back to article TorrentSpy shuts doors to America

Unwilling to compromise the privacy of its users, TorrentSpy has shut its doors to American file sharers. The move came just hours before a U.S. judge denied an appeal from the company, insisting - once again - that it turn over server logs detailing user behavior. The Dutch file-sharing service announced its U.S. shutdown with …

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  1. Jach

    Yay, we're blocked

    Or are we? It's pretty easy to configure Firefox to use a proxy from some other country.

  2. Jack Prichard

    Why bother appealing?

    Let the Americans isolate themselves from the "evil" that is file sharing; let us isolate ourselves, from them.

    Look, most of us disagree with the way America is being run at present. The RIAA and now MPAA come in for regular slaps here and the US judicial system is hardly known for standing up for the little guy.

    Why fight them the American courts that can't even decide whether to give standing to someone who has "probably" had his phone tapped illegally?

    Just unplug them.

    Come down here to Middle Earth instead, we have crazy Mac fan boys and kids called "4real", maybe. Best of all RIAA and MPAA won't be able to find you because they will be looking for New Zealand next to New Jersey, if they get the map right way up.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LOL... America condemns Google, Yahoo, and MSN privacy rights in China yet does the same

    How double standard can America get when they condemn other countries for a lack of privacy rights and censorship and yet flout it by their own actions. Their actions are totally double standard and a hypocrisy... I wouldn't trust the law makers in Washington anymore and their cry of fowl play at others when they don't hold the standard themselves. Why should any other country respect the requests brought on by America? This is a slap in the cheek to a popular verse do to others as you would have them do to you (NIV Luke 6:31).

    1 Timothy 1:6-11

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why is the justice department working for RICO organizations?

    With the internet technology a lot of these IPs in the server logs could have been spoofed or forged and further with spams viruses and backdoors wouldn't it be easy for RIAA and MPAA to also have hired companies and hacks to generate a fake list of random IPs without substantial proof of the person being there at time and place or take over computers to do their bidding. Commonly people were presumed innocent until proven guilty. Nowadays with the RICO trumped charges it is "you are guilty until proven innocent (standard or default norm these days)" and the burden is on people to prove themselves innocent.

    If RIAA and MPAA are defined to be RICO like organizations by extorting money from children, grandmothers and dead people. Then why is the justice department working and siding with RICO organizations and catering to their every whim instead of investigating them? (In other countries most media companies are run by mafia, yakuza, and triads from the shadows.)

    Also aren't U.S. Congress and Senate scheming and conspiring with RICO organizations by writing laws contradicting the US Constitution and Bill of Rights and getting kickbacks under the table?

    The US justice system is broken and needs extreme repair or otherwise Americans will continue to suffer with a blow to democracy and become more like socialist countries that America resents!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    evil snevil

    piratebay has been passing details over for the last few weeks. opss I got a letter shame it was not me wrong file detailed lol.

  6. mike

    why bother

    as i said before all copyright is theft theft of knowledge theft of enjoyment as you cant do what you want with the stuff you buy music or film. besides who the hell gave a private company the right to dictate law oh i forgot corrupt senators and congress.

  7. Michael

    Jurisdiction

    Please excuse me from my ignorance for I don't quite understand how a court from the USA could believe it could possibly maintain jurisdiction over another country.

    Why are TorrentSpy.com even bothering with these people?

  8. Matthew Connelly

    Oh, just great

    So the court was trying to get my IP address, eh?

    Good thing I dont live in the US then

  9. Greg

    Ha! Nicely done!

    Excellent. Well, not for the people in America, but TorrentSpy's attitude is absolutely spot on. If the Americans are going to try and make them break their ethical code of conduct based on no charges, no proveable illegality - never mind the fact that America should have no jurisdiction over servers held in another country - then TorrentSpy should just tell them to get lost, and that's exactly what they've done. Got a problem? Sod off then.

    Well done TorrentSpy!

  10. Alex Barlow

    Just a reminder

    I know we don't like to say it but redistribution of copyrighted material without the copyright owners permission is illegal.

    If TorrentSpy are or were distributing such material (and lets not be coy, we all know what is typically downloaded from file sharing services) in the USA then that gives the USA the right to want know who in the USA is involved in the crime. Surely TorrentSpy, as a good law abiding company, would be only too keen to help rid themselves of criminal activity on their website.

    Or maybe is that not how things work round here...perhaps accusing people of pick'n'mix law only works one way?

  11. Colin Wilson

    Thankfully...

    Someone has the guts to give the US the Arkell vs Pressdram response (google it !)

  12. Dam

    Re: Yay we're blocked

    Quote:

    "Yay, we're blocked

    By Jach

    Posted Tuesday 28th August 2007 02:15 GMT

    Or are we? It's pretty easy to configure Firefox to use a proxy from some other country.

    "

    Reply:

    Errr, you don't really get it, do you?

