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TorrentSpy shuts its doors

TorrentSpy shuts its doors

Visitors to the TorrentSpy site are greeted by a message explaining the closure for 'privacy protection.'

The BitTorrent search engine TorrentSpy – at its peak one of the largest P2P search engines on the Internet – officially closed its doors on March 24th 2008.

Although the site claims that it jumped rather than being pushed in a statement which started “We have decided on our own, not due to any court order or agreement, to bring the Torrentspy.com search engine to an end,” the December 2007 default judgement the MPAA was awarded against the company in which the judge found that TorrentSpy admins had systematically destroyed evidence can't have helped.

The team goes on to explain that actions were requested of them by the court as a result of that ruling which they felt were “inconsistent with our privacy policy, traditional court rules, and International law,” and therefore the team could find nothing to do except “provide the ultimate method of privacy protection for our users – permanent shutdown.

The tactics of the MPAA and sister organisations is clear to see here: although there will always be a place in the organisations' eyes for deep-packet inspection and fake peers, with the increased use of encryption in P2P software it's a heck of a lot easer to catch people if you simply log what .torrent file they downloaded. If the MPAA or RIAA could get their hands on a webserver log from a major BitTorrent search engine – a log which will list, at the very least, what .torrent files were downloaded by individual IP addresses – it would keep them in litigation victims for years.

Clearly, this is why TorrentSpy chose to shutdown. The 'systematic destruction' of data was nothing more than the regular cleaning of server logs in order to protect the privacy of their users, and having been ordered by the court to keep better records of who does what the site has chosen to fall on its sword rather than risk getting folks in trouble.

Whatever your opinion on the rights and wrongs of peer-to-peer distribution of copyright content, you can't blame the team for not wanting to do the right thing by their users.

Are you a Torrentspy advocate now sad to see the site go, or do you think such search engines have always sailed close to the legal wind? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

19 Comments

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chrisb2e9 1st April 2008, 15:33 Quote
sorry to see it happen. mainly becuase I hate the riaa/mipaa etc.
Lepermessiah 1st April 2008, 15:36 Quote
Good, piracy is bad, what is sad are people like the guy above that think it is OK.
Darkedge 1st April 2008, 15:49 Quote
piracy is bad but so is how the MPAA/RIAA are supposedly defending their clients rights - or more accurately keeping a bunch of lawyers in Limo's.
I support torrents in one way as they are changing the attitudes of the big ripoff merchants like the big 4 record labels and hopefully will kill DRM, or at least abusive DRM like Sony's rootkit or closing down peoples fair use rights.
Grasshopper 1st April 2008, 15:56 Quote
I won't lie: I use illеgal software and there is no illigal software that I use, that I'll purshse if I can't get it for free. There are plenty of freeware on the net and I'm just too lazy to search for it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepermessiah
Good, piracy is bad, what is sad are people like the guy above that think it is OK.

Piracy is bad? Maybe, but not for me. I buy the software/movies/music I like and I think It worth the money and in fact I prefer to us legal software when I can, but I use many piaces of code I can't get where I live or cost a fortune (Vista Home Premium cost half a month sаlary here).

They won't stop piracy that way.
Firehed 1st April 2008, 16:08 Quote
Um.. why on earth would torrent sites be keeping logs of downloaded files in the first place?
Buzzons 1st April 2008, 16:10 Quote
sure it's not an april fools?
Eloquence 1st April 2008, 16:13 Quote
Most webservers keep logs Firehed, be it basic access logs like the one used in Apache, or something more complex like statistical databases that log IP's and pages visited over long periods of time.

I for one am glad to see TorrentSpy go. There are plenty of other torrent sites out there, that are far better, and aren't riddled with javascript popups huge banner ads and other intrusive ads everywhere.
Cupboard 1st April 2008, 16:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buzzons
sure it's not an april fools?

