Much to the disappointment of more than 100,000 users, Latvia’s largest BitTorrent tracker has been shut down by the authorities. Following a joint operation by Lativa’s Economic Police and a local IFPI-affiliated anti-piracy agency, two administrators were placed under arrest.
File.lv, Latvia’s largest BitTorrent community, was taken offline a few days ago. The 100,000 member tracker reportedly went dark after a joint effort by the Latvian Economic Police and the IFPI-affiliated Latvian Music Producers Association, otherwise known as LAmpA.
According to various Latvian reports, the site was taken down and two of the main administrators placed under arrest. Other gaming and sport related projects connected to the tracker also disappeared. Reports suggest that up to 40 servers were seized.
The two admins, believed to be known as FileX and Tralivali, are believed to have been detained by the Economic Police, an outfit similar to the Dutch FIOD-ECD which was involved in the closure of OiNK. As usual, rumors are circulating that prolific uploaders are also being investigated, although that is far from certain at this stage .
Reports indicate that in 2007, admin ‘FileX’ received a letter from a German media company which requested the shutdown of File.lv. Failing that, it was demanded that File.lv should at least block users with a German IP address, with legal action threatened should they not comply. It’s unclear whether or not the site complied with the request, or if the threatened action is connected to the site’s recent disappearance.
Almost exactly 12 months ago, the Economic Police and public prosecutors met up at a ‘cyber-crime’ summit in Sigulda, Latvia, to discuss how piracy on the Internet could be detected and recorded in a fashion acceptable to the courts. One of the guest lecturers at the meeting was Jeremy Banks, head of Internet anti-piracy operations at the IFPI.
With this news about File-lv, it sounds like it took them a year to get organized.
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Update: It appears that most of the other well known Latvian trackers that were hosted in Latvia at the time of the raid have now temporarily shut down as a precaution. This is the first time in Latvia there have been actual arrests in connection with a torrent site.
Update2: Additional details coming in from this report. According to the site’s host, 3 servers were seized. Additionally, it’s being reported that the site used a “buy upload credits via SMS” system.