    It's not like they *want* to block you out, they're doing this to protect you.

    Rather than going the easy way and handing over *your* IP address and files you download, they block you out so there's nothing to hand.

    You should be thankful.

    And possibly switch to newsgroups with SSL, seeing how things go in the US.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got done

    I had my adsl disabled by my isp until I removed a file that I downloaded (film) and sign a letter saying I would never do it again. Thing is my isp had given my details to the film company and not actually checked the fact that my ip had been spoofed. hehe it wasnt even me and I got the wrap for it. I did a lot of back tracking and when I asked for them to double check my report they just said the case had been closed. So I could have got fined or sent to prison for what exactly. Some American company putting pressure on a UK isp to give incorrect details. This is going to start wars.

  14. avenyet

    right on

    this is how it should be done the US have no right in trying to rule the internet ok fair enough they have the power to turn off the web domain servers which would cause some major problems but they don't own the network... i think more companies in battle with the us should just block US IPs ok theres millions of ways to get past it but thats not the point.

    and if this keeps up it will soon be the great firewall of the US just in reverse

  15. Greg Simpson

    HideIP?

    Surely we can use software such as HideIP Platinum to access Torrentspy or Thepiratebay?

    Uh oh, i can see the floodgates (holding back the barrage of 'noob' abuse i'm likely to get...) opening here, and yes i'm relatively new to the world of file sharing, but there must be a way?

  16. Stephen Gray

    Who cares about Americans

    Here's my IP address f*ck.you.yank.tw*t

  17. Gilbert Wham

    Hang on a minute...

    ... If, as has been pointed out above, TorrentSpy have no servers in the US, and no registered offices/staff etc., can they not just tell the US courts to fuck off?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.......

    Serves them bloody right...

    Just like any big bully at school, there comes a point when a country tries to push its superiority (only through numbers and size, not ability) just so far and the rest of the world say "Bugger off, we're not playing with you any more!" It's come to that with the Govenrment in the States, and no matter what they try to do, the world in general will adapt to their shortsightedness and tell them to play the game fairly or go and play on your own in the corner.. WHilst they COULD say "Well then, we're not going to let you play with our toys", they won't because then Taiwan, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Europe and so on will stick Red Hat on their servers, and tell the US to bugger off and make their own componants.. Swings and roundabouts I think..

    There'll be trouble ahead... As the song goes, methinks that the US is going to start an avalanche here that they'll have no control over and that will eventually squash the government.. Maybe when the American people find that they can't get componants and all their computers are a generation behind the rest of the world because trade embargoes go two ways, maybe just maybe then the majority of the American people will vote in a government that's willing to work with other countries, and not threaten to start a fight with them if they happen to disagree with their politics!

    What makes me laugh is the comments about using proxies from around the world... Guys.. You voted them in.. If you don't like what they're doing vote them out! Sure you can get round the laws, but then you'll be singled out as a wrong doer.. If you all get together you can tell your government that they're the wrong doers, and you want a change!

    I don't live in the States, or the EU, so I really don't care if my IP gets logged because my ISP has no legal reason to hand over my details to an American court based on logs obtained from a 3rd country... However I don't use Bittorrent anyhow because I DO like living in the country that I live in, and I'm happy to respect the laws of that country!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the adverts...political, that is...

    The reason the U.S. government sides with the media companies regardless of the legality of their actions is that the U.S. elected government NEEDS the media in order to continue to get elected. If an elected official goes against a major studio or media company, they suddenly end up on "page 3" of the news, or, better yet, find that some trivial peccadillo committed years earlier is now their top issue for re-election.

    Thus we have a class of king-makers that are for all intents above the law. Sure, some courts try to rule fairly in these cases, but the media conglomerates can shop for a more pliant court, then use the favorable ruling to pressure others to their way of conviction. And the judges that make the favorable rulings find themselves heavily opposed at the next election, or off the short list to retain their bench when new appointments are made.

    This is the reality of democracy. Show me something that works better, I'll show you other ways to corrupt.

    As long as it's easier to steal than to make, intimidate rather than support, there will be corruption, and organizations like RIAA and the MPAA will rule. Such is Darwinian life.

  20. Steven Gordon-Saker

    So What

    Surely if TorrentSpy is Dutch, then a court in California has no juristriction? Can they simply tell them to bog off? I remember SpamHaus did something like that.

  21. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    Here we go...

    You know, people may think team america is just a spoof, but it's actualy quite acurate in one way. They think they are the World's Police.

    A Dutch company decides that it has to follow EU, not US, laws on data protection. So the US try to force them to change, because obviously they are right and we are wrong.

    As has been mentioned, hiding or spoofing/faking your IP address is reasonably simple for those with the know-how, and for others there are progs that'll do it for you. Therefore, even ignoring the fact that it would be against EU law (at least the spirit of it) for TorrentSpy to hand over logs to the US (in)justice system, it would be useless, except that the users on said addresses would have to prove that they didnt break the law.

