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Court Rules Against TorrentSpy In MPAA Email Suit 130

Posted by Zonk
from the government-is-setting-a-great-precident-on-this dept.
mikesd81 writes "C|Net reports that a lawsuit filed by TorrentSpy against the MPAA, accusing it of intercepting the company's private e-mails, was tossed out of court this week. Even though a U.S District judge ruled that the MPAA broke no rules, the MPAA does admit it paid $15,000 to obtain private e-mails belonging to TorrentSpy executives. The MPAA's acknowledgment is significant because it comes at a time when the group is trying to limit illegal file sharing by imploring movie fans to act ethically and resist the temptation to download pirated movies. From the article: 'Ethically, it's pretty clear that reading other people's e-mail is wrong,' said Lorrie Cranor, an associate research professor and Internet privacy expert at Carnegie Mellon University. 'Being offered someone else's e-mails by a third party should have been a red flag.' TorrentSpy is appealing the decision." This is just not a good week for those guys.
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Court Rules Against TorrentSpy In MPAA Email Suit

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  • by lecithin (745575) on Friday August 31, 2007 @10:56AM (#20425643)
    "imploring movie fans to act ethically and resist the temptation to download pirated movies"

    How about -

      imploring the MPAA to act ethically and resist the temptation to download pirated emails.
    • by Red_Foreman (877991) * on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:03AM (#20425735)
      TorrentSpy should press criminal charges against the MPAA.
       
        Industrial Espionage is still illegal, and purchasing internal emails maybe fall under Industrial Espionage statutes. I am not a lawyer, but in my opinion TorrentSpy should look into filing criminal charges against the MPAA, or the agent of the MPAA that authorized the purchase of these emails, and the person that sold those emails to the MPAA.

      • MPAA likely got the e-mails indirectly from the NSA.
      • by Dan Ost (415913)
        I would love to see how this would play out. The only problem is that even if there's a legitimate case to be made, it's up to the federal prosecutors to decide if they want to pursue the case.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cez (539085)

      According to court documents, the MPAA came into possession of the e-mails after first being approached by Robert Anderson. Anderson is a former business associate of Justin Bunnell, TorrentSpy's founder.

      Besides the 15 grand they paid for these "legally" aquired emails, one wonders what else they offered Mr. Anderson... perhaps the Blue Pill? But in all seriousness, this guy just happened to spend the time and risk of hacking the email servers with no prior contact with the MPAA? That smells awfully fi

      • Robert Anderson has clarly breached the copyright of the authors of the e-mails by selling their work. How m,uch is it he has to pay per e-mail?
        • Read it again closely.

          According to court documents, the MPAA came into possession of the e-mails after first being approached by Robert Anderson. Anderson is a former business associate of Justin Bunnell, TorrentSpy's founder.

          That's just timing. It does not say that Robert Anderson supplied the e-mails.

          Anderson allegedly "hacked" into TorrentSpy's e-mail system and rigged it so that "every incoming and outgoing e-mail message would also be copied and forwarded to his anonymous Google e-mail account,

      • by Applekid (993327) on Friday August 31, 2007 @12:26PM (#20426777)

        Besides the 15 grand they paid for these "legally" aquired emails, one wonders what else they offered Mr. Anderson...
        Not that complicated. $15K for the emails, $15K for the judge or member of the judiciary (or a congressman with the power to redraw judicial districts).

        Just the cost of doing business. And to think when Valenti died there were actually some who thought the MPAA might start growing a conscience.
  • Don't want someone to know something? Don't write it in an e-mail. Any server set to do so can log anything you send through it, along with any of the hops. Ethical to purchase e-mails? Hell no, a good tactic to find out what the other side is doing? Definitely. That said the MPAA is an outdated business model and should DIAF.
    • by jedidiah (1196) on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:02AM (#20425725) Homepage
      You see there is this big fat legal distinction between the fact that a judge can order you to turn over your private emails and having some industrial spy steal them from you. The former is legal and a standard part of legal proceedings and the other is long established as a crime. The MPAA should get bitchslapped for this kind of thing. All parties involved should be raking them over the coals for this. The absolute LAST person that should be excusing this sort of behaivor is a judge. They are the sort of people that should be the first to object.

      The judge should have been pissed that the MPAA didn't file a discovery motion.
      • I was going to mod this section but I feel compelled to comment on the point your making.

        Fist let me say that I agree with you completely but your scenario is dependent on a perfect world, and we are far from that.

