Following the joint signing of an IFPI / Bulgarian Interior Ministry memorandum declaring a crackdown on piracy, the head of the Computer Crimes Department appeared on TV and said that the country’s two largest BitTorrent sites will be closed down. Both Zamunda.net and Arena.bg are currently in the spotlight but it is feared more could join them in the future.
Earlier this week the music industry lobby group IFPI made an announcement which indicated that in terms of Internet piracy, Bulgaria is leading all of Europe.
IFPI’s Frances Moore said that ISPs should be forced to take responsibility for illicit file-sharing and called for changes in the law.
On Tuesday this week, a memorandum was signed by Bulgaria’s Interior Minister and IFPI which effectively declared war on piracy in the country. It didn’t take long for its effects to be felt.
Yesterday Yavor Kolev, the head of Bulgaria’s Computer Crimes Department, announced on TV that he would do everything in his power to crack down on BitTorrent sites. He confirmed that his first two targets would be Zamunda.net and Arena.bg
“We will shut down Zamunda and Arena BG and their servers that supply pirated movies and music and take money from their users via premium SMS. The users of the sites will not be arrested,” he said. “We’ll clean the web from Internet pirates and set up platforms for legal file downloads,” he added.
Cases against both Zamunda and Arena BG have been pending for 4 years but it’s believed that neither site is operated by Bulgarians. It’s claimed that Zamunda is operated by a Syrian and Arena BG a Russian.
Whether or not the authorities in Bulgaria will succeed in their quest is up for debate. Certainly Arena BG has a habit of reappearing quickly every time it encounters trouble.