    And, as has been noted above, the US frowns on the Chinese gov't doing just this. Yet another Trey Parker/Matt Stone production, South Park, got this one right. "An entire nation founded on saying one thing and doing another... And we will call this country the United States of America!"

  22. conan

    Clarification

    There have been a couple of posts on here that seem to miss a couple of points. Using TorrentSpy or the BitTorrent protocol in general is not illegal. I live in the UK and have downloaded plenty of things from BitTorrent (probably some of them tracked by TorrentSpy) and have committed no crime. The illegal part is downloading copyrighted material for which you do not have a license. It's unfair to equate BitTorrent or TorrentSpy with criminal activity - there is lots of good, legal content available (such as game patches). I won't deny that the majority of content available using BitTorrent is copyrighted, but that doesn't mean the whole business is shady. I don't know the law well enough to be sure, but I'd also wager that downloading an album or film which I've already bought is probably ok too, perhaps because the crappy CD/DVD media it came on is now scratched, or because the expensive game I've just bought and want to back up has copy protection.

  23. Steve Kelly

    Reason

    Supposedly the reason (or at least from the old torrent site shutdowns) they felt they could get information was although the server was hosted outside of america, americans still visited it... therefore they felt it fell under US law

    Could be wrong about this though

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: I got done

    "I had my adsl disabled by my isp until I removed a file that I downloaded (film) and sign a letter saying I would never do it again. Thing is my isp had given my details to the film company and not actually checked the fact that my ip had been spoofed."

    IP Spoofing only works if you don't want a reply... if your IP downloaded the files from one of the honey pots they set up, then there was 2 way communication on your IP.

    Just own up, you know you did it :)

    My ISP forwarded the request that the MPAA made,(including the file list I had) about 4-5 years ago now, saying that they weren't surrendering my details but I shouldn't continue sharing. Now I take precautions and generally only use small community based closed torrent trackers, which are less likely to be targeted than the major players (torrentspy, piratebay, etc.) as the cost-to-gain ratio would be very poor.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Just a reminder

    if TorrentSpy are or were distributing such material....

    That is the whole point, obviously like most courts you dont understand how bit torrent works. The torrent is not the illegal content, it only points to content held elsewhere on multiple users machines. If we are to stop torrents being hosted then we are stopping free speach. I know this is what the US wants, but the rest of us value that.

  26. Niall

    Another Verse

    "Today, ironically, at around noon Pacific time, we got served with an order denying the appeal,"

    I'd add another verse to Morissette's song but I'm afraid of infringing her copyright and even more afraid she might start singing the bloody thing.

  27. Brutus

    @Reason

    Hmm, interesting idea there: anywhere americans visit is subject to US law. Does this mean we'll have to ban americans from the rest of the world to stop this? Excellent!!

  28. Jason Harvey

    nothing wrong with bittorrent

    in fact, the last time I downloaded a linux distro via bittorrent, it maxed out my bandwidth after about 30 minutes... ftp from mirrors have never done that. I was able to download that ISO in a few hours instead of days. It's not bittorrent that's bad. It's just another way to use the internet. What's bad is people uploading the copyrighted materials. I love how all these intellectuals always dog the protocol and search engines while apparently ignoring the fact that someone has to upload the file and break copyright first. Why don't they take down the trackers that host the illegal torrents. Use the search engines to find the illegal trackers and do something about it instead of attacking every dick and jane that downloads something. Oh wait... that would actually require thinking and detective work.

  29. Alex Barlow

    @Just a reminder

    Well actually they are providing what is basically the definition for how to acquire the illegal content.

    It is essentially the same as letting someone deal illegal drugs in your house. You have provided the location for a crime to be committed so you are a part of the crime. They are pretty directly enabling you to have access to illegal content.

    Stopping illegal torrents from being hosted is not stopping free speech, at least not in a bad way - do you think it should be illegal to stir up racial hatred? Or is that infringing your 'human rights'? Should it be illegal for a website to show you how to acquire child pornography, another example of illegal content.

    For the record I am not from the US.

  30. Robert Hirst

    @@Just a reminder (Alex Barlow)

    "It is essentially the same as letting someone deal illegal drugs in your house. You have provided the location for a crime to be committed so you are a part of the crime. They are pretty directly enabling you to have access to illegal content."

    Bullshit. It WOULD be the same thing if the transfers were happening on the server (e.g. in the house), but they aren't. The transfers aren't even happening on the same street. Hence the term peer to peer.

    If you are going down the drug dealing analogy, TorrentSpy is doing the equivalent to letting guests into their house to have a friendly chat and cup of tea, and those guests swapping numbers with each other and later on doing a drug deal down the street from their house, without TorrentSpy's knowledge.

