European Police Shut Down Internet Pirate

13 people arrested in raids in Germany, Spain, France and the Netherlands.


BERLIN - Police in Europe have shut down, the world's largest German language online piracy site, after a series of coordinated raids Wednesday in which 13 people were arrested.

Police raided apartments, offices and data centers in Germany, France, Spain and The Netherlands Wednesday, the climax of one of Europe's largest ever anti-piracy investigations. In Germany alone, according to local anti-piracy group GVU, some 250 police and tax officers as well as more than a dozen computer specialists were involved.

Shortly after the raid was announced, GVU's website crashed. The group said its website had been attacked.

The suspects were arrested under the suspicion of being part of a criminal network that profits from copywrite violation by operating

The online site, which hosted links to German versions of thousands of copyright protected films and TV shows, has long been a thorn in the side of studios, networks and producers here. But until now authorities had been unable to take action against the site. Prosecuting the suspects in the case may prove difficult. and similar sites, such as piratebay operate in a legal grey zone since they do not store pirated copies of films on their own servers but only provide links to third-party servers.

Police seized the domain name and shut down the site following today's raids. Their investigation continues.