TorrentSpy operators held liable

From Bloomberg News

Online file-sharing service is liable for extensive movie piracy because it destroyed evidence in a copyright case, a federal judge has ruled, handing a victory to Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures and other studios.

TorrentSpy operators Justin Bunnell, Forrest Parker and Wes Parker were held liable for infringement because they deleted important case files and gave false statements, said the ruling by U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper in Los Angeles.

The defendants “engaged in widespread and systematic efforts to destroy evidence and have provided false testimony under oath in an effort to hide evidence of such destruction,” Cooper said in the Dec. 13 order, adding that sanctions were appropriate in this case because of “extraordinary circumstances.”

No date was set for a hearing to determine damages.

Members of the Motion Picture Assn. of America, a film industry trade group, sued TorrentSpy in 2006, accusing it of illegally allowing users around the world to download and store full-length movies using software called BitTorrent. The software lets users share large files with others on the same network, making it popular for exchanging music and games.

TorrentSpy is based in Amsterdam, where its servers are located. The defendants are U.S. citizens.