    Well, it would be if TorrentSpy was a tracker, but in actual fact it is not a tracker, it's a tracker aggregator / search engine in the same way as Google is a web aggregator / search engine (and to stick with the analogy the torrents available for download are the equivalent of Google's web cache).

    What you are saying is that Google should be held accountable if it unknowingly spiders a website which hosts illegal content, and not the person hosting the illegal content in the first place, even if it removes the links to that site when requested (which TorrentSpy has done on numerous occasions, and it has a well defined mechanism to allow copyright holders to block certain search queries).

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ @ Just a reminder

    Spliiting hairs is always an effective way to win an argument. Right? Are you reading the words flying out of your fingers?

    You are attempting to compare illegal drugs to copies of generic fluff ... aka movies, music and other tripe regarded as something worth the title of IP. Illegal drugs are the ones that the big companies don't sell and often cost far less anyway. But still you are trying to instill a sense of terror over downloaded digital content. Please, don't insult the people who read these responses.

    Simply put, the witch-hunt going on in America right now over stupid crap like some entertainment company's IP is absurd. Turning average people into criminals over such petty nonsense is a crime in itself. The only difference in this crime and the one Alex Barlow perceives is that the former is neither profitable not recognized by the American government.

    I commend TorrentSpy for their ballsy move. Well played folks. Your committment to your user's privacy is commendable.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Awesome!

    As an American I think this is cool. Hopefully more companies will follow suit, and Americans will be blocked from the majority of the Internet that they created. Maybe when all the links to porno, gambling, file trading, and newspapers with counter American views are blocked, then we will finally fight to get our rights back. The only sad part would be if I lost the Reg :-(

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dam

    "And possibly switch to newsgroups with SSL, seeing how things go in the US"

    The current implementations of Internet based public key systems offer no protection agains determined individuals ( like the ones who work for 3-letter agencies ) who are there to intercept your data.

    So it really makes no difference wether you use SSL (in its current form) or not when you want to hide your illegal activities and have a reason to believe that you are being monitored.

  34. Branden

    this is urksome

    I am sick and tierd of the RIAA and the MPAA. They are becoming more and more agressive about things they really need to butt out of. No one lords over the internet, there are no "laws" governing over the web. It's international, none have claim over it, yet all may use it. The fact that the MPAA has the gall to even think about what they did to torrent spy amases me. Thankfully Torrent spy isn't spinless and broke their privacy policy just to make a few robber barons happy. Instead they simply put their foot down and used their leverage of being hosted in a different country and simply said, "No." I commend such actions. They stood up for what they belived and didn't back down at all. The Movie Production assosiation of AMERICA really has no concern whatsoever about a company of another country!

    In lieu of this I urge Capital One to take legal action against all European welfare programs, and demand to know all the people tied to said programs, so they may assert their (un)lawful retribution on them for having conflicting belifes.

    All it boils down to is the MPAA saw that RIAA managed to get some power in the courts, and the MPAA thinks they can achive higher. Never mind the Supreme Court already has a precedent that using blank tapes to record movies or television programs, is legal, and not in violation of copyright laws. But filesharing is. I understand that the intelectual property rights are very imortant, and I wholly support them because they protect the indivdual from getting gyped by a company.... Now companies are using copyrights to gyp the individual.

    America is in need of dire reformation. Regulations are becoming absurd and overly costly. And now we turn our sights outward. Why dont we just invade the country and be honest with our intentions, at least I could look at my counrty with some shred of respect for being honest...I would gladly renounce my citizenship if I could get a chance to set America right.

    Lastly MPAA it's not THAT big of a deal, you're more rich than my fantasies can allow!

  35. Robert Hill

    There is so much sick, twisted reasoning in this thread...

    Anything to preserve your illegal violation of other's rights, eh? Let's remember a few basic facts:

    1) Artists (actors, performers, writers, directors, singers,etc.) sign with a production/distribution company voluntarily. That company then owns the rights either exclusively or shared with the artists. This is entirely legal under any system of justice that you can name - no one MAKES the artist sign anything, and they are always free to create their own albums/movies and put them on a web site and charge whatever they want. Most prefer the deal offered by recording or production companies, so go figure that one..

    2) Those companies copyright, register, or otherwise protect their property. So, still legal everywhere I can think of. They then band together to protect that property, by creating a company called the RIAA to do just that. Again, legal as pie.

    3) BitTorrent provides a mechanism for illegally distributing that content, without paying the copyright holders. It is PROVABLE via simple statistical analysis that most of the content on BitTorrent is copywritten works, and that most of the downloads are of copywritten works. The RIAA et al have done that analysis, and it is (I believe) on that basis that there is PROBABLE CAUSE that laws have been broken.