        For your consideration:
        1.Maybe the judge doesn't really understand how the e-mail was obtained so he thinks it's legal.

        2. Maybe he's been bribed.

        3. Maybe he's lazy and doesn't really care anymore what happens.

        No matter what the reason it shows what just how much power a judge has and
        • by jedidiah (1196)
          There is an entire federal court in East Texas dedicated to exploiting this very problem.
  • Stealing .... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So paying a third party to steal insider information and possible trade secrets isn't illegal? Can someone explain that one to me? Didn't someone just go to jail for trying to sell Coke insider info to Pepsi?
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      So paying a third party to steal insider information and possible trade secrets isn't illegal? Can someone explain that one to me? Didn't someone just go to jail for trying to sell Coke insider info to Pepsi?

      Pepsi wasn't the one prosecuted, but then Pepsi also didn't buy the information.

      TorrentSpy could sue Mr. Anderson, but there's the possibility that Mr. Anderson's internal account was always forwarding to GMail while he worked there, was a member of the management mail groups inside the company, and when he left his account was not purged nor those mail groups updated to exclude his account, resulting in communications continuing to be fowarded to his GMail account.

      If that were the case, did Mr. Anderson h

  • by spyrochaete (707033) on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:01AM (#20425701) Homepage Journal
    So, according to US law, it's illegal to hack into someone's computer to read their private data but it's legal to pay someone else to do it?

    Yet the legality of hosting a site hosting .torrent files that are not themselves infringing is being called into question?

    This seems very inconsistent to me. Is it or is it not legal to act as a proxy to potentially illegal material?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by varmittang (849469)
      "Yet the legality of hosting a site hosting .torrent files that are not themselves infringing is being called into question?"

      Giving a key to a thief that then breaks into a place using that key will get you in trouble. Since you know the .torrent leads to copy righted material and is illegal, just like you know the person you are giving the key to will steal something. Both are punishable under the US law for giving people access to material/possessions that are not theirs to take.
      • by daeg (828071)
        But you don't know. Almost every torrent site is automated. Most of them have take-down procedures, some even offer automated takedowns. Like it or not, that is enough to comply with the law.
        • by blhack (921171) *

          But you don't know. Almost every torrent site is automated. Most of them have take-down procedures, some even offer automated takedowns. Like it or not, that is enough to comply with the law.
          appearantly not. Unfortunately the law is whatever the judge decides the law is.
    • by boarder8925 (714555) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `yblirtneergeht'> on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:28AM (#20426061) Homepage

      This seems very inconsistent to me. Is it or is it not legal to act as a proxy to potentially illegal material?
      Depends on who has more money.
    • by darkmeridian (119044) <william...chuang@@@gmail...com> on Friday August 31, 2007 @12:02PM (#20426467) Homepage
      There is a difference between inducing, hiring, or causing someone to steal e-mail and buying the e-mails after he already had stolen it. The MPAA did not use the information to break the law. (As in the case of identity thieves who buy credit card numbers.) The Wiretap Act applies only against those who steal information, not against those who get it afterwards. The documents were not trade secret so there's really no other recourse available to TorrentSpy aside from perhaps getting the documents thrown out as not admissible.

      TorrentSpy should have sued the former employee who stole the information from them. There's no proof that MPAA induced the employee to violate the law. They should have sued this guy out of house and home. Instead, they worked with him to file a lawsuit against the MPAA. In doing so, they sued a party against whom they had no recourse under the Act. It was a risky strategy that did not pay off.

      There is lots of evidence that the rich are treated differently, but this isn't it.
      • by Entropius (188861)
        If the MPAA wants to play by the legal rules that intellectual property and physical property go by the same rules, then how are they not guilty of receiving stolen property?
      • by spyrochaete (707033) on Friday August 31, 2007 @12:19PM (#20426711) Homepage Journal
        I never alluded to a class-based legal divide, and I don't really understand your conclusions. So the MPAA didn't use TorrentSpy's private emails for a subsequent illegal act... does that mean I can steal a gun from your locked house as long as I only use it for target practise? Or photocopy your diary as long as I don't publish it? Is breaking and entering forgiven if the end result is benign?

        Didn't O.J. Simpson get acquitted because evidence was improperly obtained? I think methodology is more important than you claim.
        • Read his quote again:

          The Wiretap Act applies only against those who steal information, not against those who get it afterwards.

