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COLOGNE, Germany – Dirk B, the founder of illegal file-sharing site kino.to has received a four and a half year prison sentence and must relinquish up to $5 million (€3.7 million) in profits he made operating what was once Germany’s largest source of copyright protected films and TV series.
While not nearly as famous as fellow German, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, the 39-year-old Dirk B. is the biggest catch yet in the crackdown by German authorities on copyright theft. Before European police shut down kino.to in a coordinated raid last year, the site hosted links to some 135,000 copyright-protected films and TV series and had up to 4 million users a day.
The court gave Dirk B. a reduced sentence after he made a full confession and expressed “extreme regret” for the damage caused by kino.to.
According to the court, Dirk B. earned a total of $8.2 million (€6.6 million) from the site, much of it through advertising. In exchange for his confession, and for agreeing to give up his remaining wealth, the court gave Dirk B. a reduced sentence. His crimes could have carried a maximum 15 year prison sentence.
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