    4) TorrentSpy provides a directory into BitTorrent - a directory that makes it a good deal easier for the above exchanges to take place. Exchanges which have already been statistically proven to be mostlly copywritten works. To use the drug analogy above, sure, you just invited two sets of friends into your kitchen to meet and exchange numbers, and the actual exchange took place outside your house, but you KNEW the odds were that there would be a drug deal following the meet that you set up. It wasn't co-incidental, it didn't just happen once in a blue moon - it happend USUALLY after you set up the meetings. And that makes you, the introducer, an accessory - regardless if it is drugs, file sharing, or prostitition. I quoted the last just to show that the judge in this case is not breaking any new ground - similar legal status is accorded pimps and madames in their prosecution, despite that so many claim they are just "introduction" or "escort" services. If you perform an act that USUALLY leads to others breaking laws, you will probably be found to be an accessory, period.

    6) Given the status that most BitTorrent exchanges are of copywritten works, and that TorrentSpy's introductions/directory services usually lead to copywritten works being stolen, the judge ordered data to be collected at the point where it was obviously available. Mind you, this differs quite substantially from OTHER privacy cases, such as the forced turn-over of airline data to Homeland Security, as the probable cause is much stronger against TorrentSpy than in most of these other cases (for example, I do NOT believe it was proper to force the airlines to turn over their flight records, nor Google/Yahoo their internet query records - as the probably cause doesn't really exist). But there is no shortage of probable cause against TorrentSpy.

    7) TorrentSpy used the "Privacy Issues" as a red herring - this is about preserving their business model, not stopping 3d party mailings for junk catalogs, or even ensuring the privacy of credit data for their customers. But it MUST be dis-allowed, to protect the rest of society. Otherwise, if you let TorrentSpy not reveal potentially incriminating evidence, then you have to legally allow J.R Reynolds to not reveal confidential emails around how they knew how damaging cigarettes were, as those emails violate the privacy of the executives that sent them. Or have Ford say they couldn't tell how many people died in SUV roll-over accidents, as their privacy policy made it necessary to hide who had bought what type of car. You see the pattern? It's bullshit, regardless of who is saying it.

    7) TorrentSpy knew the next step - if they failed to comply, the court had a host of mechanisms to enforce the submission of that data, such as preventing US credit cards from posting transactions against their services, to having ISPs ban their IPs as they come into this country, to filing tax charges even. Any of which would be legal if TorrentSpy was in contempt of court by not providing data that the judge requested.

    In summary, the RIAA, the prosecution, and the judge have done NOTHING out of the ordinary here...it's the same standards as would be applied to any business accused in court, and the same requests for data from the accused (i.e., a madam's little black book, server logs, or drug selling records on spreadsheets are all the same), and the throwing out of a legal red herring that if allowed could allow ANYONE or ANY CORPORATION to simply not reply to a request for evidence from a court by labeling it in violation of their privacy policy.

    Oh, yeah, it's like the internet, and we all just want to steal our music, so screw the legal system, let's scapegoat an impersonal company like the RIAA or the courts, and carry on. Yeah, dude, yeah...

  36. Andy Worth

    Just a point or two

    What you seem to forget is that Torrentspy are not a U.S. company, have no ties in the U.S and are not covered by U.S. law. It's very similar to something I remember reading (in the Reg I think) about the U.S. deciding that they were going to police space (around the Earth). In the same way they've also decided that they will police the internet.

    I'm quite glad that Torrentspy cut off the U.S. and I hope that other sites and servers (whatever the content) end up doing the same. There's a good reason why Americans are considered as rude and interfering by practically every other population on the planet.

    Oh and for the record, I don't download from P2P. I tried it before, but I didn't inhale.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @There is so much sick, twisted reasoning in this thread...

    Thank you for being one person talking sense when it comes to illegal file sharing.

  38. Robert Hirst

    @Robert Hill

    All well and good, except that TorrentSpy is more than happy to block searches that lead to copyrighted results. So the whole probable cause thing falls down since they are actively helping copyright holders protect their content. If you want probable cause look at the way the copyright holders fail to use that mechanism, and instead want to collect data on the people who are downloading. Strange, eh? Almost like they'd rather be sending out threatening letters demanding thousands of dollars from people or they'll take them to court for $10m damages, etc.

    And as far as I'm aware in regarding your second point number 7(!?), TorrentSpy couldn't give a monkeys if their IP was blocked from American vistors, and clearly doesn't care if American visitors can't buy their T-Shirts (i doubt sales are high), so how are those mechanisms going to enforce the submission of the data?

    And FYI, Napster is a perfectly acceptable and legal way to download as much music as you want. Lots of people use this as an alternative to illegal music sharing now.

    There are already various video on demand services popping up here in the UK, I for one cannot wait for a subscription based video on demand service with a decent library. That is the way to combat piracy, by making it as affordable to download and watch films, by leveraging the much lower distribution costs and cutting out the fluff.

    Not by providing 3 day rentals for the same price or more than it would cost in the local video shop and generally carrying on the exact same practice that drove people away in the first place.

    TorrentSpy was asked for information it didn't have and had no need to keep. It's all very well asking for things which someone definitely has, but demanding that they collected something which they have no need nor interesting in is another.

