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MPAA Hired A Hacker, Lawsuit Alleges

Doug Caverly
Staff Writer
Published: 2006-05-25

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The Motion Picture Association of America hired a hacker to steal information from a company it accused of helping copyright violators-this according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday. In the suit, Torrentspy.com parent Valence Media alleges a man was paid $15,000 to pilfer e-mail correspondence and trade secrets.

The hacker has supposedly admitted to his role, and is cooperating with Torrentspy in the investigation, going so far as to provide documents that prove the nature of his relationship with the MPAA. This includes a written agreement signed by the hacker and an MPAA executive, according to Ira Rothken, Torrentspy's attorney.

The MPAA vehemently denied the allegations. "These claims are false," said Kori Bernards, the MPAA's vice president of corporate communications. "Torrentspy is trying to obscure the facts to hide the fact that they are facilitating thievery. We are confident that our lawsuit against them will be successful because the law is on our side."

The MPAA had previously sued several companies, including Torrentspy, IsoHunt, BTHub.com, and TorrentBox.com. These sites merely direct users to works that may be copyrighted, as opposed to the actual file-sharing networks the MPAA has formerly targeted.

Rothken had a rebuttal at the ready for the MPAA's claims. "We have very significant proof of wrongdoing and the MPAA's involvement," Rothken said. "We think it's ironic for the MPAA to claim that they are protecting the rights of the movie studios and then go out and pirate other people's property."

Torrentspy's lawyer had a few words to say about the hacker, as well. "He's mitigating the harm that he did," Rothken said. "He is also allowing us to get a remedy against the MPAA and to help us stop them from using the stolen data."

This lawsuit could further turn public opinion against the MPAA. It and the similar RIAA have generated strong feelings on both sides of the file-sharing issue.

Torrentspy has requested a trial by jury and is seeking unspecified damages.

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About the Author:
Doug is a staff writer for WebProNews. Visit WebProNews for the latest ebusiness news.

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