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Court Rules Against TorrentSpy In MPAA Email Suit

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the government-is-setting-a-great-precident-on-this dept.

Movies 130

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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The MPAA wants us to act ethically??? (4, Funny)

lecithin (745575) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:The MPAA wants us to act ethically??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20425707)

Of course they want everyone else acting ethically.

Nobody likes a playing field that's even, when it can be weighted against their opponents.

Re:The MPAA wants us to act ethically??? (5, Interesting)

Red_Foreman (877991) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:The MPAA wants us to act ethically??? (0)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426739)

MPAA likely got the e-mails indirectly from the NSA.

Re:The MPAA wants us to act ethically??? (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427309)

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:The MPAA wants us to act ethically??? (2, Interesting)

cez (539085) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425843)

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 fishy too me. Perhaps someone out there needs to "legally" aquire some MPAA emails and find out the truthiness of this.

Re:The MPAA wants us to act ethically??? (1)

ringman8567 (895757) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426071)

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?

Re:The MPAA wants us to act ethically??? (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426903)

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," records show.

Allegedly. Note: that is the same procedure as the NSA program.

Anderson contacted Dean Garfield, the MPAA's senior legal counsel, in June 2005. Anderson told Garfield that he had an informant who supplied him with the e-mails.

So, he either allegedly hacked the TorrentSpy e-mail software, *or* an informant supplied him with the e-mails.

Well, if he hacked the e-mail software, he would not need an informant.

The entire article is full of questions and possibly disinformation.

Re:The MPAA wants us to act ethically??? (3, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

they have no ethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426119)

only personal interests.

God Smack Your Ass !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20425661)


God Smack Your Ass !!

Store and forward (1)

APE992 (676540) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425677)

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.

Re:Store and forward (5, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425725)

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.

Re:Store and forward (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426169)

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 what the consequences are of that nearly unchecked power are.

Stealing .... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20425679)

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?

Re:Stealing .... (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427031)

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 have any obligation to inform TorrentSpy that he was continuing to receive the e-mails, or even treat them as secret? Do boilerplate signatures like:

The information transmitted may contain confidential material and is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of or taking of any action by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please delete the information from your system and contact the sender.
truly have any force of law? (IMO, binding contracts don't use the word "please". IANAL.)

Get Zonk A Spellchecker (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20425681)

from the government-is-setting-a-great-precident-on-this dept.

What the fuck is a precident? Is that like a precedent spelled only by idiots?

And to think Zonk is an editor when he can't even spell in his clumsy attempt to be a smartass.

Re:Get Zonk A Spellchecker (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426595)

Not only is Zonk a stupid fucktard who can't fucking spell, he is a stupid communist loving fucktard who should go run find a razor, run a hot bath, and slit his fucking wrists.

GO AHEAD FUCKING FLAME AWAY OR WASTE YOUR GODDAMNED MODPOINTS FUCKTARDED SHITDOT SHEEPLE!
BETTER YET, SLIT YOUR FUCKING WRISTS FUCKTARDED SHITDOT SHEEPLE!

Sadly this is the correct decision (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20425689)

TorrentSpy is unfortunately in the wrong on this one. You can decry activist judges and hate on the MPAA and its brethren, but if you study the issues at play in this case and others like it, one thing is clear: illegal bittorrent aggregators need to be shut down. They are simply facilitating illegal trading of copyrighted works. Don't like the law? Change it. But the fact is, as the law exists today, TorrentSpy and others like it have no place, no legal place, in the United States.

Re:Sadly this is the correct decision (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20425891)

You do realize that Google are also "facilitating illegal trading of copyrighted works"

Try this http://www.google.com/search?hl=sv&q=filetype%3Ato rrent+medieval&btnG=S%C3%B6k&meta= [google.com] , should we try to close down Google to?

Most things can be used to commit criminal acts but we should still only convict the person who committed the criminal act, not the store that sold the baseball bat that was used to break a window.

Re:Sadly this is the correct decision (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426025)

Yes, I do think Google should be shut down, you arrogant assknob.

You think YouTube is just chock full of LEGAL videos? Bullshit.