    Oh yeah, it's the 21st century, we all just want to turn a blind eye provided they aren't coming for us, screw common sense, let's just blindly accept whatever the impersonal companies and courts tell us is right and carry on.

    (and yes, that paragraph is as much of an aberration of your view as your last paragraph is of mine).

  39. Peter Methven

    The RIAA have achieved more than they were hoping to achieve!

    There is one thing I think everyone is forgetting here... This is not a victory to TorrentSpy it's a victory for the RIAA.

    The RIAA have achieved more than they were hoping to achieve! Rather than having to chase individual’s who were using TorrentSpy with all the associated time and expense, the RIAA have just functionally managed to close the TorrentSpy down for the majority of American's who were using it.

    A victory for TorrentSpy would have been to have told the RIAA to go and fly as they had no jurisdiction (forcing the RIAA to go after ISPs in the USA), or bring a case against them under European/ Dutch law - which the RIAA would struggled to win.

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fairly pointless anyway

    Let's face it, if you are actually doing anything that's considered illegal by most of the population, it's not that difficult to get an IP and MAC address for someone else's PC and use that for all your illegal browsing. Once in a while you will get a conflict but hey, if it saves you being tortured by the Chinese or locked up in Guantanamo, what the heck. If you really want to go the whole hog, do both of those things from Starbucks WiFi network.

  41. Robert Hill

    RE: Andy Worth/Robert Hirst

    The fact that their servers and corporate offices are not here is not the only relevant fact. The fact is that they do business here, i.e., provide services in exchange for revenue streams derived from US customers. As such, they are most probably subject to US laws on distribution of illegal goods, corporate taxes, etc. Again, the same as if they were ANY other company...

    And to Robert Hirst - even if TorrentSpy is happy to block searches for copywritten materiel, they would still have to produce data similar to that requested to PROVE that it worked. Your point about Napster is well taken - the RIAA isn't against downloaded music, it's against downloaded music for which the property owner hasn't been compensated. RIAA is happy as a clam with Napster now, and iTunes, etc. Downloaded music is a great innovation - but it should be done with the intellectual propety rights of others protected. (And my personal N.B. - and hopefullly at much higher quality than is currently available - I buy CDs of anything decent and then rip it losslely myself or play the disk, because my Epos 12.2 speakers can tell the difference in lbr recordings...)

    And, of course, my last paragraph should have been in quotes to show that it was tongue-in-cheek...sorry for the confusion.

  42. Robert Hirst

    TorrentSpy = YouTube?

    "And to Robert Hirst - even if TorrentSpy is happy to block searches for copywritten materiel, they would still have to produce data similar to that requested to PROVE that it worked."

    Surely the onus is on the copyright holders to produce data that proves it DOESN'T work.... i.e. that they are requesting search terms / files to be blocked under the DMCA, and those terms are still being allowed. Why do TorrentSpy need to provide data that can be obtained simply and even automatically by the copyright holder, just by simply feeding the relevant search term into an url and capturing the results? They already comply with the DMCA removal procedures to the letter, and have an agent in the US.

    And even if the onus were on them (seems ridiculous to me) then there is a slight difference between the data demanded (providing full logs of every search / click on a link tied to IP), and lists of searches and torrents downloaded without any personal information attached, or even just the list of indexed torrents. When Google was ordered to turn over search terms with personally identifiable information (e.g. IP) attached it was overruled, and IIRC they didn't even have to surrender the data requested -without- the personally identifiable information attached.

    It's a bit like the whole YouTube fiasco.... does the blame for infringing material lie with the person who puts the original video up, with the service that hosts and indexes the video, or with the person who watches the material. To some degree the truth is all three, but does it really seem fair that someone could be sent a YouTube link through email or something and click it, and then charged punitive and arbitrary damages of what the copyright holder believes they lost through ad revenue, dvd sales, xyz, etc. Unless you can absolutely prove that the person downloaded knew what the content was before downloading (e.g. that it wasn't a HD trailer version or something) then it's unfair that they should be liable when the copyright holder could be working with YouTube to make sure the material isn't there in the first place.

    Thinking through these issues it begs the question what they intend to do with the information they requested anyway. Search results don't actually prove that someone opened the torrent file in the relevant application and obtained or distributed the file. Seems like they want ammo for witch-hunts and scare tactics against those too ignorant to know that they are paying an out of court settlement based on "evidence" that the RIAA/MPAA claims to hold which actually does not necessarily even prove they have done anything wrong.

    If they want to order TorrentSpy to improve the removal procedure to speed up the process, that's well and good, I think everyone would agree that is benevolent and fair. But if they order them to change their policy to violate the rights of every person using the site for anything legal or otherwise, that is quite something else.

    I see the block as a political statement that just because America no longer believes in personal rights and freedoms, it does not mean that everyone must now abandon them. It doesn't mean that they are going to stop complying with the DMCA, just that they seek to protect American citizens from their own government.

