It turns out that movie piracy does pay – just not for the pirates, as you might expect. The MPAA’s drawn-out battle with BitTorrent search engine TorrentSpy finally came to a dramatic end this week, with a $111 million dollar judgment against the site.
According to CNET, Los Angeles U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper handed the fine down to TorrentSpy owners Valence Media along with a permanent injunction forcing the site to cease operations (though it voluntarily shuttered its site in March to avoid users further incriminating themselves). The court calculated the fine by adding $30,000 for every one of 3,699 movies and TV shows illegally distributed.
Not surprisingly, the MPAA executives were pleased with the ruling. “The demise of TorrentSpy is a clear victory for the studios and demonstrates that such pirate sites will not be allowed to continue to operate without facing relentless litigation by copyright holders,” MPAA CEO Dan Glickman said in a statement. Representatives from TorrentSpy have yet to publicly comment on the ruling.
But one major question remains – where the money will come from. TorrentSpy’s financial situation through the trial has come off fragile at best, and the Washington Post now reports that parent company Valence Media has recently filed for bankruptcy in a U.K. court.