Earlier this year, DV8, one of the most prolific music piracy groups responsible for more than 3,000 single and album releases in recent years, suffered major setbacks.
Following a BPI investigation, police (without fanfare or media reports) swooped on members of the group, the earliest back in May. Another seemingly significant arrest took place in June.
In early morning raids, as many as a dozen officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Hi-Tech Crime Unit and BPI investigators conducted searches on the addresses and took the suspects away for questioning, along with seized computers, cell phones, CDs and MP3 players, bank statements and sundry other items.
After extended questioning the police charged the suspects with Conspiracy to Defraud (the music industry). They were released on bail and ordered to reappear at later dates.
Around a week after our article, IFPI issued their own press release (which was used as the basis of dozens of other news articles) which largely confirmed our earlier report but in much lower detail, instead preferring to include quotes from David Lammy MP, Minister of State for Intellectual Property, and the heads of the IFPI and BPI’s anti-piracy operations.
DV8, like many release groups, specialized in pre-release piracy – in this case the publication of music on the Internet before official release dates. No-one needs to be reminded of the hatred the music industry holds for these type of leaks, after all when OiNK was raided it was the availability of pre-release material that dominated the news and was often provided as the justification for taking the site down.
In order to put the material on to the Internet in this way, Scene groups and individual uploaders need contacts somewhere in the supply chain, so-called industry insiders who act as suppliers for pre-release material. In the case of the OiNK uploaders, they had simply purchased CDs legitimately from online retailers who shipped products a day or two early, possibly in error. But to have the really juicy leaks, people more deeply involved in the supply chain can prove invaluable.
Based on information provided by our previously-reliable sources in this investigation, today we are able to reveal that during late August two more arrests were made of individuals the police believe acted as suppliers to DV8. One of those individuals is an executive at a record label.
In the meantime the alleged leader of DV8 has seen his bail pushed back to mid November pending further investigations. Our sources believe that this delay is due to the police needing more time to track down additional suppliers, one of which we are told works for a major media outlet.
Another member of DV8 who was initially arrested back in June and was the subject of the one and only triumphant IFPI press release mentioned earlier, has been rather more fortunate. He has been released with a police warning and told that charges would not be pressed against him. IFPI are unlikely to issue an updated press release about this release of a suspect though – they have also never mentioned the earliest and most important arrest made by the police in this investigation.
After word spread of the initial raids, the remaining members of the DV8 team went into hiding, taking their servers down and removing their topsite accounts. However, these type of groups can be remarkably resilient and can be quick to reform.
Indeed, while DV8 may be ‘dead’, some of its members live on and the releases have continued under a new group name – around one hundred of them so far, including some very big releases indeed.