Motion Picture Association Accused of Hacking

Owners of a site that offers links to file-sharing sites have filed a countersuit claiming that the MPAA hired a hacker to help it gather information for its legal battle against the site.

Valence Media, which operates the file-sharing portal site TorrentSpy, has accused the Motion Picture Association of America of hiring a computer hacker to help garner information for use in the industry group's copyright abuse against the site.

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Valence and its owners have filed their own suit claiming that the MPAA, which represents the interests of the U.S. film industry, paid a known hacker to infiltrate the company's IT systems looking for potential evidence.

If brought to court, the suit will represent one of the most high-profile accusations of industrial espionage carried out via the use of paid hackers ever heard in the U.S. legal system.

According to the suit, filed specifically in the names of Valence executives Justin Bunnell, Forrest Parker and Wes Parker, contends that the MPAA "willfully and intentionally" purchased, procured, used and disclosed private information that it unlawfully obtained via a break into the company's computing systems.

The filing further claims that the MPAA paid its hacker $15,000 to steal e-mails and screen prints from Valence's servers, including client bills and the documents related to the firm's technology infrastructure.

MPAA representatives didn't immediately return calls seeking comment on the suit, for which Valence is seeking unspecified damages.

This article was originally published on 05-25-2006
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