TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Company Says MPAA Paid Hacker to Spy

Company Says MPAA Paid Hacker to Spy

Associated Press News Wire (
Fri, 26 May 2006 15:30:46 -0500

Valence Media, a company accused of aiding online movie pirates, says
the group that represents Hollywood studios hired a computer hacker to
spy on it.

Valence Media, which operates the Web site,
was sued in February by several movie studios for allegedly helping
people locate and download pirated copies of films.

On Wednesday, the company sued the Motion Picture Association of
America, saying the trade group paid a hacker $15,000 to break into
Valence Media's computers and obtain private information, including
e-mails, financial information and trade secrets.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, claims an
MPAA employee approached an unnamed hacker, who was not an employee of
Valence, and asked him to collect information on the company and its
three principals.

The MPAA employees offered the hacker $15,000 if the information
proved useful and said, "We don't care how you get it," according to
the lawsuit.

The MPAA denied the accusations Thursday.

"We see this as nothing more than a desperate attempt to obscure the
fact that they are knowingly facilitating piracy," MPAA spokeswoman
Kori Bernards said.

The Web site operated by Valence Media indexes files located on a
multitude of individuals' computers. Once a file is found using the
torrentspy search engine, the actual exchange is conducted by
individual computer users, without torrentspy's assistance.

The studios say torrentspy could easily prevent the piracy by not
indexing pirated files or by barring users who regularly offer illegal
copies of movies and TV shows.

A motion by Valence media to dismiss the MPAA's lawsuit was denied in

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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