Google's crawler can be told to not crawl your copyrighted works via robots.txt, but the rest of Google's content (YouTube, their plans to digitize the LOC) is 100% illegal and should be shut down. Doofus hippies like yourself don't give a flying fuck about other peoples' rights and property. The rest of us care.

Re:Sadly this is the correct decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426427)

Ah yes, now we have people confusing creative intangible works with physical property. Bravo, troll. :)

Re:Sadly this is the correct decision (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20427997)

posting anonymously because I want to tell this troll to f--- off. I know i know don't feed the trolls but there comes a time when I can't help myself :p

you want Google Shut down? really? Because it can crawl copyrighted works. most of the time people allow it to so that people who are interested in said copyrighted works can use a free commonly used tool to locate it. should we shut down librarys too, and have every book in a book store sealed in hard plastic with a lock that is removed when you purchase the book? because flipping through a book at a bookstore is stealing according to you're retarded view of copyright law.

And the plans to Digitize the LOC? That's not "100% illegal"... a lot of the works in the LOC are public domain by now, so is providing public domain publications illegal? Do the people who republish Shakespeare pay the Shakespeare estate? nope... the copyright on that ended a LONG time ago.

You should read a bit on copyright law and realize that not all copying is illegal, and know that copyrights end, and they should end. and know why they should end. and maybe you'll become more enlightened in the whole what is legal and illegal. (also Youtube has a TON of legal videos. most of the video's I've seen are either not copyrighted, put there by the copyright owner for public consumption, Public Domain, or the copyright has lapsed. Look to see It's a wonderful world up there. Since the copyright on that movie lapsed, I'm sure it's up there 100% legally. Look up the copyright of It's a Wonderful World, and look to see why it became a christmas classic. and you'll see that if I download that movie, it's not stealing. It's a public domain movie now. Look up what public domain is.

Also look up the fair use clauses.

Heck while youre looking things up, look up the goal of the LOC, and maybe it would enlighten you as to why Google wants to digitize it.

Fuck the Law. (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426425)

The law exists to serve the people, not a subset of the people. I bet you hated the 'Underground Railroad' when you learned about it last year in History class, huh?

Re:Fuck the Law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20427273)

Very clever.

Now go fix me a sandwich, bitch.

Are you the guy who mows my lawn? (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427889)

'Cause you're doing a shitty job, and I'm gonna hire some Puerto Ricans who'll do a better job for less.

The law actually says you're wrong. (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20428175)

illegal bittorrent aggregators need to be shut down.

Except, as far as I know, it's not illegal (yet) to merely be a tracker, let alone an "aggregator", assuming you know what that word means.

Don't like the law? Change it.

It looks like the MPAA/RIAA have taken your advice. Whenever they don't like the law, they buy a Congressman and get it changed.

But the fact is, as the law exists today, the RIAA, the MPAA, and others like them have no place, no legal place, in the United States.

Fixed it for you.

I'm sorry, but if you've actually read what happened here, they were buying emails from their opponents. We have a legal process for reading your opponent's email -- it's called "discovery". An organization willing to resort to illegal tactics to accomplish that has no place suing anyone for anything -- fucking hypocrites.

Am I reading this right?! (5, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425701)

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:Am I reading this right?! (2, Informative)

varmittang (849469) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425913)

"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.

Re:Am I reading this right?! (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427355)

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.

Re:Am I reading this right?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20425945)

The reason it's legal to pay somebody is quite simple. Money is changing hands. The United States is not a democracy, it's become a capitalist nation. What's that, capitalism isn't isn't a form of government? What else could it possibly be called when your politicians and laws are up for bid to the highest bidder?

Re:Am I reading this right?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426429)

That's called fascism.

Re:Am I reading this right?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426713)

Or maybe corporatism, it doesnt matter and ass is an ass whenever red, brown or gold plated.

Re:Am I reading this right?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426963)

I thought that was called a plutocracy?

Re:Am I reading this right?! (4, Insightful)

boarder8925 (714555) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426061)

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.

Re:Am I reading this right?! (4, Interesting)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426467)

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.

Re:Am I reading this right?! (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426613)

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?

Re:Am I reading this right?! (4, Insightful)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426711)

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.

Re:Am I reading this right?! (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427627)

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.