Well, it is after lunchtime

Good for them though, not bowing in to pressure. Even if you think what they do is wrong, you have to admire their effort/commitment to their "customers"
pendragon 1st April 2008, 17:53 Quote
sigh..another one bites the dust ... yet another reason to familiarize yourself with the trusty RIAA Radar ...screw the RIAA and their tactics :( .. vote with your wallet, folks
wharrad 1st April 2008, 20:32 Quote
I don't usually post links, and given the date you can never be sure.... But if it is an April fools joke it's most definately slander...

http://www.zeropaid.com/news/9362/Sony%20BMG%20Sued%20for%20Software%20Piracy%20-%20Assets%20Seized

PS, sorry if it's old news
tech3312 1st April 2008, 20:44 Quote
in my opinion what's the point of them closing it down there just wasting millions of dollars closing one server down and more server is still on that are similar to torrentspy, and lastly a new server can just open up and be similar to torrentspy they should invest those money in police, and school cause lately police are not getting the respect they need and it pisses me off...
1ad7 1st April 2008, 22:45 Quote
Piracy is bad, but these people are being greedy. Most of the people I know only pirate things they plan on buying to try it out, the only exception was adobe products but now there are alot of free alternatives so in my circles piracy is down alot. I really have a great amount of respect for these guys at torrentspy, they had the courage to stand up for there word, and there users.Looks like to theses guys a privacy policy actually means something. I wish alot more people had the stuff to do things like that, it would be a better world for sure.
Major corporations cost most of the piracy dollars. There is a hospital system around here which I know 50% of there windows licenses and other software is pirated.... how is johnny Q downloading word to do homework hurting anyone?
Kierax 1st April 2008, 23:31 Quote
Yup I agree 1ad7, I've seen and met people who just download to download, and they are a scurge of the internet, in my view.
adamc 1st April 2008, 23:42 Quote
damn, i used torrentspy for my albums... had to get serj tankian's album off another site today :(
diasam 2nd April 2008, 00:31 Quote
EDIT: Never mind.
LordPyrinc 2nd April 2008, 00:58 Quote
Courageous? Falling on their sword? Yeah right... They know their number is up. Good or bad, they just are trying to make sure they don't loose any more money. They have already caught the attention of the MPAA and presumably had to spend $$ in lawyers fees for this particular case.

<Disclaimer> I don't agree with MPAA/RIAA tactics, all they are doing is filling a lot of lawyers pockets with money. </Disclaimer>
notatoad 2nd April 2008, 01:17 Quote
not an april fools. first news about this came out yesterday.
Krikkit 2nd April 2008, 01:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by LordPyrinc
Courageous? Falling on their sword? Yeah right... They know their number is up. Good or bad, they just are trying to make sure they don't loose any more money. They have already caught the attention of the MPAA and presumably had to spend $$ in lawyers fees for this particular case.

But they are also stopping the MPAA getting their filthy mitts on any server logs before they get seized.
War-Rasta 2nd April 2008, 16:41 Quote
I really liked the site and found it really good. The search engine was particularly good and that was what made the difference for me. I l liked other sites such as The Pirate Bay but the search engine of it is just plain bad. It had a lot of pop ups and ads but i thought it was worth it.

I admire them for shutting down instead of handing over their log files. My ip would have shown up there quite often. It's not that i'm afraid of a lawsuit (nobody has gotten sued for downloading anything in my side of the world yet), it's that I seriously think the media conglomerates that are hunting people down left and right are just hurting the very people they make their money from. I download tons of albums, that doesn't mean I would buy every album I have downloaded if I couldn't get it for free, it just means I would have a lot less music to listen to and I would know a lot less bands even existed. It also means I would have bought a lot of CDs i initially thought would be good after having listened to 1 song on the radio or at a friend's house just to realize that was the only worthy song on the whole album. The opposite has happened to me too where i didn't really think much of a particular album 'till I downloaded it, heard how good it was and went to the store and bought it for the added value of having a hard copy and the cover art. That goes for movies and software too. I'm not gonna buy a piece of software I haven't tried or that i have only tried a crippled Demo version of . If I had a penny for every time I installed something on my computer thinking it was the greatest piece of code to ever come out of human fingers just realize I was just another buggy ugly looking windows app I would have a looooot of pennys.

To me and to lots of people i know, torrents (and p2p in general) are a way to test things and also get things that you could use but would not buy for one reason or another. You may say "Well if you wouldn't buy you shouldn't use it because you're not helping the minds that built it" and you do have a point there because I'm not giving them money directly. But if I download an album of a band I like I still go to the concerts. By downloading and having access the the music or the software in question I also spread the word to about it to the people I know. Some of those people buy it, some get it the same way I did but the circle has now expanded and those people tell other people and so on.

I'm not saying piracy is good, but at least it's not what all these corporations make it appear to be and there are definetly other ways to see things.
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