Dramatic turns in the MPAA battle against movie piracy

Three months after the Motion Picture Association of America expanded its courtroom battles against unauthorized movie file downloading and began suing informational Web services, in addition to sites actually enabling unauthorized movie file sharing, Torrentspy has responded with a countersuit, of sorts.

Three months after the Motion Picture Association of America expanded its courtroom battles against unauthorized movie file downloading and began suing informational Web services, in addition to sites actually enabling unauthorized movie file sharing, Torrentspy has responded with a countersuit, of sorts.

Torrentspy, which calls itself “the largest BitTorrent search engine,” has filed a “Complaint for damages and injunctive relief” against the MPAA in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, accusing the MPAA of hiring a hacker to illegally obtain information from Torrentspy, according to CNET reports:

information that the man allegedly pilfered included a spreadsheet containing Torrentspy income and expenses from January to June 2005, copies of private e-mails between Torrentspy employees, detailed information on the company's servers, and billing information

Torrentspy’s legal action against the MPAA follows the MPAA’s suit against Torrentspy:

Torrentspy is trying to obscure the facts to hide the fact that they are facilitating thievery. We are confident that our lawsuit against them will be successful because the law is on our side," said the MPAA, as reported by CNET.

The legal drama playing out in the movie file-swapping world is reminiscent of the legal battles that shaped the music downloading world. I noted in my “Napster’s ironic pitch”:

Napster.com is buying costly full–page print ads to simply say “Napster.com is now free”. It is ironic that a brand known for building a free, online peer-to-peer music file sharing viral network, is now using paid print-media (The Village Voice) to drive people online to use a music service that is being characterized as “now free”.

As the Web 1.0 Napster saga lives on, Web 2.0 content sharing hubs, such as YouTube, are just beginning to grapple over the wants of content consumers, the needs of content owners, the rights of content creators, and their own desires to make money.

What will be the future of movie file sharing? Join the conversation: “Talk Back” below and share your thoughts.

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