Police raid shutters Swedish file sharing site

Swepiracy, one of Sweden's largest file sharing sites, has been closed down following a coordinated raid by authorities in Sweden and the Netherlands.

Police raid shutters Swedish file sharing site

Last week, police in Norrköping in eastern Sweden raided the home of a 20-year-old man suspected of running Swepiracy, a BitTorrent tracker site founded in 2006.

At the same time, police in the Netherlands confiscated Swepiracy servers located there.

“Swepiracy has tried to shield its operations by placing servers in the Netherlands but Swedish and Dutch police have, through coordinated raids, been able to secure evidence of [copyright] infringement,” Sweden’s Anti-Piracy Bureau (Antipiratbyrån) said in a statement.

According to the group, Swepiracy was one of the most important outlets for the distribution of pirated copies of Swedish movies and had been warned to cease activities which violated copyright laws.

Instead, the man behind Swepiracy attempted to protect the operations by shifting servers to the Netherlands, prompting the police raid.

Prosecutor Henrik Rasmusson told the local Folkbladet newspaper that the 20-year-old is believed to have operated Swepiracy, which reportedly has nearly 30,000 members, for at least two years.

Rasmusson added that the man is believed to have earned “large sums” of money through fees charged to Swepiracy members to give them access to pirated films.

“Maybe as much as one million [kronor] ($150,000),” he said.

The 20-year-old was arrested and his computers confiscated, but he was later released after being questioned but remains under criminal suspicion of having violated copyright laws.

“He admits that he ran the operations, but he doesn’t believe doing so was a criminal act,” Rasmusson told the paper.

The Anti-Piracy Bureau also warned that it planned to take action against similar “illegal” services offered on sites like Theinternationals, SceneAccess and Sparvar.

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Sweden now owns Pirate Bay domain names

The Swedish state became the unlikely new owner of two domain names used by The Pirate Bay after a court ruling on Tuesday.

Sweden now owns Pirate Bay domain names
The Swedish state now owns two Pirate Bay domain names. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

In its ruling the Stockholm district court awarded Sweden the domain names and

The case marked the first time a Swedish prosecutor had asked for a web address to be wiped off the face of the internet, Dagens Nyheter reports

“A domain name assists a website. If the site is used for criminal purposes the domain name is a criminal instrument,” prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad told the Swedish daily earlier this year. 

Sweden’s Internet Infrastructure Foundation, which controls the Swedish top level domain .se, opposed the prosecutor’s move to prohibit any future use of the two Pirate Bay addresses.

The court agreed that the foundation had not done anything wrong and conceded that it could not force the group to block certain domain names, Dagens Nyheter reports. But by awarding the addresses to the Swedish state the court effectively ensured that they will not be sold on to another owner. 

The file-sharing service was temporarily knocked off line in December after police seized servers hosted at a data centre in a nuclear-proof bunker deep in a mountain outside Stockholm.

But seven weeks later the resilient file-sharing behemoth was back on its feet and Tuesday’s ruling is unlikely to knock it off balance for long, as the court cannot prevent The Pirate Bay from continuing to run sites on other domains.

The Pirate Bay, which grew into an international phenomenon after it was founded in Sweden in 2003, allows users to dodge copyright fees and share music, film and other files using bit torrent technology, or peer-to-peer links offered on the site – resulting in huge losses for music and movie makers.

In 2009 four Swedes connected with The Pirate Bay were found guilty of being accessories to copyright infringement by a Swedish court. 

They were each give one-year jail terms and ordered to pay 30 million kronor ($3.6 million) in compensation.