Biggest-ever Internet piracy bust claimed in Sweden

The server seized south of Stockholm contained 65 terabytes of digital data; The Pirate Bay has not been accused of being behind the site.

Swedish police on Friday reported making a major Internet piracy bust.

Authorities said they seized computer equipment belonging to a Stockholm-area man whom they suspected of violating local copyright law. The police, who carried out the raid on February 9, only disclosed the news Friday.

"We made a bust. A server and computers have been taken and are being analyzed now," said Mats Johansson, a precinct commander in Stockholm, told CNET News in an interview.

Johansson said the man, whose identity was not disclosed, was questioned and subsequently released. He is now the target of an investigation by government prosecutors.

The seized server contained 65 terabytes of digital data, consisting of films, TV series, computer programs, and the music equivalent of 16,000 movies, according to the Antipiracy Agency, an organization based in Sweden that's supported by a consortium of film and game organizations to fight Internet piracy.

The server was located in Brandbergen, south of Stockholm, the Swedish capital. The police raid took place just before the individuals behind The Pirate Bay Web site went to court to defend themselves against charges of helping millions of Internet users illegally download copyright-protected movies, music, and computer software.

The Pirate Bay has not been accused of being behind the site. Still, Peter Sunde, a spokesperson for the file-sharing site, said in an interview with the Swedish news site SvD.se that he did not believe the claims made by the Antipiracy Agency, which described the Stockholm arrest as the biggest digital copyright bust in the nation's history.

"More than 800,000 people have uploaded files to Pirate Bay, so I do not believe it is the source of the entire problem," Sunde told SVD.se. "But it is possible that it is a significant source."

The Antipiracy Agency claimed that the server was part of the Nordic FTP ring called "Sunnydale," comprising 10 servers. After the bust, the ring went down and could not be accessed online.

The Antipiracy Agency said that despite the site's high security, it was able to secure the evidence it needed, which it then turned over to police.

"The well-organized pirates on the scene seemed to have overestimated their ability to hide their identity and location, but the bust showed that we could find the responsible entity," Henrik Ponten, a lawyer who works for the Swedish Antipiracy Agency, said in a statement released to the press.

Attempts by CNET to reach The Pirate Bay for comment Friday were unsuccessful.

About the author

    Erik Palm, a business reporter for Swedish national television, is joining CNET News as a spring 2009 fellow with Stanford University's Innovation Journalism program. When he's not working, he enjoys kayaking and exploring California's hiking trails. E-mail Erik.

     

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