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MPAA, FBI and U.S. Customs Shut Down EliteTorrents
May 25, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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Earlier reports discussing have been confirmed to be an enforcement action taken by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This morning, all indications dictated the situation was not an enforcement action, considering the amateurish violation notice coupled with the official word from EliteTorrents’ administration stating they were DNS hacked.

Although the violations notice visually unimpressive, this would turn out to be part of an overall enforcement action by the MPAA, FBI and ICE. When visiting the site, one is confronted with the following notification:

"This Site [] has been permanently shut down by the Federal bureau of Investigation and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement"

"The individuals involved in the operation and use of Elite Torrents network are under investigation for criminal copyright infringement"

These are very serious words, especially when using the term "...and use..." to imply users may vulnerable to criminal charges. According to the FBI press release, 10 search warrants have been issued against leading members of

"This morning, agents of the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed 10 search warrants across the United States against leading members of a technologically sophisticated P2P network known as Elite Torrents. Employing technology known as BitTorrent, the Elite Torrents network attracted more than 133,000 members and, in the last four months, allegedly facilitated the illegal distribution of more than 17,800 titles-including movies and software-which were downloaded 2.1 million times. "

The press release also explains why the administration of EliteTorrents initially believed this was the result of a DNS hack.

"In addition to executing 10 warrants, federal agents also took control of the main server that coordinated all file-sharing activity on the Elite Torrents network."

In the MPAA's press release, the organization was adamant about ridding the Internet of, due to the fact it helped proliferate "Star Wars, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith." Star Wars' prerelease had the MPAA extremely frustrated, and vowed to pursue those distributing the movie. It appears the MPAA made good on that promise.

"Carrying out what is known as Operation D-Elite, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) executed search warrants against prominent members in Elite Torrents’ membership," said Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) President and CEO Dan Glickman. "Elite Torrents was one of the first peer to peer networks to post an illegal copy of Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith before the movie officially opened in theaters last Thursday."

The FBI press release expands on the MPAA's philosophy, "For example, the final entry in the Star Wars series, "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith," was available for downloading on the network more than six hours before it was first shown in theatres. In the next 24 hours, it was downloaded more than 10,000 times."

This situation remains fluid, as the extent of the FBI and U.S. Custom enforcement is unclear. For now, only the administration is looking at criminal charges, however the implied possibility against users remains real.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
BitTorrent :: Trackers/Indexers
Legal/Courtroom :: BitTorrent Lawsuits

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