Re:Am I reading this right?! (1)

spyrochaete (707033) | more than 6 years ago | (#20428171)

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.

Re:Am I reading this right?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20428313)

The MPAA did not use the information to break the law.

Did they have the permission of the original email authors to own a copy of them? If not, then I'd say that they broke some copyright laws.

verification word: mutually

All animals are equal (4, Insightful)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:All animals are equal (0, Offtopic)

mosch (204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425933)

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:All animals are equal (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426277)

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 that does not have a drivers license or insurance, what is my recourse? Paranoid? No, it just happened to me and the person was caught two days later and has since disappeared again.
Do you know what a coyote is? A person that brings illegal immigrants into the country. Do you know one way that people brought here pay them back? They pull in front of a moving car and slam on the brakes and get rear ended and collect insurance money from you. Do you know any illegal immigrants that are married to a legal person? How many of them file married seperate or married jointly with the illegal person? They don't, they file as a single woman and include the kids as dependents, now they get EIC, welfare, reduced lunches and qualify for higher education grants and special assitance that I am paying for and my family does not qualify for.

Are those some facts for you or do you view things differently? You included the word "hysteria" so it is not that you do not want to see the discussion here, you just want to tell others you do not want to see it after but not until you add but add your opinion first. If you would have stated, "this is not a forum to discuss illegal immigration", I would not have replied.

Re:All animals are equal (1)

mosch (204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20428185)

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.

Re:All animals are equal (3, Insightful)

morari (1080535) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426995)

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?

Re:All animals are equal (1)

mosch (204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20428143)

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 of the population (they don't all drive, let alone drive unregistered cars, etc...) and again, you are applying them to the entirety.

Please, next time just be more concise and say "I AM A RACIST WHO HATES SPICS". It'd be easier for everyone, and a lot more accurate.

Re:All animals are equal (1)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427877)

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-procedure to collect the skin from your hide. Illegal aliens? Not so much. There is a reason (and not a good one) why in North Carolina (!), 99% of all supplemental emergency Medicaid funding went to maternity treatment for illegal aliens.

The two-tiered system is one where there are elites (that's "them") and everyone else (that's "you"). Illegal aliens and open borders are simply one of the mechanisms by which this is being brought about. Intentionally, or not. It doesn't really matter. Entry level jobs that used to go to high school students (mowing lawns, fast food) aren't anymore. Blue collar factory professions that used to provide a decent living (meatpacking, journeyman construction) increasingly don't anymore. That takes down the working class. And offshoring takes down the middle class (and eventually, a big chunk of the upper-middle class as well).

Re:All animals are equal (1)

mosch (204) | more than 6 years ago | (#20428277)

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 drive their illegal cars. And when one of them hits you, your recourse is an uninsured/underinsured rider clause on your own policy, the same as when your example illegal hits you.

The primary problem is not primarily about immigration status, it's primarily about income.

If you got rid of all the illegals (LOL) you'd just end up saying the same things about the extreme poor anyway.

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.)

Re:All animals are equal (1)

Xonstantine (947614) | more than 6 years ago | (#20428307)

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.

Re:All animals are equal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20427053)

>While we (the citizens) weren't paying attention, "they" have put in a two-tiered structure where the laws apply to the thieves, but not the honest.

Fixed.

I'm all for it. Go "them"!

New Career Opportunity (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425755)

Corpprate Mole/Corporate espionage agent.

Now you don't even have to hide, since apparently what you are doing is legal now. wtf?

How is this not illegal? (3, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425765)

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:How is this not illegal? (0, Redundant)

Soruk (225361) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425935)

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.

Re:How is this not illegal? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:How is this not illegal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426417)

It's illegal to buy any good that is obtained through illegal means.

Unless the party purchasing those goods does so in Good Faith (not knowing about the means by which the goods for sale were obtained, and the goods themselves are legal) - but those two words absolutely, positively, never, ever will pertain to the MPAA, especially in this case.

I don't get it... (1)

PJ1216 (1063738) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425785)

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 down due to knowing that they were obtained illegally.

i'm not a lawyer, so i'm probably missing something... either that, or i've lost that much more faith in the justice system.