  43. Law

    @Anon@Dam

    Encrypted newsgroups ARE the way to go... because unless the ISP/CIA stores every bit of data you downloaded in the hope of decrypting it later through whatever method they use (I'm about 3 years out of date with encryption breaking stuff since uni ended) then its safe to assume they will still be trying to get unencrypted bittorrent users instead as it would be much more cost effective and easier!

  44. simon

    Scream and shout all you like it doesn't matter...

    Netsuku is here and with gigabit wifi on the horizon it'll only get better....

    http://netsukuku.freaknet.org/?pag=about

  45. William Dean Luke

    I really don't like seeing prejudice in a commenting section.

    Ya know what I think sucks? I think that some of the people posting in here are prejudiced in whole or in part against America and Americans in general. I, myself, am an American. And Greg's little "Sod off then" comment irked me. Like it's OUR fault the government here sticks it's nose into other people's business?

    I don't know about you, but I mind my own business. ALWAYS. I don't stick my nose into other people's business and I don't believe it's right that our government thinks it can do this.

    And what about all of the AMERICAN contributors to torrentspy's vast array of files? YOu mean to tell me that the American's who uploaded their stuff for the world to share are now suddenly cut out of the loop and other countries are benefitting from the files that US citizens helped upload?

    YEah, that sounds really frickin' fair to me. (INsert Sarcasm here)

    I believe, personally, that TOrrentspy either doesn't give a damn that America put it's fair share of files in Torrentspy's engines and have now blocked us from downloading from them, or they just haven't realized, quite yet, the scope of this problem.

    I, for one, am QUITE saddened by this decision.

    It's not enough that we're locked out, but now the people who are still able to use it are outright dissing American's and saying "Ho-ho! We're better than you!"

    I understand that the folks at Torrentspy had no choice in the matter. I commend their ability to honor their privacy statement. but think of the millions of US citizens that share their files with other countries through torrentspy. Now they have nothing to show for their efforts.

    YOu can all think America sucks and that it's just a cesspool of evil and dark-minded people all ya want.

    Fact is, you aren't the only ones who contributed to Torrentspy's vast popularity.

    I only wish that More Americans woudl stand up to the judicial system here and demand reform. Cause this country is goign to Hell in a Handbasket. I can say this cause I was born here and I live here and see it for myself every single day. What's YOUR excuse?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Like it's OUR fault the government here sticks its nose into other people's business?" - YES!!!

    William Dean Luke:

    It's not about liking or hating the American "people en-mass", however whether you like it or not America as a "country" is disliked by much of the world and things like this re-enforce that dislike.

    Your comment of: "Like it's OUR fault the government here sticks its nose into other people's business?" is worrying as if YOU (and the rest of the American voters) are not responsible for your "democratically" elected government then who is!!!

  47. William Dean Luke

    Damn sure isn't my Fault.

    No, no it's not MY fault, it's not the citizens fault. Are you even aware that most of the US want our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan, but our government doesn't seem to give a damn?

    HOw about the fact that bush BOUGHT the election in Florida, and despite NUMEROUS protests, there was nothing the US Citizens could do about it. I, for one, didn't vote for Bush. According to the polls, he lost the election by a landslide, but then a recount was ordered and he won by ONE vote!

    Then the World Trade Center bombing occured. Bush Paraded himself as a hero and used the anger of Most American's to gain support in his "War on Terror".

    Most of us care about other people. I, for one, am sickened by the events in Darfur and wish our troops would get involved in helping them rather than trying to gain control over the MIddle East's Oil.

    I am an American. But I'm not proud of it. I wish the Government here wasn't as corrupt as it is, but if we stand up for ourselves and our rights, we're arrested for one reason or another. I'm aware that if my fellow Americans had the balls, we could all bum-rush our capitol and pretty much declare war on a corrupt government. I, for one, don't LIEK paying taxes because the money I pay every year to the fine folks that run our country is used to build weapons. Weapons that kill people. BUllets...guns, rockets, missiles. Whether we liek it or not, our hands are covered in blood. But if we don't pay taxes, we're fined, even IMPRISONED. Native Americans here get the worst of it, they really do.

    A family of Hemp farmers, who grow hemp to make a living, are raided over and over again. THe government here jsut goes into a SOVEREIGN Native American nation and does whatever the hell they want, despite the fact that treaties say they aren't allowed to.

    If I had my way about it, We'd all be back to the bartering system, because EVERYONE has something they can contribute, even if it's jsut manual labor.

    The US woudl only get involved with helping people, not dropping Atomic bomb's on two different cities over a BEE STING. (Pearl Harbor, anyone?)

    I hate this country. I love what it once stood for. Freedom...Freedom to be whoever you are, and do whatever you want to do, so long as you don't hurt anybody.

