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FBI Leads Global Piracy Crackdown
June 30, 2005
Thomas Mennecke
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The might of the copyright industry is in full force, or at least that is the image intellectual property owners are attempting to project. On Monday, the Supreme Court remanded the MGM vs. Grokster case back to the lower courts. On Wednesday, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) announced it filed an additional 748 lawsuits. And this morning, the FBI announced it has successfully concluded it anti-piracy sting dubbed "Operation Site Down."

Earlier today, reported the FBI had arrested Chirayu Patel, who was operating a top level warez site. The FBI had coordinated an elaborate sting operation in which they established two servers and invited people to upload information. This process took a considerable amount of time, as trust had to be established within the top level warez community. Once this trust was established, the FBI was able to set their trap against other server operators.

The FBI conducted Operation Site Down with law enforcement officers from 10 other countries. This operation against "criminal organizations", as the FBI puts it, yielded 90 searches worldwide. The FBI intends for this operation to "disrupt and dismantle many of the leading "criminal organizations" that distribute software, movies, music and games on the Internet.

"By dismantling these networks, the Department is striking at the top of the copyright piracy supply chain - a distribution chain that provides the vast majority of the illegal digital content now available online," said Attorney General Gonzales. "And by penetrating this illegal world of high-technology and intellectual property theft, we have shown that law enforcement can and will find - and we will prosecute - those who try to use the Internet to create piracy networks beyond the reach of law enforcement."

Although "Operation Site Down" took years to establish, the searches were conducted in blitzkrieg fashion. Within 24 hours, 70 searches were executed in the United States and 20 more overseas. Four (4) individuals in the United States, who apparently did not have their papers, were arrested. Additional arrests were conducted in Canada, Israel, France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Germany, Portugal and Australia.

The FBI claims that "at least eight" major online distribution sites were dismantled. As part of the raids, more than 120 leading members of the "organized online piracy underground" were identified. As the investigation continues, those individuals and possibly many more will be "identified and pursued."

According to the FBI, the warez groups taken out by yesterday's operation include some very familiar faces. These groups include RiSCISO, Myth, TDA, LND, Goodfellaz, Hoodlum, Vengeance, Centropy, Wasted Time, Paranoid, Corrupt, Gamerz, AdmitONE, Hellbound, KGS, BBX, KHG, NOX, NFR, CDZ, TUN, and BHP.

Perhaps the most interesting point made by the FBI was the fact their operation yielded $50 million in pirated material - yet this represents a mere fraction of the global resources of the online piracy network.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
Legal/Courtroom :: Individual Lawsuits
Unauthorized Distribution :: Warez Scene
Unauthorized Distribution :: Digital Piracy

You can read the FBI's press release here.

You can discuss this article here - 289 replies

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