltrate its' e-mail and trade secrets.
The suit alleges that the MPAA paid a man $15,000 to steal information from Valence Media, parent company of Torrentspy, of whom the MPAA has accused of helping copyright violators. Torrentspy claims the man, known only as 'The Informant', has admitted his role in the plot and is cooperating with it. He is also alleged to have provided documents that prove the nature of his involvement with the MPAA, including a written agreement signed by the hacker and an MPAA executive.

"We have very significant proof of wrongdoing and the MPAA's involvement," stated Ira Rothken, Torrentspy's attourney. "We think it's ironic for the MPAA to claim that they are protecting the rights of the movie studios and then go out and pirate other people's property."

Just three months ago, the MPAA filed suit against Torrentspy and other directories such as and for allegedly making it easier for pirates to distribute copyrighted films over the internet.

"These claims (by Torrentspy) are false," told Kori Bernards, the MPAA's vice president of corporate communications, in an interview CNET "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."


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55 user comments

125.5.2006 12:05

Torrentspy is trying to obscure the facts to hide the fact that they are facilitating thievery
No they aren't. I feel if people use the BT sites to subsequently download copyrighted materials, then it is not the liability of the search engine, but the peer. That is like saying that knives facilitate fatal stabbings..

225.5.2006 12:24

What an interesting twist of events, bribery, corporate spying and piracy... It just comes to show how hypocritical the MPAA is and I hope Valence Media wins the suit. @lethal B They are both equally as liable than the other in the eyes of the law, as the proverb goes "who came first, the chicken or the egg". I am starting to wonder more and more, how they catch the peer downloading movies and etc. Does anyone know specifically what procedure they employ to catch the perpetrator?

325.5.2006 12:36

Indeed, they are both liable. However, that comment by Kori Bernards was extremely inaccurate in theory. If it is proven that they were spying, then I see no reason why Torrentspy shouldn't win its' case. However, you get the feeling that whether this is true or not, the MPAA will come out on top. *sighs*

425.5.2006 12:47

...This is getting very entertaining. :-)

525.5.2006 12:54

Looks like the shoe is on the other foot now....The MPAA is going to have a hard time explaining away this one. I hope TorrentSpy will go after those A$$HOLES with everything they have. Thank God someone is finally standing up to those people! Good Luck TorrentSpy....I am behind you 100%.

625.5.2006 13:55

Great article Lethal_B! It's nice to see that they finally got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. This stuff happens all the time and is not surprising at all. I doubt that light would have been shed here if the MPAA would have payed a decent amount to the guy. 15K is NOTHING. I would have expected at least 50K minimum! Once again their greedy nature got the best of them.

725.5.2006 14:21

I hope the MPAA gets burned by this, Im so sick of big companies trying to tell us how to live. Bastards

825.5.2006 14:32

My neighbour got in shit with universal 2 years ago over downloading their films. I think this is what happens, 1. They trace your IP address, 2. Contact your IP provider, 3. Universal and IP provider start to harrass you.

925.5.2006 14:38

...and the pot calls the kettle black!!! It's about time that these guys got caught doing something they wern't susposed to be doing. Maybe they will now concentrate on their business rather than ours!!! LOL!!!

1025.5.2006 15:02

Way to go Lethal B. MPAA's making this up as they go and it's scary that they are getting away with it, mostly.

1125.5.2006 15:20


1225.5.2006 15:46

To hell with the lawsuit, bring the DOJ down on the MPAA's head! Afterall this is illegal and the public should see the MPAA for the criminals they are.

1325.5.2006 16:23

lol as robot chicken would say, "What a twist!"

1425.5.2006 19:13

it's not that difficult to do a 'trace' without hacking into the search engine, which by their claims is only providing documentation of files not the files themselves. For non-anonymous p2p you have the IP of the person you are connecting with to facilitate the transfer. With BT when you download you also upload and hence a downloader IS also a distributor of whatever content, legal or not, that they are downloading. As for the MPAA and a person gettign caught here is how it worked with me... a movie/tv studio sent my isp a letter detailing that such and such IP address owned by them was uploading such and such files (I was using BT and the names of files are non consequential). My ISP sent me an email with a copy of the email they received from the studio informing me to cease and desist. Upon talking to my ISP tey informed me that this letter from the studio was only the first step and that as long as I didn't do it anymore (or at least didn't get caught lol) nothing would come of it. My ISP also assured me that no personal information was divulged due to this letter not be a court order to disclose my identity. So basically it was just a warning to me. Of course I IMMEDIATELY stopped downloading the tv show I was catching up on and have never done so again. Which is really kind of sad because I then also cancelled my subscription to Showtime because if I couldn't get caught up with the ONLY series I was paying them to watch I figured that there was no sense using my dvr to time shift the current episodes until I was caught up. So this enforcement tactic of threatening me via my ISP actually COST them do most of their enforcement tactics. But oh well, a few short weeks later they canceled the series I was interested in anyways so i guess no great loss on my part! lol

