The online file sharing service TorrentSpy.com will be held accountable for extensive movie piracy as a federal judge ruled that the website's destruction of evidence made a fair trial impossible.
Site operators Justin Bunnell, Forrest Parker and Wes Parker were held liable for infringement after they deleted a number case files and gave false statements, U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper said in Los Angeles.
The court agreed with the Motion Picture Association of America's attorneys that the harsh sanction of terminating the case was necessary as it was now impossible for the MPAA to prove their case.
The defendants engaged in widespread and systematic efforts to destroy evidence and have provided false testimony under oath in an effort to hide evidence of such destruction, Cooper said in the Dec. 13 order, adding that sanctions were appropriate in this case because of extraordinary circumstances.
No date was set for a hearing to determine damages.
The court's decision is a significant victory for the major Hollywood studios, John Malcolm, executive vice president at the MPAA, in a statement. Illegal copying and bootlegging costs the industry $11 billion globally the association said.
TorrentSpy was sued in 2006 by the MPAA as it was accused of illegally allowing users around the world to download and store full-length movies. The website operates an index of BitTorrent files, or software that lets users share large files with others on the same network.
The site's US operations have been shut down, however it still maintains its international operations.