    But this nation has long since decided that money is more important than the value of life, and that's sad.

    Now what I'm saying is that I am tired of everyone else int he world thinking we're all a bunch of ignorant jackasses who sit around with our thumbs up our asses. Well, we're not, I for one, voted to Impeach Bush. We want to be the best we can be, but not at the expense of others.

    Sad truth is, too many of us are scared and paranoid. We want to do something about it, but our government has too much power.

    If only more people realized that a Government is only as powerful as the people allow it to be, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in.

  48. Steve Roper

    Damn sure isn't your Fault.

    "We want to do something about it, but our government has too much power."

    William Dean Luke, you have hit the nail right on the head. I understand your dilemma all too well. How CAN we (regardless of country) possibly hope to stand aginst the training, psychological manipulation, technology and weaponry available to tyrants everywhere? The days of peasants storming the Bastille and beheading the Tzar are long past. Any organised resistance movement that springs up is soon inflitrated by highly-trained operatives and destroyed, perverted or discredited (read: labelled as terrorists).

    Any system of government that is founded on the ideals of fairness, justice and freedom is soon perverted into tyranny by those who seek to exploit others for their own gain. The saying "nice guys finish last" is not a joke, it is a truism that describes the behaviour of life itself. Life is competition, and competition means getting what YOU need to survive and procreate without consideration of the needs of others. Extrapolate this basic Darwinism into human behaviour and you will observe the same effect. Those who push others out of the way to ensure they get the lion's share are the ones who win and survive.

    Communism was founded on an ideal that those who did the work should get the rewards, and tried to do away with the idea of posession and ownership in order to do this. The early communists post-Russian Revolution would have been living in an idealistic Utopia believing that they had finally defeated greed and evil. Even America and England in the late 19th century were interested; read the works of Jack London and H.G. Wells; London's The Iron Heel and The People of the Abyss, and Wells' In the Days of the Comet all described ideal futures based on socialism and communism. Then along came Stalin to find a way of turning it into an Orwellian lie, that became the nightmare of the 20th century and brought the world to the brink of ruin.

    Likewise, your American forefathers wrote your Constitution and Bill of Rights with the same idealism in mind. They foresaw a future Utopia where people were free to enjoy life and prosper, believing that their democratic system of checks and balances would ensure power remained with the people forever. But it didn't, because greedy people worked out how to hack your nice free system. Now you are stuck with a government so sure of its dictatorship it can afford to ignore the voice of the voters with impunity.

    Democracy has gone the way of communism; it has fallen into the hands of greedy and selfish people who have worked out how to control it. Every advanced democracy is now an oligarchy: you have only two parties to pick from (be it Labour or Conservative in the UK, Labor or Liberal in Australia, or Republican or Democrat in the US). Sure, there's minority parties, but none of them will ever see power. Joe and Jane public will vote for one of the two because they see no sense in voting for a party they know won't get in.

    So, how to corrupt democracy in one easy lesson: buy companies that make vast profits, get your people into the two most popular parties, fund them with massive advertising campaigns to ensure they get the vote, and use your psychology expertise to entrench them in the public mind. Then it doesn't matter who you vote for - your people still get in, on one side or the other, and you make the laws. Witness the recent election in the UK - they voted in Brown to get rid of Blair, and for no other reason - but what difference has it made? Here in Australia, we have a federal election later this year. It looks like people will finally vote out Howard and bring in Rudd - but we won't get our freedom back because of them.

    Democracy has become a lie, just as communism did. Where do we go from here? How do we get our freedom back in the face of the technological, physical and psychological might of those who now control our lives? If I could answer these questions with an effective means, I'd implement them in a flash. But I'm just another Joe trying to survive in a world where looking out for number one is the only way to survive, and try as I might, I just can't think of any way that we can fight back and succeed.

    Communism failed because capitalism showed there was a better way - for the greedy, at least. Now capitalism and democracy have failed, what remains to oppose it? China? Hardly a human-rights Utopia. Russia? Yes, if you don't mind being ruled by crime gangs. There are no "good guys" left.

    Then again, maybe there never were.

  49. Bernadette Newburg

    Damn Sure it isn't Your Fault

    You guys left out one thing...the majority of people have stuck their heads in the sand, like ostriches. As long as it doesn't bother them, they don't want to know about it. Only when it directly affects them, will they then sit up and take notice. Most of the older generation can barely use a computer; my mother doesn't even know what a firewall is ("What are all of these stupid pop-ups??") and I don't know how long it took her to figure out how to use the remote control on the TV after they got the satellite. Nothing is going to happen here in the states until people get their heads out of the sand, their asses, or the clouds, or wherever they have them stuck. There are not enough of us who are not wearing the rose colored glasses to have an effect on things, although I had some hopes with the last election...

    And PS = I didn't vote for Bush, either.

  50. mahoney

    William Dean Luke...

    Top Drawer.

    Nicely said.

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