One of the oldest groups at the top of the so-called piracy pyramid has been taken down by the notorious Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau. Unusually there have been no arrests and no legal action. Instead the group ‘Svenne/Redcross’ has been forced to apologize and spread FUD about the security of other groups.
Regular TorrentFreak readers will be only too aware of so-called ‘Scene’ groups. These ultra-secretive collections of individuals are known for being the first providers of much of the pirate content appearing on file-sharing networks today, and have previously been targeted in many anti-piracy operations, including the high profile Operation Fastlink and Operation Buccaneer.
Svenne-Redcross is a movie release group who have been active for nearly ten years, a long time to remain undetected and uninfiltrated. Their first serious release was a DVDRip (converted to SVCD) of ‘Richard Gere’s Dr T and the Women’ in December 2000. Its last appears to be Swedish movie ‘Johan Falk – GSI ‘ released just over two weeks ago.
But, as they say, all good things come to an end.
Scene release groups use NFOs, which are small text files commonly used to provide information about pirate releases. The NFO’s can also be used as a so-called ‘Scene Notice’, a type of message which can be passed around Scene groups to inform them of important information – even if half the time they are simply used to flame other groups or individuals.
This weekend Svenne released an NFO/Scene notice themselves, but the content was highly unusual, even if it started off with bad, if unremarkable news;
“After ten years on the Scene we’re stepping down and leaving it forever,” the group wrote. “We have been exposed by the Swedish Antipiracy Bureau whom have identified all of our members and sites.”
The Swedish Antipiracy Bureau – Antipiratbyrån (APB) – is home to the infamous Henrik Pontén who has taken many actions against pirates, including a raid earlier this year against a large Swedish topsite.
At the time Pontén said that APB had managed to identify the people running the server and noted that it was now up to the police to investigate. But strangely, even though APB appear to know a lot about Svenne, it seems that the police won’t be getting involved.
“The good thing is that we have had the possibility to make a settlement. Our activity is immediately ceased,” Svenne announced.
Why APB have offered Svenne a deal is unclear, and there is currently little public knowledge of its nature or the terms imposed. However, what is clear is that APB required Svenne to do some public grovelling – it’s hard to imagine that they would make this kind of statement voluntarily, especially since just 2 weeks ago they said how proud they were of their achievements;
“We apologies to all Swedish and foreign movie producers for the damage we have caused,” wrote the group. But they didn’t stop there – APB also required some valuable FUD to be spread, to scare others in The Scene;
“Those of you who are still involved in the Scene – close down. None of you are safe out there,” warns Svenne in their apparent neck-saving statement.
Of course, while this announcement seems designed to spread fear, the threat may not be entirely hollow. Svenne has connections to lots of other groups, so the strong possibility remains that some of those could be compromised too.