          MPAA did not steal the emails. They obtained the emails from someone who stole them. The proper analogy would be purchasing a stolen gun from someone.
          • Point taken, and you are correct. I have an unqualified hunch that the MPAA wasn't presented with the option of buying those emails - rather, they commissioned someone.
          • If you know it was stolen, wouldn't it still be illegal in the US? I'm pretty sure it would be illegal here in Germany.
        • To respond to your OJ Simpson point, criminal law and civil law are completely different because the Constitution applies to the government. The government is not allowed to use evidence obtained in contravention of the Fourth Amendment against the person whose rights were violated. But the government can use illegally-seized evidence against persons who had no Fourth Amendment right against the seizure. For instance, if the cops searched my landlord's house illegally, and found evidence that incriminates m
  • by Xonstantine (947614) on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:01AM (#20425703)
    but some are more equal than others.

    While we (the citizens) weren't paying attention, "they" have put in a two-tiered structure where the laws apply to the sheep, but not the wolves. That's why if you steal someone's SSN, you go to jail, but if you are an illegal alien, hey, it's ok. Or if the MPAA or RIAA breaks the law, harrasses and intimidates people, it's ok...they are a legimiate business interest (and we know this because of their campaign contributions). If Tyson wants to import a whole town from Guatamala to work in their chicken processing plant in Arkansas, that's ok too. "Steal" a DVD by copying it, and it's pokey time for you. All the while your Congressmen and Congresswoman are busy putting their hands in your wallets to pay for boondoggles like the $140 billion ($450,000 for every pre-Katrina man, woman, and child) for New Orleans relief, and various other Bridges to Nowhere.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by mosch (204)
      You undermine your post by bringing in illegal immigration.

      Nobody has ever really cared about people who use a false SSN to work and pay taxes, no matter their citizenship. Jail enters the picture when somebody wants to use an SSN that is assigned to somebody else to defraud.

      Please quit with the illegal alien hysteria, or at least keep it factual if you feel the need to drag retarded political bullshit into every thread.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Its called illegal alien for a reason, it is illegal, the act of being here illegally means the crime was already committed. No hysteria.

        Off topic becuase I care about illegal immigrants here. They artifically increase the supply of workers and do not support the government and well being the same way I do. What do I mean about artifially? There is too much incentive for employers to not pay a prevailing wage. If you think that does not happen, you are blind.
        If I get rear ended by an illegal immigrant
        • by mosch (204)
          I see things differently (and more intelligently).

          All of the studies I have seen about the true total cost of illegal immigration indicate that it is either a small cost or a small benefit overall. Either way, the effect is so close to neutral that I simply can't bring myself to care.

          If it's a problem, it's #923 on the list of 'things the government should think about', and it should be treated as such. People who treat it as a dire problem are propagandists, nothing more.
          • the bigger point on a site like slashdot is that we have "law and order" Republicans in power demanding we let THEM spy on honest, tax paying citizens and attack evil, terrorist countries without any oversight whatsoever. All in the name of security. What about the wide open gate to the south that lets god-knows-who in? Shouldn't that be dealt with? in the name of security, shouldn't we stop ILLEGAL immigrants from entering... after all if you can smuggle a whole box truck of drugs or living people acro
            • it was very interesting- last week I was in maine (I live in california) and I was in a hotel and spent some time talking to the hotel owner of the place that we stayed in- the hotel owner was from california and was talking about how difficult it is to run a hotel in maine because of the lack of immigrants there- that since she is forced to hire non-immigrants her staff has this huge turn over rate (quitting not firing) and it takes her almost twice the staff to run the place versus some of the larger hote
      • by morari (1080535) on Friday August 31, 2007 @12:48PM (#20426995) Journal
        I wouldn't quite call it hysteria. Illegal immigrants undermine the already pitiful minimum wage we have set up through the country, while avoiding taxes altogether. While taxes don't tend to be used to any great degree of efficiency within our country, these illegal immigrants could theoretically be holding us back from proper socialized health care because of it. Among other things. They have a tendency to use false identification in other fields as well, bypassing the need for automobile insurance and registration, again depriving the country of taxes that (theoretically) go towards road maintenance and even putting other, insurance-paying, drivers at risk. Of course, they are merely the symptom of the larger problem; the American government. These parasites wouldn't exist without their money-hungry enablers, looking for cheap, controllable labor. The people that are here illegally don't care to take the time to become a valuable part of our society, they're not the stereotypical Eastern European immigrants of old who came here with a dream, looking to be part of the American ideology. Hell, most of them don't even want to learn the language (instant red flags) and they certainly don't want to pay taxes, fake I.D. or not. I'd imagine most of them don't even plan on staying long-term and instead just want to make enough money to go back home and do something with... build a taco-stand perhaps?
        • by mosch (204)
          while avoiding taxes altogether.

