Networking

Torrentspy.com court ruling: Judge orders tracking of users


File sharing sites come under the scanner again with the Central District of California federal judge ordering Torrentspy.com, a BitTorrent site, to begin tracking its users activities as possible evidence in a "copyright infringement lawsuit filed by a handful of movie studios and the MPAA (Motion Pictures Association Of America). "

Excerpt from Arstechnica.com:

The judge's ruling would force TorrentSpy to act in a manner contrary to its privacy policy, which says that the site does not collect any personal information about its users. In a message to the "friends of TorrentSpy" published on the TorrentSpy front page, its administrators say that they are appealing the judge's order and will not create logs of what its users do throughout the site without their consent.

More news:

TorrentSpy may cut off access to US visitors (ZeroPaid)

Torrentspy ordered to start tracking users (CNET News.com)

File-sharing sites have always had it tough from movie studios and the MPAA. While the sites provide a disruptive medium for sharing data, they are also prone to being used as the medium for the transfer of copyrighted content. The logging process would ultimately lead to some information (like IP addresses) being recorded and turned over to the MPAA. All this, while the privacy policy explicitly states that the Web site will not track its users without their consent. Is this the beginning of a trend where user privacy is compromised for business interest? Join the discussion.

9 comments
pr.arun
pr.arun

Another bit of info on the ruling : The main contention here is that the court considers data residing on the Server's RAM as records to obtain user information.

brian.kronberg
brian.kronberg

Yeah, let me run a report for you: shutdown -r now Yep, it is printing now...where did it go?

pr.arun
pr.arun

Yes brian, indeed shutting down the system would power down the RAM ( erasing data). But here the main contention is that servers ( servicing requests over the web ) have huge RAM capacities and at any given time the user data is resident on it ( even for hours ), which makes them evidence that can be produced in a court of law. That is what is driving this case.

pr.arun
pr.arun

TorrentSpy attorney Ira Rothken said: "It is likely that TorrentSpy would turn off access to the U.S. before tracking its users... If this order were allowed to stand, it would mean that websites can be required by discovery judges to track what their users do even if their privacy policy says otherwise." The repurcussions of this litigation, if it goes through is that torrentspy and other bit torrent sites go down. This is a victory for the MPAA. But, other sites may be now required to store data on user activity. This is a blow to user privacy on the net.

Freebird54
Freebird54

Does it matter what is driving the case? Does this order have ANY power at all, even if not overturned? Is there any reason they would not insert finger in nose, and waggle the rest? Does this judge have some sort of God complex? Last I looked, the company in question does not reside in the US - so what power does this court imagine that it has? What is truly foolish is the plaintiff - having created a problem with its customers, has challenged those customers to a game of chicken. Now it is clear that they are losing this game, they want to change the rules WORLDWIDE to suit their views? Wow!

pr.arun
pr.arun

Will this court ruling justify companies in maintaining user activity records ?

apaludet
apaludet

Will the California judge decision be applicable to international soverreign States, outside the US, through the none too subtle-intent to enforce compliance pressure of the MPAA? Will international users of the sites also be tracked and risk a flying visit from MPAA thugs in white collars and ties? Look out for the increasingly menacing use of cookies with never before seen properties, that will be developed to track site users? This will develop into at least a case of being guilty before being proved innocent, for each user attacked by the MPAA.

pr.arun
pr.arun

The litigation may set a bad precent that can have global repurcussions. You have got it right apaludet , this is a case of "guilty" until proven innocent where data will be stored on users incase they do something.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

Just as the credit reporting industry causes chaos due to the poor quality of their data, I believe that there's going to be chaos as a result of file sharing (and other) services having to report user data as the basis of future legal proceedings. For some reason, my ISP has my MAC address confused with a user in a different state who's been downloading pirated movies. As a result, I believe that information on myself has been reported to a copyright holder under a "John Doe" subpoena as being a movie pirate. I?m awaiting the day when a MPAA thug shows up at my door with a lawsuit. I?ve been wondering how much I will be able to sue my ISP for this if and when it happens.

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