Re:I don't get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426293)

Is it legal to intercept and sell mail? if not, then wouldn't it be illegal to purchase said mail? The way the ex-housekeeper got a hold of the mail sounded really fishy to me, as in, it sounded illegal. Isn't it illegal to purchase knowingly stolen items?

It's amazing what you can do when (2, Funny)

Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425869)

you pay off the right judges, erm, make campaign contributions to elected judges...

what kind of screwed up justice is this ? (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425873)

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 ?

American Justice (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426039)

American Dreams
This is what "the other half" means.

Wait... what? (4, Insightful)

Bonker (243350) | more than 6 years ago | (#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? (4, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426111)

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.

Re:Wait... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426413)

No kidding. The hypocrisy on this site is amazing. If this were the government or a Republican's emails, there'd be posts about how emails are like postcards and they should have known to use encryption.

Since it's the MPAA that benefited, now everyone is saying how "oh, that's illegal!" and not playing one of the "should have applied patches/used encryption/insecure password" cards.

Which is ironic, since what TorrentSpy does is ALSO illegal, but no one seems to care about THOSE laws. Just the laws that they'll happily ignore when it embarrasses the White House.

Re:Wait... what? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#20428221)

there'd be posts about how emails are like postcards and they should have known to use encryption.

Um, there were. It's also beside the point.

Which is ironic, since what TorrentSpy does is ALSO illegal, but no one seems to care about THOSE laws.

I'm sorry, but we live in America. The law here is "innocent until proven guilty". Right now, I don't even know if there's a precedent for a tracker itself being guilty of anything, yet I really can't see any doubt that buying emails is entirely illegal.

As for the people actually downloading those torrents, they're fair game, except that the MPAA doesn't seem to have a clue about finding them -- they seem to just pick people at random to sue.

Re:Wait... what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20427525)

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.
Oh god, please don't let them use this, I might actually die from laughing at the irony.

I think you've got it (1)

Solandri (704621) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427601)

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 violation, with up to a $100,000 fine for each copyrighted work (email). Following the RIAA's tactic of using the presence of MP3s on a person's hard drive as evidence, the RIAA's possession of these emails is sufficient evidence for shutdown notices. Torrentspy should send notices to the RIAA members' ISPs and email services for unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials, requesting logs of all emails sent by/to them, and asking that these services be terminated in order to stop the violations. On top of that, I'm sure that Andersen didn't just give them a copy of these emails and they sat on some hard drive collecting dust. They were most likely distributed within the RIAA and amongst the lawyers, thus making them all guilty of unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials.

The beauty is if the RIAA defends itself, it undermines its own arguments in the lawsuits it's filing against MP3 sharing.

Counter sue for copyright violation. (2, Interesting)

Egdiroh (1086111) | more than 6 years ago | (#20425979)

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.

Re:Counter sue for copyright violation. (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426563)

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? :)

Article Print Version (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426005)

Court rules against TorrentSpy in hacking case

By Greg Sandoval
http://news.com.com/Court+rules+against+TorrentSpy +in+hacking+case/2100-1030_3-6204948.html [com.com]

Story last modified Tue Aug 28 16:32:05 PDT 2007

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.
A lawsuit filed last year by TorrentSpy--a BitTorrent search engine--that accused the movie studios' trade group of intercepting the company's private e-mails, was tossed out of court last week.

But while a U.S. District judge found that the Motion Picture Association of America had not violated the federal Wiretap Act, as TorrentSpy's attorneys had argued, the MPAA acknowledged in court records that it paid $15,000 to obtain private e-mails belonging to TorrentSpy executives.

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. To critics, the revelation by the MPAA is a possible sign that the organization is itself not above adopting unethical practices in its fight against file sharing.

"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."

The MPAA, which says that illegal file sharing costs the film industry more than $2 billion annually, did not respond to interview requests.

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.

Ira Rothken, TorrentSpy's attorney said: "We believe that the MPAA, when it paid $15,000 for about 30 pages of e-mails, knew or should have known they were involved in purchasing something in a wrongful manner."

Rothken said that TorrentSpy will appeal the court's decision that the pilfering of TorrentSpy's e-mail did not violate the Wiretap Act.

Now on News.com
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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.