          False.

          Undocumented workers use false SSNs specifically so they can get employment in places that withhold and pay taxes. If they were working under the table, the whole SSN issue wouldn't be an argument.

          The rest of your post is just racist idiocy. I mean, there is no possible way to show that Mexicans are somehow inferior to European immigrants, or that they don't want to become part of society. And most of your other complaints are things that relate to smaller subsets o
          • by morari (1080535)
            There was no racism whatsoever in my post. I refer only to illegal immigrants, who tend to be predominately Mexican. Obviously not all Mexicans are in our country illegally, but the problem demographic for illegals certainly are "spics". It's nothing more than squares and rectangles. Nor did I even come close to saying that European immigrants are superior, only that the traditional image one has of them is someone crossing the ocean to open a deli during the Great Depression. They would not have expected e
            • by gonzo67 (612392)
              1st Use of the epithet "Spics" is racist in and of itself.

              2nd. Beyond the use of false SSNs to get hired, illegal immigrants do contribute to the tax base by their spending. As they rent a place, the tax on that rental income is sent in by the landlord. They buy clothes, food, etc. Again, taxes are paid.

              3rd. By the use of false SSNs, the majority of illegal immigrants will never collect on the social security they paid into.

              4th. The majority of illegal immigrants that cross our southern borders are no
            • by darqit (1040654)

              I don't want to get mixed up in the

              you're a racist

              am not

              are too

              type of argument but it is categorically false to state that european immigrants came to the US with other dreams than the illegal (according to your post) predominantly mexican immigrants. People immigrate not because they think the american dream will make them rich but because the economical situation in their own country is sucks. These people don't hate their home country but can't see themselves making a living there.

              As for the eu

          • Just look at the cal/mexico border, the mexican side is a dump wasteland hole.

            And please, go check the stats out.... there a lot of illegals that cause serious car accidents and commit crimes of violent nature.

            And the final big point, the mexican govt is the biggest corrupt cartel that helps the drug lords via the military sell billions in drugs to usa locals.

          • I'm related to LEGAL Mexicans. It's quite insulting to them for those that sneak across because they pay thousands of dollars and have to hold jobs and wait 7 years to be real citizens. Most of them do a great deal of supporting families back home (and the money they earn here at modest wages makes them "rich" in Mexico).
            the side note is that in the name of "security" GW is making 20 million LEGAL US citizens get passports to VISIT Mexico or Canada because WE can't be trusted? We will soon have to have
      • You undermine your post by bringing in illegal immigration.

        Au contraire. I live in Texas. Guess what happens if you are in a car collision with an illegal alien without identification or insurance that was his or her fault? More often than not, the police simply let them go. You and the police get a fake name, a fake number, and a fake address...and the bill for the collision. Try that as a citizen.

        Same thing with hospitals. If you are an indigent citizen and go for treatment in an emergency room, they will treat you, and then do everything they can post-

        • by mosch (204)
          Talk to the emergency rooms in a Northern city sometime. They'll tell you about costs incurred by legal citizens who simply lie about their identity to avoid payment (or who are simply indigent, thus making any collection attempt futile, and a waste of funds.)

          Similar situations occur when the very poor decide they need cars, because of a lack of public transportation. Many of those cars are unsafe, unregistered and uninsured. My registration stickers have been stolen many times by people who use them to
          • As such I continue to say that there is no point in mentioning illegal immigration there, unless your goal was to weaken your primary argument, or demonstrate that you lack anything resembling vision and intelligence. (of course you already demonstrated that when you voted for Bush the second time.)
            And YOUR argument is undermined by the fact I didn't vote for Bush either the first time or the second time.
            • by kramulous (977841)
              Let me guess, you exercised you right as an American and chose not to vote?
            • by mosch (204)
              Hilarious.

              You're a racist idiot from Texas. You either voted for Bush or you didn't bother because you already knew which color your state was.

