Police swoop on German providerof bootleg movies, software

17th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

17 September 2004 , MUNICH - German police have arrested a lawyer and three businessmen whose website sold bootleg copies of movies, songs and software and reputedly took in EUR one million. The crackdown may have been the biggest blow ever against internet pirates anywhere in the world, a spokesman for German anti-piracy firm GVU said in remarks reported Friday in the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel. Clients were able to pay by credit card or bank debit, with funds moving via a company called Internet Paym

17 September 2004

MUNICH - German police have arrested a lawyer and three businessmen whose website sold bootleg copies of movies, songs and software and reputedly took in EUR one  million.

The crackdown may have been the biggest blow ever against internet pirates anywhere in the world, a spokesman for German anti-piracy firm GVU said in remarks reported Friday in the Berlin newspaper Tagesspiegel.

Clients were able to pay by credit card or bank debit, with funds moving via a company called Internet Payment Systems Ltd registered on the Caribbean island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, reports said.

According to the newspaper and the German computer magazine c't, which said they followed the investigation but kept it secret, the funds ended up in a small eastern German town, Breitungen, the home of two brothers aged 30 and 20 who set up the site.

The German-language website, www.ftp-welt.com, was still live Thursday evening, boasting that it could provide broadband downloads of the latest cinema releases in as little as 35 minutes.

Investigators said some 45,000 Germans had signed up for "warez", the international codeword for stolen files traded on the Internet.

They could pay EUR 15 for a "membership" that entitled them to a password and the opportunity to download a certain volume, equivalent to two to three movies. The website did not state that the files were stolen, but emphasized high speed.

The lawyer, a partner in a Munich law office, was in custody, accused of money laundering for his clients, membership in a criminal conspiracy and aiding criminal breach of copyright.

The reports said the site had been online since June 2003, offering the files without the consent of the copyright owners. Police estimate the revenues at EUR one million to date, while GVU said the losses to the true owners exceeded EUR 10 million.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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