Saturday, May 28, 2011

A major download site closed, its leaders arrested

Liberty Land, one of the most visited websites in France, which gave access to tens of thousands of links to pirated content, has been closed and its three directors arrested, officials said Saturday at the gendarmerie. The three men, aged 25-30 years, were arrested Tuesday in Marseille (southeast), near Le Havre (northwest) and Montreuil (near Paris), and indicted (charged) for "counterfeit organized gang, "according to the gendarmerie in Rennes (west) which has been the investigation.

Left free, they face five years in prison and a 500,000 euros fine. Their site has been disabled. Created in September 2009, Liberty Land claimed 800,000 users, was "the download site the most visited in France, and one of 200 most visited sites in France," said the commander of the gendarmerie Jean-Philippe Vidal.

A COMPLAINT OF SACEM The site, powered by contributors, identified tens of thousands of links to download various content such as pirated music, movies and software. The survey was conducted during one year by police in Rennes, following a complaint filed in May 2010 by the SACEM. This body, charged with France to protect the copyrights for music, had identified an important contributor to Rennes site.

"Stitches in the cell fight against cybercrime has climbed back to administrators but research has been difficult because the site was hosted in Canada and a number of barriers had been put in place to preserve their anonymity" , detailed Mr. Vidal. The site generated "a lot of money" through advertising banners, the source said.

The sum of 200,000 euros has been advanced by the Association against audiovisual piracy, but has not been confirmed yet.

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