Police Raid BitTorrent Tracker…and Arrest its Hosting Provider

This week an operation led by a powerful anti-piracy group closed down a 6-year-old BitTorrent tracker. The site had already been targeted following the verdict in the original Pirate Bay trial, but had quickly announced their intentions to go 100% legal. This week, however, people said to be behind the site were arrested. Most surprisingly, one of them was the owner of the company supplying them bandwidth.

In 2009 during the wake of the original Pirate Bay trial and the convictions for its founders, the Swedish anti-piracy office Antipiratbyrån began sending out warnings to other sites hosted in Sweden.

One Swedish site called TTi (otherwise known as The Internationals) had been running since 2005 relatively trouble-free but decided that  enough was enough.

“TTi will only concentrate on bands/artists that want to spread their material on the Internet and are waiting for a record contract,” TTi staff announced.

Internationals
But after initially removing “infringing torrents” the temptation to index all content proved too great and just over a month later the old TTi was back, an event that clearly didn’t go unnoticed by Antipiratbyrån.

Raids against TTi took place this week in two locations, Växjö and Borås, and are said to have resulted in the arrest of two people and the seizure of three servers including the site’s tracker and another housing community data. While the identity of the man arrested in Borås hasn’t yet been revealed, the individual from Växjö has.

Patrik Lagerman is the owner of web-hosting outfit Patrikweb, a company which gained worldwide attention for becoming involved in bandwidth supply to The Pirate Bay after a court injunction cut off its supplies in August 2009.

It appears that Lagerman was sucked into this current case in December last year when he received a call from Antipiratbyrån who asked him to stop supplying bandwidth to TTi.

“I said I wanted to see a court order to shut down the client,” said Lagerman, the same response he gave to Antipiratbyrån in 2009 when they asked him to cut off Pirate Bay’s supplies.

Then everything went quiet for nearly a year, until the silence was broken this week.

On Tuesday morning at 06:30, Lagerman was woken by five police officers, arrested, and taken for questioning which lasted several hours. But during the evening he was back online and venting his anger among the web-hosting community.

“Trying to prosecute the hosting provider for assisting [in infringement] shows just how stupid they are,” said Lagerman, while highlighting that the same prosecutor is also behind the unsettling case of a 15-year-old file-sharer.

“Right now, just wait and see what happens, but police and prosecutors are so fucking grossly incompetent that handling things correctly or in a good way does not work with them,” Lagerman added. “Ten cops to get 3 servers, if anything it should be a crime to manage resources like this.”

Lagerman believes that as an ISP and without being served with a court order, the law is on his side, even when hosting a site like TTi.

“It is not my responsibility to interpret and decide if something is legal or not, I do not even have a legal right to do so. Swedish law is also clear, you are always innocent until the court has spoken, and a ruling is final.

“For this basic principle you can not be prosecuted for abetting a crime before the main offense is pending before the court establishing that there even is a crime,” he added.

Lagerman says he will now pursue Antipiratbyrån for falsely reporting him for a crime he didn’t commit and on the basis that they say he is involved in TTi’s ‘crimes’, extends the same principle to the police and prosecutor.

“The prosecutor in the case is now guilty of aiding and abetting [a false accusation from Antipiratbyrån] and the police are also guilty of aiding and abetting a false accusation,” he concludes.

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