TorrentSpy ordered to pay $111 million

A Los Angeles federal judge has delivered a default judgement against the BitTorrent site finding it guilty of copyright infringement and forcing it to compensate studios.

It may be difficult for the labels to ever collect, as the company that owned the site as well as its creators are broke, having filed for bankruptcy. The ruling also includes a permanent injunction preventing further infringement.

The studios get $30,000 for each of the 3,699 incidents of infringement it proved in the case. At $111 million, it is one of the largest copyright judgements ever handed down.

U.S. District Judge Florence -Marie Cooper used the maximum fine permissible by the Copyright Act in handing down the judgement.

Now it is up to the appeals courts to see whether the judgement will stand: lawyers for TorrentSpy have filed an appeal of the verdict with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

"This substantial money judgment sends a strong message about the illegality of these sites," MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said. "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."

About $18 billion is lost annually due to movie theft, the MPAA claims, with $7 billion of that total as a result of online file sharing.

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