[news=http://www.slyck.com/newspics/jailforsharing.jpg]January 24, 2006
By: Thomas Mennecke
In the ongoing effort against movie piracy, top providers have become gleaming target. Largely responsible for introducing highly sought after material, top providers are a highly competitive entity that prioritize public recognition over associated risks. Earlier this morning, several top warez providers found themselves shut down at the hands of local police and the entertainment industry.
At approximately 10 AM, local police in a wide spread coordinated effort raided over 300 homes and offices associated with top warez providers. The raids took place in Germany, Austria, Holland, Poland and the Czech Republic. According to GVU (translated to German Federation Against Copyright Theft), over 30 individuals were arrested in the raids.
The raids also yielded over 20 servers, which provided FTP (File Transfer Protocol) access to individuals belonging to the release groups. GVU claims the warez groups were responsible for the proliferation "of illegal copies of films, computer games, music and user software." The enforcement raids were the culmination of the GVU's investigative efforts, with legal follow-through provided by the prosecutor's offices in Duesseldorf and Frankfurt.
Rumors of the bust began circulating online today, as members attempted to warn each other. According to warning notices online, the following top providers have, for all intents and purposes, been eliminated; RELOADED, KNIGHTS, TFCiSO, Cinemaniacs, German-Friend, ParadieseBeach and Klapsmuehle. In addition, the leader of RELOADED was reported as arrested during the raids. The GVU confirmed the following release groups were eliminated; Unreality, DRAGON, Laboratory, Heaven, code talk, GTR, ECP, TRCD, AOS, MRM, SITH, GWL, Cine VCD, AHE, Cinemaniacs.
The pursuit of top providers is a primary concern to the entertainment industry, as the proliferation of pirated material often begins with these organizations. From these FTP sources, pirated material (especially movies) trickle down to the Newsgroups, IRC, BitTorrent and finally P2P networks. Initially, these raids may place a damper on spread of pirated material, however the allure of public recognition is simply too great for many to avoid. With time, their role in the online warez community will most likely be replaced.