German police searched several locations this week in their efforts to close down a BitTorrent tracker they claim was involved in the distribution of movies and other copyrighted material, including a pre-released computer game.
This week, police carried out co-ordinated raids targeting more than 10 locations in Germany following claims from the GVU (German Federation Against Copyright Theft) that movies and software were being traded, including a computer game that had been distributed in advance of its official market release date.
The searches carried out at Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Saxonia-Anhalt and Thuringia yielded a 38 year old man already known to the authorities, who is now under suspicion of being the administrator of the tracker. At this point, the tracker name cannot be confirmed.
It was reported that the suspects maintained servers with large storage capacities and fast upload speeds. Computer systems and large amounts of data were seized during the searches.
The GVU has been involved in large file-sharing related raids in the past, notably in 2006 where a broad assault on the European warez-scene saw raids in 5 countries, the arrest of 30 people and the dismantling of several scene groups.
At the time, German news site Heise.de suggested that GVU paid site administrators to obtain IP addresses and server logs of suspects, while other reports suggested that GVU actually provided pirate material to the groups. GVU’s Diane Gross openly admitted this and told The Register, “We do have paid informants in the warez scene,” and said “It is even legal to provide those groups with material, however, we are not disclosing details of this particular case.”