June 22, 2006 6:10 PM PDT

Torrentspy names alleged MPAA hacker

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Sometime after, Anderson had a change of heart, according to a signed statement by Anderson that was included in the court filing. In fact, Anderson was actually acquainted with Bunnell. He had done some marketing work for another company associated with Bunnell, Anderson said in his statement, but his relationship with the Torrentspy founder apparently ended acrimoniously in April 2005.

"After our business relationship ended, I was upset with Justin Bunnell," Anderson said in the statement. He then contacted the MPAA and offered to retrieve information on Torrentspy executives including Bunnell, as well as other Torrent file search engines.

Anderson has provided a written agreement signed by an MPAA executive and other documentation related to Anderson being hired to gather information on Torrentspy and its executives, said Ira Rothken, Valence Media's attorney.

Also included in the filing is a copy of the alleged contract that was signed by Anderson and MPAA executives. Some of the information filed with the court was obscured, including names. Rothken said the names of Anderson and MPAA executives can be found on the original contract.

The purported contract includes a paragraph calling for the gathering of information on other peer-to-peer companies and torrent directories at odds with the MPAA, including The Pirate Bay, eXeem and Mininova.

Importantly, the contract specifies that the MPAA expected information to be obtained through legal means.

Such statements won't save the MPAA from liability in this case, argued Rothken. "There's an irony that they could put a clause into a contact and that would allow them to turn a blind eye to hiring a hacker," Rothken said. "There's no magical term that lets them off the hook."

Valence Media's latest filing, which asks for unspecified damages, comes after the company and the MPAA met over a 10-day period to discuss turning over whatever Anderson had provided the trade association, according to the lawsuit. The talks were unsuccessful, Rothken said.

It's unclear what prompted Anderson to cooperate with Torrentspy and risk possible criminal prosecution. "The only person that would know the precise answer to that is him," Rothken said. "We believe that he broke the law in a serious manner...we're encouraged that after making a big mistake he's now mitigating his wrongdoing by providing information about things he did so we can take remedial action against the MPAA."

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16 comments

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MPAA and RIAA
These two groups need to be disbanded. They are as guilty as the folks they are chasing down.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.techknowcafe.com/content/view/547/42/" target="_newWindow">http://www.techknowcafe.com/content/view/547/42/</a>
Posted by (156 comments )
Reply Link Flag
By any means necessary
Bah....what does a little bending and breaking of the law matter as long as the execs get their yearly bonus.
Posted by Jonathan (832 comments )
Reply Link Flag
teft - not
Copyright infringement does not constitute theft as per most legal definitions.

Theft typically requires physically removing something from someone elses possession, coupled with the intent to deprive them of its use. Copyright infringement physically removes nothing (since a copy is being made) and although it may deprive the owner of the rights of some potential income, it does not deprive them of the use of the original.

Check it out with a lawyer if you do not believe me.
Posted by wasserfish (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Come on
On the other hand, it seems pretty clear to me that torrentspy and the like profit from illegal activities.

Who buys this whole "we're just a search engine" crap anyway ? It would not be that hard for them to make sure that they do not index copyrighted material by implementing a name-matching function (don't index files with DVDRIP in their names, or files containing names of popular warez groups,files with 'screener').

Just start browsing the website and you see torrent of copyrighted material immediately. They could take it down if they wanted to, but instead wait until they are contacted (and by the time they take down the infringing material, somebody else has already posted a new link).
Posted by damienlittre (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
So...
So I guess Google is guilty too? Or Yahoo. Or MSN. You can find illegal torrents there too along with many things as well. Removing stuff you "think" is illegal is censorship. The only way to know for sure it is illegal is to download it, which would THEN be an illegal activity.

This runs around the same line as the senitor that was touting a particular filtering software. This software flagged the text of the Constition as obscene, as well as the senitor's own website (his name was Dick).

No company should be forced to censor; nor is it a search engines job to try and determine what is illegal or not. It is simply not possible. If it was cut and dry as to what is legal or not, then we would not need a court system.
Posted by umbrae (1073 comments )
Link Flag
Hmmmm...
If you told someone, "Hey, there's a guy on the next street selling drugs!" would you be breaking the law for "indexing" drug traffic? Maybe you'd be an accomplice. Would your defense be that you're just stating a fact? Seems like a good defense, but I suppose a good prosecutor could get you locked up for a few years. Wouldn't be fair, though.
Posted by skeeboe.com (10 comments )
Link Flag
blocking filenames
As for filtering the filenames this would just result in the illegal content being re-seeded under a 'clean' name. Unless of course you are suggesting that ONLY the media companies can use names that contain their works or names that contain part of their works.

