• Sweden edition
 

Police close file sharing site

Published: 31 May 2006 15:51 GMT+02:00
Updated: 31 May 2006 15:51 GMT+02:00

Police have closed down The Pirate Bay, a Sweden-based file sharing site and one of the most popular websites of its kind in the world.

Three people were taken in for questioning after police raids in Sweden on Wednesday. The trio, ages 22, 24 and 28, are suspected of violating property rights legislation, police spokesman Ulf Göranzon said.

Servers connected to the site have been impounded and the site was down on Wednesday afternoon, although the operators of The Pirate Bay have set up a temporary website to provide updates on the situation.

Some fifty policemen and women were involved in raids on ten homes and offices in Sweden.

The three men taken in by police were still being questioned on Wednesday afternoon. They all have links to The Pirate Bay. Prosecutors will decide whether to detain the men after they have been questioned.

"The suspects are not people who download files, but are people who have relations to the website," Ulf Göranzon told The Local.

He would not reveal anything more about the roles that the men played.

Police have been monitoring the website and the men behind it for some time. Computers were taken during raids on the men's homes and offices to secure evidence.

"We are now going to look at how the operation is structured," Göranzon said.

"At the moment we are talking to lots of people about this case. We are still at a very early stage in our investigations," he said.

He would not reveal whether police had their eyes on further suspects.

Henrik Pontén, lawyer at Antipiratbyrån (The Anti-Pirate Bureau) in Stockholm, welcomed the move to close down the site.

"It is good that the Swedish police are now prioritising this kind of crime. The copyright laws finance creativity within film, computer gaming, music and other culture," said Pontén.

"People who break copyright laws steal from the creators and movie-watching public of the future. The closure of The Pirate Bay is therefore good for all of us who enjoy new film and entertainment."

But Tobias Andersson at pressure group Piratbyrån (The Pirate Bureau), which founded The Pirate Bay, stressed that there was no copyright-protected material on the servers.

“The Anti-Pirate Bureau has clearly misled the police in this case, “ said Andersson.

“They appear to have persuaded police who are incompetent in IT that the servers in question are full of copyright-protected material. This is a gross misuse of taxpayers’ money.”

Andersson also condemned the fact that police had closed down a number of other websites, including The Pirate Bureau, which he says is no longer officially linked to the Pirate Bay.

“This is the greatest infringement. The Anti-Pirate Bureau has clearly fooled the police into closing down its antagonists, The Pirate Bureau.”

“We are very upset that the film industry doesn’t dare to have a debate , and chooses instead to trick politicians and the police into criminalizing their opponents and a large portion of the Swedish population.”

The Pirate Bay is a BitTorrent tracker, which enables people to download large files such as movies from other users.

James Savage (james.savage@thelocal.se)

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