German Piracy Site Kino.to Relaunches as KinoX.to


COLOGNE, Germany - Just over a month after European police shut down Germany's largest online piracy site, Kino.to in a massive cross-border raid, the site has relauched under the name KinoX.to.

It is unclear if the same people who were behind Kino.to, many of whom were arrested last month, are also operating the new site. However, aside from the cosmetic name change, KinoX.to is a carbon copy of Kino.to, presenting links for users to stream copyright-protected films and TV series. The new site does not yet have the volume of titles of the old Kino.to. but with some 15,000 films and 3500 TV series, is still sufficiently large to worry studios and copyright holders. Several movies that have bowed in the U.S. but not in Germany - such as Green Lantern, Super 8 and Cars 2, were available to stream on KinoX.to.

On its homepage, KinoX.to has posted a defiant message to the film industry, the German government and local anti-piracy organization the GVU: "Dear GVU, film industry and state: do you really think you can stop us, just because you have heaps of money? How can it be that harmless website operators are put on the same level with murderers and rapists?" The site thanked global hacker collective Anonymous, apparently for its alleged role in disabling GVU's website shortly after the June raid on Kino.to. In reference to possible criminal charges against users of streaming sites, a widespread fear following last month's raids, KinoX.to reassured users that it "never saved your data" and wouldn't do so in the future. The message concludes with a line in English: "Legends may sleep, but they never die."

In a statement, the GVU said the relaunch "was in no way surprising" and claimed it had taken longer than expected for the "remains of Kino.to" to go back online because the last month's raid did severe damage to the organization. On June 8, police carried out coordinated raids on apartments, offices and data centers in Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands, seizing computers and documents and arresting several people. German authorities are looking to charge up to 21 people with illegally profiting from copyright theft. 10 of them, including the alleged mastermind, Dirk B., are currently in prison awaiting trial.

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