For instance should LucasFilms be the ONLY companiy that can use:

SWE1,SWE2 etc
Star Wars
Starry War 1

Should Sony only be able to use words such as:

Spears
B. Murphy
One more time

pretty soon EVERY word would become illegal due to the possible reference to a piece of someone's Copyrighted works!


I can post a file CALLED ANYTHING I WANT and the only grounds that the Media Robber Barrons could complain on is IF the content really was copyrighted or if the name of the file was a copy righted or protected phrase.

So yeah maybe they SHOULD filter out files that contain the COMPLETE (and ONLY the complete) name of a copyrighted work but then again maybe not. Should the file 'Star Wars Sucks' be blocked because it has the name of a movie in it? What if it's a clip of some girl ranting about how Star Wars sucks because her boyfriend dresses up like Annikan and shows him wearing goofy clothes playing a big stick he calls a light saber?
Posted by The user with no name (259 comments )
Link Flag
peerweb.org & other g2 gnutella sites
are still all over the place. much harder to shut down the network and remove the files. a little slower sometimes thats the price you have to pay sometimes.
Posted by yohohoandabottleofrum (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Eliminating piracy via name filtering is like blocking the sun with a sieve
What the subject says.
Posted by quasarstrider (439 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Will Robert Anderson be charged with a crime?
If the charges in this story are correct, Robert Anderson has committed a Federal crime.

This should be interesting.
Posted by Arbalest05 (83 comments )
Reply Link Flag
indeed
Doing something illegal for legal purposes? hmmm

Well, I guess it's illegal unless the government has you do it/or they do it.
Posted by the liquid man (44 comments )
Link Flag
No, he won't be.
Robert Anderson lives in Canada. I'm pretty sure that he couldn't be
prosecuted under U.S. law. However, if a charge were brought
against him in Canada, he would probably be liable.
Posted by GUYINTHECHAIR (7 comments )
Link Flag
Look, I get it, but . . .
Okay, Hollywood, as a website co-owner and small media
company co-owner, I understand the whole "we own the
content" thing, but I to employ a hacker to illegally get
information about people downloading movies (and the RIAA's
similar tactics), then sue 'em for it is (1) illegal from an evidence
stand-point, (2) under the old proverb, "two wrongs don't make
a right", and (3) nothing to worry about if heavy copy protection
is encoded into the film prints and DVDs that are coming out
(see Underworld Evolution for new copy protection schemes,
very well done, I applaude it). But to hire this fellow to swipe
data? Nope. Sorry. That's stealing. I'm on Torrentspy's side on
this one, and I own media property of various sorts at my two
companies. No, we don't dump content, especially from the
media company, onto the Net, but we don't copyright the
podcast or blogs under a restrictive copyright, either. In the
position we're in, piracy may help with exposure, but not the
bottom-line (my accountant doesn't want to read that).

I crap on Hollywood for using a hacker, but applaude them for
new copy protection techniques. And I applaude Torrentspy and
that lady last year your slammed a countersuit against the RIAA
for using the same techniques. Strange how the RIAA suits are
drying up for just randomness, because, gasp! they need to get
"real" evidence through "legal" means (tell the FBI, the FBI goes
to a judge, presents the case, gets a warrant, goes to house,
takes said computer, ergo, the legal process upheld).

Programmer #A-5 of www.totallyparanoia.com

PS I also own restraunts, but only had maybe $50 total in stolen
food over ten years taken from me.
Posted by fakespam (239 comments )
Reply Link Flag
LOL @ applause for Underworld2 Copy Protections
From my understanding from reading various Forums (because OF COURSE I do not violate the DMCA myself!) your precious Underworld2 CP was NO protection at against anyone who has been backing up movies for more than a few weeks.

While I DO NOT condone the theft of OPP I also DO NOT condone the theft of a consumer's rights to back up their media as well as their Fair Use rights. For instance, people actually being able to WATCH a movie that they purchased from a different region once they get home to their region 1 dvd player, or making their own ringtones from their legally purchased music instead of having to pay YET AGAIN for a SNIPPET of the same song!

Of course as a 'content creator' and your applause of CP that take away people rights, I'm guessing that you also would be just as happy as the RIAA and MPAA to have your customers keep purchasing the same crap from you over and over as well instead of being able to make fair use of the purchased products.
Posted by The user with no name (259 comments )
Link Flag
 

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