1525.5.2006 19:27

"We are confident that our lawsuit against them will be successful because the law is on our side." The law will always be on the bully's side. No matter how much they break the law, there will always be a law backing them up. I am soooo sick of hearing their BS that I'm starting to rethink buying DVDs anymore. If I have to, I will just go to a friend's house and watch TV, DVD or whatever where the law can't touch me. Let's just hope in the future it won't be against the law to go over to a friend's house and just chill and watch a movie. Or better yet to borrow that movie. The more I hear about the MPAA constricting our rights, the more I fear that one day, Blockbuster, NetFlicks, and Hollywood Video will go out of business. That will be a day when you know the MPAA has rewritten the Constitution and America's laws. :(

1625.5.2006 20:51

interesting turn of events, just goes to show you again how nobody is a saint

1725.5.2006 21:33

sounds like "The Informant" was a double agent ;) he got his cash and gave a blow to the MPAA good news in my book

1825.5.2006 22:07

All we need now is a murder and a guy who woke up from a coma running into a church to stop his one true love (who has amnesia) from marrying his evil half brother.

1926.5.2006 00:49

You guys think "The Informant" will make it to the trial? maybe the MPAA will have him "Whacked" :) anyway, go torrentspy!

2026.5.2006 01:06

duckNrun, how about blocking your IP with software so they cant trace it. does this software work?

2126.5.2006 02:49

This is prime fodder for a *terrific* "Hollywood Blockbuster" - type movie! Espionage, double-agents, snooping, spying, covert under-the-table operations, payola - it's got it all! Maybe they could hire Tom Hanks (or preferably Steve Martin who would make a *terrific* snoop) to play a James Bond 007 type role for "The Informant", and the movie could be called, "Dirty Laundry" or something.

You guys think "The Informant" will make it to the trial? maybe the MPAA will have him "Whacked" :)
Nah, they could just put him into the Witness Protection Program like Steve Martin in "My Blue Heaven". :-)
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 26 May 2006 @ 5:20

2226.5.2006 05:07

I'm not surprised by the MPAA's behaviour... To UK_Gamer: With IPv6 it's going to be even easier to track down people. Theres more than enough ip adresses available so that every single pc will have it's own ip. No more NAT & hiding behind a firewall.

2326.5.2006 06:17

The level to which people will stoop is beyond me!!! If I can't hide my computer behind my firewall and 256 encryption, who will be safe??? LOL!!!

2426.5.2006 08:13

the MPAA has done somthing simmilar in what the RIAA is going through if only there was a curt order to sift the houses of the RIAA reps and find copyed cds movies,tapes of radio stations then thier going to be sitting with thier finger up thier A$$ then the court would probly drop the suit between xm radio and the riaa

2526.5.2006 09:39

Why not organise a big march to the whitehouse and riot with the anti-christs police, the washington police and the murderous U.S troops!, we could also recruit blacks, hispanic's from the many ghetto's and tell them Bush plans to send them back to where they came from and shit.

2626.5.2006 10:04

Thank you guys for the answers on ip tracing. I read somewhere a while back, that you can spoof your ip, have a shell account, and a program that stops dns tracking. I am just wondering if any of this is feasible, without paying to any anonymity ip based sites, and I am sure its been done before... I am just wondering how to do it from your pc at home. Any takers? I think it should be a must to conceal our ip's, we don't know who is watching and why they are watching. Is it even legal for them to trace your ip? That's what I've been wondering, that and being riddled with a many questions me seems...

2726.5.2006 10:08

@dunknrun I have mixed feelings about what they did to you, technically speaking, you payed for Showcase, and have a legal right to view the show on the network. Therefore, if you download an episode that you missed on that network, than you have a legal right to catch up on that episode elsewhere, as long as it is inclusive on that channel...Right? What I am saying is, you can watch a tv show on your television, but when it comes to your computer, that's illegal???? That's ridiculous, they are using scare tactics and intimidation, dictating where and only where you can and can't watch your show. This has to stop.

2826.5.2006 15:02

The informant will "go missing" and will be given $500,000 by the MPAA to hide and keep his mouth shut. MPAA wins the frivolous lawsuit, Torrentspy gets shut down, whoopdedoo, tomorrow's another day. It'll happen. Call me a cynic, but the idiots in Congress just don't seem to see why they should be stopping the stampede of anti-fair rights movements the MPAA are dishing out. It does indeed have to stop, but it's not going to, since why would the law be written against an organisation designed to protect it? I'm glad I'm not in the USA, mainly because of them, but I still protest...

