The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) has won a default judgment against Valence Media's download site Torrentspy. The judgment is handy for figuring out exactly how much all those free movies everyone's downloading are worth. According to a federal judge, $110 million dollars ought to about cover it.
In 2006 TorrentSpy was more popular than any other BitTorrent site, but this changed quickly in August 2007, when a federal judge ordered TorrentSpy to log all user data. The judge ruled that TorrentSpy had to monitor its users in order to create detailed logs of their activities, and hand these over to the MPAA.
In a response to this decision - and to ensure the privacy of their users - TorrentSpy decided that it was best to block access to all users from the US. This led to a huge decrease in traffic and revenue.
There's a good bit of whining in the comments that the judge doesn't understand how torrents work, so she is obviously incapable of rendering a decision about them. I think the problem actually is that downloaders doesn't know how judges work, not the other way around. You're not "ensuring the privacy of your users" by erasing their accounts after a judge tells you hand over their information. You're destroying evidence. All in all, perhaps it would have been cheaper for Torrentspy to simply give away Netflix memberships.