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Swedish Police Raid Major BitTorrent Site

In a move sure to raise legal hackles in Europe, Swedish police have executed raids in 10 locations with the intent of shutting down ThePirateBay.org, which claimed to be the largest search index site for the BitTorrent file sharing technology. The raids were carried out at data centers of Rix|Port80, a large Swedish Internet and colocation provider. Reportedly, servers belonging to The Pirate Bay as well as other hosted sites were taken down by police, and three people were detained for questioning.

Unsurprisingly, studios and entertainment industry groups like the IFPI see the raids as an appropriate measure in their fight against piracy. IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said: “This is a very important development for Sweden, a country with a fantastically rich music culture yet which has more recently acquired a reputation as a haven for copyright infringement. The Pirate Bay has damaged the legitimate music industry on an international scale and I am very pleased that the Swedish authorities have today taken such decisive action against it.”

Operators of The Pirate Bay maintain they have done nothing wrong, since they do not host any copyright-restricted material, instead merely directing users to other systems which claim to have material matching their search criteria. they have operated in public and, thusfar, have successfully resisted industry pressured to shut down, even running their own political campaign around copyright issues.

The legality of the search-and-seizure move hasn’t been tested in Swedish court. Sweden has been targeted by the Hollywood entertainment cartel for harsh criticism; the country has no laws barring filesharing, which the entertainment industry argues has turned the nation into a hotbed of piracy. Last year Sweden barred the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted movies and music

The Pirate Bay currently claims it will be back online in a few days.

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