              Either way, we all know you're 100% GOP propganda buying idiot. You've proved that in a least a dozen times.

              i mean, honestly... you're claiming that ILLEGAL ALIENS are getting some sort of amazingly sweet deal, because they get to work long hours, for low pay, with the constant threat of deportation lingering over their head.

              only a far-gone, right-wing retard would
              • No, you're the idiot kosbot.

                Illegal aliens aren't a privileged overclass, they are the means by which the elite are destroying the working class. First, by having illegals take the jobs of the working class Americans, and secondly, by making those lucky enough to keep their jobs pay for all of the ancillary costs of illegal immigration, like higher hospital bills, higher insurance premiums, and higher education costs. I'm not racist you fuckwit, my fiance is Latino, so go fuck yourself and go back to p
                • by mosch (204)
                  You might like one particular Latino, but I can tell you hate spics, you racist fuck.

                  You still claimed in your original post that illegal immigrants are members of a privileged overclass, an allegation so absurd as to prove that you are nothing more than a waste of carbon.

                  Please, for god's sake, kill yourself right the fuck now, you awful, racist idiot.

                  And whatever you do, don't claim more bullshit that illegal aliens are tools of the overclass to undermine the working class. Only the dumbest fucking idiot
  • Corpprate Mole/Corporate espionage agent.

    Now you don't even have to hide, since apparently what you are doing is legal now. wtf?
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:05AM (#20425765) Homepage
    It's illegal to buy any good that is obtained through illegal means. I can't believe that at a minimum, the MPAA executives didn't violate a state law. Maybe TorrentSpy needs to contact a local attorney and see what options they have under state law. I find it very hard to believe that agreeing to pay for data gained through hacking is legal in any state in the United States.
    • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Soruk (225361)
      This is the MPAA we're talking about. It's quite obvious from this that they are above the law, that US law just doesn't apply to them. Anything they do is legal because of who it is who is doing it. The victim is therefore automatically in the wrong.

      OK, this is (hopefully) complete bullsh!t but I'd actually like to see some evidence that what I wrote in the above paragraph is wrong.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:27AM (#20426051)
      TorrentSpy's case was based on the assertion that the MPAA violated the Federal Wiretap Act.

      All that this ruling means is that in the opinion of this court they did not.

      It does not grant carte blance access to industrial espionage. It does not mean that the MPAA violated no other laws.

      For a group of people who are picky about minor details of technical arguments you all assume a lot about legal ones.
    • by SL Baur (19540)

      I can't believe that at a minimum, the MPAA executives didn't violate a state law.

      They weren't charged with breaking any old state law. TFA says they were charged with violating the Federal Wiretap Act. The judge felt that they had not. The judge also felt that they failed to prove that any trade secrets were lost. It doesn't sound like they were guilty of anything. Sleazy maybe, but not guilty of a crime. I have a feeling that TorrentSpy might have had more success going after the guy who broke into their mail system.

    • isn't this the same law HP's president Dunn broke.. it's the EXACT same thing. She didn't tell them to break the law, they brought her the illegally obtained records and she ran with it. Why is it OK for the MPAA lawyers but not for a company prez that was merely overzelous in their pursuit of an internal matter?
  • Is it legal to intercept and sell emails? if not, then wouldn't it be illegal to purchase said emails? The way the ex-employee got a hold of the emails sounded really fishy to me, as in, it sounded illegal. Isn't it illegal to purchase knowingly stolen items? Due to the very fact that the emails were obviously not addressed to them, wouldn't it be obvious to the MPAA that the emails were stolen and therefore would either A) need to go about verifying they're legit before acquiring them or B) turn them do
  • you pay off the right judges, erm, make campaign contributions to elected judges...
  • since when "i have paid tens of thousands of dollars to acquire something that is private to someone/company by all laws" is not illegal ? or did judge get paid too ?
  • Wait... what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bonker (243350) on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:17AM (#20425923)

    According to court documents, the MPAA came into possession of the e-mails after first being approached by Robert Anderson. Anderson is a former business associate of Justin Bunnell, TorrentSpy's founder.

    Anderson allegedly "hacked" into TorrentSpy's e-mail system and rigged it so that "every incoming and outgoing e-mail message would also be copied and forwarded to his anonymous Google e-mail account," records show.


    How the HELL is this not a felony?!
    • Re:Wait... what? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Otter (3800) on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:32AM (#20426111) Journal
      No one is saying that that's legal. The question is whether the MPAA should have known they were obtained illegally when Anderson sold the emails to them, claiming they had been obtained legally.

