TorrentSpy, one of the larger Bittorrent indexing sites, lost a suit brought against it by the Motion Picture Association of America. How they lost might raise a few eyebrows, though: a judge ruled in favor of the MPAA on grounds that the defendants tampered with evidence.
The court had ordered the operators of TorrentSpy, Justin Bunnell, Forrest Parker, and Wes Parker to retain the server logs and unique IPs of all computers that engaged in sharing material indexed by the site; their lawyer said they did not divulge the information on grounds of violating the privacy of its users, according to the BBC.
Then, the judge, a one Florence-Marie Cooper, asked them for information stored in their computers’ RAM; apparently the defendants tried to argue that, as random access memory is temporary in nature, the information the judge was seeking could not be obtained.The judge didn’t take very kindly to these proceedings, calling the defendants’ actions “obstreperous,” which for you without a Webster’s onhand, means “noisy and difficult to control.” In the end, the ole’ girl ruled that the defendants had tampered with evidence and provided false testimony regarding the items the court desired.
Needless to say, the MPAA was happy with this ruling; its president, John Malcolm, called TorrentSpy a, “one-stop shop for copyright infringement.”
Though tampering with evidence generally results in a lost case, those who use Bittorrent sites should beware that courts do have the power to obtain IP addresses and other personal information to prosecute copyright infringers. Maybe its time to spend a little less time torrenting and a little more time at your local legal electronic retailer.