2926.5.2006 18:38

@ducknrun,y is it illegal to download a tv show when u can legally record the show, tivo it etc? I dont see any difference from having the show on ur HDD than having it on a VHS or on a tivo.

3026.5.2006 21:40

@Sammoris The U.S. is literally in a mess from top to bottom. AIPAC, and other significant lobbyists dictate U.S. policies and interests, laws are enacted to protect major corporations and other elite significants, the President never got elected yet he is still there and has a very shady history, the media is government controlled propaganda as a means to subvert free thinking outside the box of conformity, the Patriot Act robs people of their freedom (also enacted in Canada, so it pisses me off), and the list just goes on and on, on how many major and unattended problems the U.S. is facing...Lest I forget, the energy crisis, the huge deficit, the War in Iraq...ouf. Anyways, back to the topic at hand, I think the MPAA hired a cracker and not a hacker, because hackers usually create or contribute something fruitful, and follow a strict code of ethics. Therefore, I believe he or she is some lowlife cracker, willing to earn a quick buck regardless of what is morally right and wrong.

3126.5.2006 21:45

hot_ice ,if its so bad here in the USA you can move your ass to iraq buddy!!! and see how you like it , another person thats bought the lies!! so lay off bashing the USA and keep on topic

3226.5.2006 22:22

A quick educated ice lives in canada. And I believe that he IS on track. Small minded people have to deal with small issues. In the movie swordfish hugh jackman went to jail for corrupting a government program to read ISP providers, wake up. The UNpatriot act gives the government the LEGAL RIGHT to do what the MPAA paid a measly $15,000 grand for. Whether it be sheep or lemmings, the good people of the USA and CANADA are being screwed over by the government. If the MPAA were smart they would use the so called patriot act as a precident and could win. I hope not, because TorrentSpy, I believe, is the one thats been we all have.

3327.5.2006 07:09

aabbccdd, No way I can keep on topic. That is one hot babe! BTW. It's hard to disagree that Bush is one of the worst presidents we've ever had. His whopping 27% and falling approval rating sums it all up.

3427.5.2006 07:22

It seems to me that MPAA is wrong for stealing. Also TorrentSpy is an avenue for copyright violators, we all know that. If TorrentSpy is right about the hacker, then they have a very strong case. For MPAA's suit. The question is, is TorrenSpy's involvment in copyright downloading an illegal activity? This seems to be the big question. Much like Tiffany's suit against eBay. eBay is a vehicle for millions of fraudulent auctions, yet is eBay in the wrong under the law? If Tiffanys and the MPAA wins their suits, it could set precedents that will literally change the online commerce world.

3527.5.2006 07:23

Let the flaming begin>which begats bannings. Politics not good at AD. Doesn't matter which side, you're gonna pi$$ someone off.

3627.5.2006 07:28

No politics here please.. stick to comments relevent to the news :-)

3727.5.2006 07:29

Best IP blocker around, IMO. PeerGuardian 2

3827.5.2006 07:50

"hot_ice ,if its so bad here in the USA you can move your ass to iraq buddy!!! and see how you like it , another person thats bought the lies!! so lay off bashing the USA and keep on topic" Since the U.S. "remodeled" Iraq, I think you are more entitled to go there than I am. Besides, I wasn't bashing the U.S., I am very fond of the country and its people, I like to see justice everywhere, and I haven't lied, these are verifiable facts, just simply look them up. In any event, back to the topic, without going on tangents, I would like to see if Torrentspy actually puts the hacker on the witness stand, and what would happen if his or her testimony were to be heard. However, the MPAA lawyers must be a force to be reckoned with, and noticing that copyright issues have become somewhat of an ubiquitous problem, its because mainly I believe MPAA can get away with anything it dishes out.

3927.5.2006 11:34

aabbccdd Chill out. The Patriots Act has taken more rights away from us. As my elected brother said, "Anything that had to be called The Patriots Act, means it never should have been passed. The other big fumble is the DCMA which took away our fair use of copyright material. Now the rest of his post is his opinion. He is entitled to it. This is USA. IRAQ may be another Vietnam? I'm a Vet from that war so I think that allows me to at least question it. But this thread has everything to do with The Patriot Act and The DCMA, and freedom of speech. I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend your right to say it.