      Anyway, I'm sure some combination of "they weren't stolen, they were copied" and ""let's say you leave your back door unlocked and I..." is sufficient to make all of this OK.

      • No one is saying that that's legal. The question is whether the MPAA should have known they were obtained illegally when Anderson sold the emails to them, claiming they had been obtained legally.

        Anyway, I'm sure some combination of "they weren't stolen, they were copied" and ""let's say you leave your back door unlocked and I..." is sufficient to make all of this OK.

        I think you've unwittingly hit the solution to this whole thing.

        The emails were copied without authorization. That's a copyright violatio

  • By using them as the foundation for a lawsuit the MPAA violated the copyrights related to those emails. So torrentspy should countersue for the value attached to the infringement, the cost of the settlement from the lawsuit plus torrentspy's lawyer costs.
    • I was thinking the same thing. But you have to figure out what the value of those copyrighted emails are so you can make a case.

      If they are full of company trade secrets then the value might be tremendous. Say $45,000 per infringing piece of email that was copied? :)
  • I don't get it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:23AM (#20426013)
    Tampering and stealing physical mail is a federal crime...
    yet theft of digital mail is A-OK?

    I want to have what that judge is smoking.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by macrom (537566)
      In the United States, physical mail is provided by a federal institution, the US Postal Service. This is why tampering with standard mail is a crime. AFAIK, tampering with packages from other carriers (FedEx, DHL, UPS, etc) does not carry a federal penalty, though other laws may apply. Digital mail is the same -- it's not a service provided by a federal office (and neither are the networks through which digital mail flows) so there is no federal crime. Again, unless there is some sort of particular law tha
  • Screw them. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdot@NOspam.gmail.com> on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:27AM (#20426047) Homepage Journal
    If you want to download movies, do it. Unless the MAFIAA starts giving you decent prices, you're not morally obligated to pay their stratospheric fees.

    I support civil disobedience. Just encrypt your stuff (hint: WASTE P2P) and do it at your own risk.
  • Only one question... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by pla (258480) on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:28AM (#20426063) Journal
    a lawsuit filed by TorrentSpy against the MPAA, accusing it of intercepting the company's private e-mails

    We already know that the **AA can get away with whatever it wants, and that most judges have as much integrity as most politicians.

    But what I want to know here - Why did TorrentSpy sue rather than pressing charges? This doesn't sounds like a civil offense, it sounds like an outright criminal action on the parts of both the MPAA and Anderson.

    We should have people looking at going to prison over this, not having some petty countersuit thrown out of court.
  • by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918 AT gmail DOT com> on Friday August 31, 2007 @11:33AM (#20426129)
    Two parts of this article do not make sense together:

      "...he signed a contract stating he had come by the correspondence through lawful means."

    "Anderson allegedly "hacked" into TorrentSpy's e-mail system and rigged it so that "every incoming and outgoing e-mail message would also be copied and forwarded to his anonymous Google e-mail account," records show."
    • by Tanuki64 (989726)
      Of course it is legal. It is as legal as downloading movies. Ok, there is the saying that two wrongs make no right, but I always supposed this was invented by those who wronged first and wanted to protect themselves from retaliation. The MPAA is leading an ethical campaign? For me, when it comes to ethics, I find it unethical to pay for music and movies. Paying for movies is for me the same as supporting a terrorists group. Don't do it.
    • by bcattwoo (737354)
      He told them that he had obtained the emails legally. He lied. Is that so hard to understand?
      • by Tanuki64 (989726)

        He told them that he had obtained the emails legally. He lied. Is that so hard to understand?
        I get my movies and music always legally. At least my friends on emule and bittorrent tell me they have the rights to distribute the stuff. Is this so hard to understand?
        • by bcattwoo (737354)

          I get my movies and music always legally. At least my friends on emule and bittorrent tell me they have the rights to distribute the stuff. Is this so hard to understand?
          You know darn well they don't. It isn't clear whether they knew he shouldn't have had legal access to those emails or not. It is conceivable that someone privy to those emails leaked them.
  • "Blah blah blah blah, bleh bleh bleh bleh, bwagwawga bgawgagwa more cash brwhawahaha"
  • "from the government-is-setting-a-great-precident-on-this dept." ... well, firstly the institution making the ruling is called the "judiciary" which is not the same as "the government" (regardless of what Bush thinks). secondly, torrentspy is nothing but a haven for copyright infringement ... I'd like someone to find me just 10 examples of non-copyright infringed content from torrentspy. i love getting the occassional stargate series, or whatever, with the aid of search engines such as torrent spy but I'm n
    • by Tanuki64 (989726)

      secondly, torrentspy is nothing but a haven for copyright infringement ...

