Feds Target Internet Piracy Organizations
By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
The government announced Thursday an 11-nation crackdown on Internet
piracy organizations responsible for stealing copies of the latest
"Star Wars" film and other movies, games and software programs worth
at least $50 million.
FBI agents and investigators in the other nations conducted 90
searches, starting Wednesday, arresting four people, seizing hundreds
of computers and shutting down at least eight major online
distribution servers for pirated works.
The Justice Department "is striking at the top of the copyright piracy
supply chain -- a distribution chain that provides the vast majority of
illegal digital content now available online," Attorney General
Alberto Gonzales said.
Called Operation Site Down, the crackdown involved undercover FBI
operations run out of Chicago, San Francisco and Charlotte, N.C., and
included help from authorities in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark,
France, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United
Those arrested were Chirayu Patel, 23, of Fremont, Calif.; David Fish,
24, of Watertown, Conn.; Nate Lovell, 22, of Boulder, Colo.; and
William Veyna, 34, of Chatworth, Calif. The four were charged with
violating federal copyright protection laws. All are alleged to be
members of "warez" groups, a kind of underground Internet co-op that
is set up to trade in copyrighted materials.
Warez (pronounced "wares") groups are extraordinarily difficult to
infiltrate because users talk only in encrypted chat rooms, their
computer servers require passwords and many are located overseas.
The FBI set up its own servers and lured warez members to store
pirated material on them, according to the U.S. attorney's office in
The investigations targeted "release groups," the original sources of
pirated works that can be distributed worldwide in hours. Among the
warez groups targeted are RiSCISO, Myth, TDA, LND, Goodfellaz,
Hoodlum, Vengeance, Centropy, Wasted Time, Paranoid, Corrupt, Gamerz,
AdmitONE, Hellbound, KGS, BBX, KHG, NOX, NFR, CDZ, TUN and BHP.
Those groups are believed responsible for stealing and distributing
copyrighted works, including "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the
Sith," "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," Autodesk's Autocad 2006 and Adobe's
The bootlegged software often is made available to popular
file-sharing networks, where it can be easily downloaded for free,
said Michael DuBose, a Justice lawyer who prosecutes cyber crimes. But
mass producers of pirated materials in Asia and elsewhere also use
warez groups as suppliers, DuBose said.
Studies of Internet piracy have estimated losses to the movie industry
alone at $3.5 billion to $5.4 billion annually.
President Bush signed a new law last month setting tough penalties of up to
10 years in prison for anyone caught distributing a movie or song or
warez to deal with same before its commercial release.
On the Net:
Justice Department: http://www.usdoj.gov
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