4027.5.2006 12:29

Its always nice to see a difference of opinions. I was simply arguing about freedom of speech and control. It seems as though organizations like the MPAA want to control its customers like puppets and pull all the strings, and from what the alleged accusations portend, I think they can.

4127.5.2006 13:47

ummmmm, so what was the original topic? Cause this is gettin out of hand.

4227.5.2006 14:27

TorrentSpy Accuses MPAA of Hiring Hacker was the original topic!

Afterdawn Addict // Silent PC enthusiast // PC Build advisor // LANGamer Alias:Ratmanscoop
PC Specs page --
updated 10-Dec-13

4330.5.2006 03:29

I guess the MPAA is above the law or at least they think so. They are pretty much like legal organized crime.

4430.5.2006 09:11

They like to think they are above the law, but in this country, they aren't!!! They should be brought to justice just like anybody else if they are found guilty. Look at the "probes" the government has put out against all the large corporations all across the country and at the number of people who are brought to justice everyday. Form the head of Enron to good old Martha Stewart, if there is a case, the wrong dooers hopefully will go down and and no matter how much money they have access to will still not be enough in the eyes of the law!!!

4530.5.2006 11:51

If only. "We have the law on our side". You'd be surprised, it won't be easy bringing down the xxAA as they haven't been already, people must have tried.

4630.5.2006 20:50

I', glad to see this, cause the host is not responable for the content that its users download, the users are. I hope the xxxx (dont respect them enough to use their initials) go to hell, this is such hypocrisy!!

4731.5.2006 01:18

Just use MAFIAA, and then maybe forget the last A. They brought it upon themselves.

Afterdawn Addict // Silent PC enthusiast // PC Build advisor // LANGamer Alias:Ratmanscoop
PC Specs page --
updated 10-Dec-13

482.6.2006 02:08

Woo - hooo !!! If TorrentSpy wins this, it's just another score for the P2P/Torrent movement. Those greedy MPAA b*stards can go to HELL !!!! TorrentSpy .... U GUYS RULE !!!!

492.6.2006 07:31

Mmm, they do indeed.

502.6.2006 16:40

The Patriot Act only applies to investigations of potential subversives and, arguably, is political in nature. Lets assume that person/company "X" is investigated using the Patriots Act... the information found, no matter how damaging in a civil law case, can only be used in a criminal case and, in the US at least, the criminal activity must be definable as "terrorism related". this term is generalized so they can go after those who fund them and support them by laundering that money or assist in hiding them, getting entry visas (like sponsoring and giving them a "job" and then not reporting their absence)some proof is needed that the one giving aid knew the perp likely was involved in terrorist activities but is much less proof than that which is needed to prove conspiracy. without it one could say "they just paid me $5000 a week to use my garage and I stayed away whenever those six Muslim extremists friends of his came to have long meetings" and thus not be a part of the conspiracy... but I worded that with a bunch of clues that a patriot should question and thus tip off law enforcement.... if only anonymously If that person "X" has nothing to do with terrorism, but turns out to be selling 200,000 illegal movies a week... all evidence collected via the Patriots Act will need to be destroyed... and if any of that evidence came into the MPAA's hands then it would be thrown out as tainted fruit AND since the MPAA tried to use it, anything gotten vie it would also be banned. so if a helpful agent DID send that info to someone they would be better off to throw it away and then concentrate on legally collecting it (or similar info) But hiring a hacker (or cracker) is illegal because it is a conspiracy to break the law. the MPAA officials that knew about this should all be held accountable just as I would be held accountable if I had paid someone to illegally copy a movie.

513.6.2006 01:17

That's quite interesting. Lol, and yet comes down to the same thing. The MPAA illegally hired a hacker.

523.6.2006 06:17

my question is if they hired this hacker why hasnt someone shut the RIAA down or at least their website..... also who would work for them freely he or she could never tell anyone about it or they would be flogged... next it smells like they caught someone and there was a deal made to keep someone out of jail... if they hire a hacker they violated the law and this will be made public when the case comes to court. hopfully the court sees it clearly..we canonly hope that this goes infront of a libral judge...

533.6.2006 11:15

mystic why a libral judge? that is someone who trys to create law by ignoring the law. if somthing wrong was done we need a conservitive judge to follow the law not someone who refuses to accept the laws as they are written (if the law is wrong it needs to be changed but judges are only supposed to delet bad laws not make new ones because it suits them.... that's congresses job)

5427.7.2008 10:31

Originally posted by ChiefBrdy:
Best IP blocker around, IMO.

PeerGuardian 2

But does it actually work against the authorities? You never know... Getting caught is a 1 in 1000 or more thing, you could just be trying your luck with that program.

5527.7.2008 15:44

785 days, that's got to be a record...

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