      Ah, I understand. And this makes torrentspy an outlaw, with absolutely no rights? Fine. If I am searching /. I surely find an article where the MPAA or RIAA abuse the DMCA or do something else illegal. Therefore these organisations does not have any rights whatsoever anymore and downloading is officially legal.

      Is this what you meant, or did I misinterpret you somehow?

      • by whichpaul (733708)
        Yawn... yeah sure I'm crying that someone acquired e-mails that caught torrentspy execs admitting the're engaged in illegal activity. The only people who care here are losers who haven't woken up to the fact that copyrighted material costs money to produce and needs to be paid for. Next time the FBI intercepts some e-mails from the mafia and manages to send some drug lord to jail I'll be looking for all the porn leeches protesting in the streets. Do you know for a fact that someone inside torrentspy didn't
        • by Tanuki64 (989726)

          Next time the FBI intercepts some e-mails from the mafia
          So RIAA/MPAA = FBI in your opinion. I don't think I have more to discuss with you.
          • by whichpaul (733708)
            Oh, please? I was enjoying our inane conversation. Come back, please!!! 70 posts and counting ...
  • Forget whether this involved breaking into computers or not. It sounds to me that the MPAA did not have copyright over these emails. Therefore copying them was piracy, right?
  • The MPAA's acknowledgement is significant because it comes at a time when the group is trying to limit illegal file sharing by imploring movie fans to act ethically and resist the temptation to download pirated movies.

    Morality can be a cover story of the vicious and manipulative, who set up rules so they can break them. People who mean well but are unaccustomed to the reality that life is combat, will try to follow the rules that are actually set up to constrain them.

    I will always pursue an option where I d
  • by deets (1072072) on Friday August 31, 2007 @12:22PM (#20426737)
    OK, so I can pay someone, who had already copied a movie before they talked to me, for a copy of a movie, right? I am getting the movie leagally, by purchasing it.
  • If you feel this judge is especially wrong, clueless, or even really right on, about this, you can make your views heard at The Robing Room. [therobingroom.com] This actually seems to carry some weight in some circles.
  • Hell, they should have purposely fed misinformation through that channel. Man, what fun could have been had. Such a missed opportunity. Hmm. Maybe I should set up a tracker site just as a honey pot for them.
  • For people, business and government it seems that ethics are only important when they are convenient. It seems that they are not convenient very often anymore.
    • by Tanuki64 (989726)
      They are only when they are in a weaker position. To influence at least a few stupid people, who might buy into it. Ethics and laws are fine when one interacts with his neighbours or colleagues. When it comes to corporations they can rightfully be ignored. I mean 'rightfully' not in the same sense as 'legally'.
  • Can you say Criminal Conspiracy?

    I thought you could.
  • "In court records, the MPAA said that the person who obtained the e-mails did so before approaching the group with an offer to sell the information and that he signed a contract stating he had come by the correspondence through lawful means."

    While I'm sure the RIAA knew they were in a gray area, they did cover their asses.
    • If I buy a stolen stereo, and make the seller sign a statement that it isn't stolen, that doesn't change the fact that I am no longer the owner of said stereo after it is taken into evidence. If you illegally record a conversation, then sell that tape - claiming it was legally obtained - it doesn't change the fact that it cannot be used as part of a prosecution (I'm not sure about civil law, to be honest, but I suspect illegally obtained evidence is not admissible in most cases).

      All they've done is tried t
    • Anyone got the guys address and GPS coords and googlemap URL for his address?

      How about sending a billion $$$s worth of illegal DVDs to his address?

  • Warning slashdotters; the dark lord is coming take your soul! Or is it the MPAA? (Is that pronounced "oompa"?)
  • They seem to have covered their asses, since the guy broke into bittorrents computers without the MPAA's knowledge they cannot be held liable, if he had done it after they had hired him then things would be different. But they can also not use these emails in any trial ever again since it has been discovered they were obtained illegally. Bittorrent plain and simple sued the wrong party over this, in fact the MPAA could probably now sue this guy for entrapment also, by claiming he got the emails legally (h

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