Anderson contacted Dean Garfield, the MPAA's senior legal counsel, in June 2005. Anderson told Garfield that he had an informant who supplied him with the e-mails.

District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper also agreed with the MPAA that TorrentSpy failed to prove that the information obtained by Anderson qualified as trade secrets.

Correction: This story misidentified the former business associate of TorrentSpy's founder. His name is Robert Anderson.

Copyright ©1995-2007 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.

I don't get it. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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:I don't get it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426833)

I want to have what that judge is smoking.
Not me. It obviously affects the brain in very bad ways.

Re:I don't get it. (2, Informative)

macrom (537566) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427763)

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 that applies. I imagine that tampering with e-mail from a federal government establishment would be a problem

Screw them. (2, Informative)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426047)

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... (3, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426063)

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.

burn in hell thieves! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426087)

i hope you all goto jail and get ass raped by some muslim faggot.

Hacking a company's email is legal??? (2, Informative)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 6 years ago | (#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."

Re:Hacking a company's email is legal??? (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426321)

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.

Re:Hacking a company's email is legal??? (1)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427081)

He told them that he had obtained the emails legally. He lied. Is that so hard to understand?

Re:Hacking a company's email is legal??? (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427129)

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?

Re:Hacking a company's email is legal??? (1)

bcattwoo (737354) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427267)

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.

Translation of RIAA's response to daily speech : (0)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426393)

"Blah blah blah blah, bleh bleh bleh bleh, bwagwawga bgawgagwa more cash brwhawahaha"

The moral watershed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426521)

was the Sony rootkit. It will go down in history as a significant event. Perhaps the start of all out open war between the corporations and the ordinary people. The day that a company committed, and got clean away with, a serious criminal offense in pursuit of mitigating a lesser one was the turning point. It signalled in clear terms ordinary citizens are not afforded the protection of the law against corporate criminals.

Make of that what you will, but it is a fact. Without the legal redress it up to us to provision our own protection and deal our own justice by whatever means necessary.

I cant believe the MPAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20426583)

I'll swang on Hoppy.. dont try an stop me.. hoppy too sloppy... smokin that poppy.... probly coulda caught me... droppin Hoppy like Joppy... just dont stoppy!!!

Sincerely,

RIAA

Duh! (1)

whichpaul (733708) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426587)

"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 not confused about what I'm doing - infringing copyright.

Re:Duh! (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426701)

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?

Re:Duh! (1)

whichpaul (733708) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426943)

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 willingly GIVE them to one of these acronym organisations?

Re:Duh! (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426973)

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.

Re:Duh! (1)

whichpaul (733708) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427271)

Oh, please? I was enjoying our inane conversation. Come back, please!!! 70 posts and counting ...

Turn their own tactics against them (1)

eaolson (153849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426605)

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?

"Morality" can obscure vicious manipulation (1)

athloi (1075845) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426641)

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 do not have to be a lying, cheating bastard to succeed because that is not in my design. I try to avoid those situations where psychologically normal people come in line behind the lying, cheating bastards.

But I am sure, in their own press releases, they are "acting ethically."

Apply this to movies (3, Insightful)

deets (1072072) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

The Robing Room (0, Offtopic)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426743)

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.

TorrentSPY needs to learn about SPYcraft (1)

zerhackermann (1073396) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426813)

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.

Ethics? (1)

bteeter (25807) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426861)

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.

Re:Ethics? (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426911)

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'.

In a nutshell (1)

divide overflow (599608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426873)

Can you say Criminal Conspiracy?

I thought you could.

They didn't pay to steal it. (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 6 years ago | (#20426901)

"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.

Re:They didn't pay to steal it. (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20428047)

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 to prevent themselves from getting countersued, or to have a scapegoat when the countersuit occurs.

I'm curious - if you download a song of P2P, and the source claims they own distribution rights, is it okay to keep the song and redistribute it, and would you be immune from an RIAA lawsuit with said readme.txt in hand?

ALARM, ALARM! (1)

whichpaul (733708) | more than 6 years ago | (#20427301)

Warning slashdotters; the dark lord is coming take your soul! Or is it the MPAA? (Is that pronounced "oompa"?)
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