For years, the anti-piracy group LANVA has fought legal battles against BitTorrent sites and their users in Lithuania.
These cases were initiated with help from Vytas Simanavicius, the former Vice President of the anti-piracy group, who often collaborated with local law enforcement.
However, in recent times the former anti-piracy chief found himself on the wrong side of the law after being accused of drug trafficking. This week the court concluded his case which resulted in a two-year jail sentence.
The trouble for the anti-piracy boss started February two years ago. At the time the Organized Crime Investigation Board launched a pre-trial investigation into Simanavicius, suspecting that he was involved in the drug trade.
In the early stages of the investigation the LANVA boss’s girlfriend provided information to the police. The local authorities then decided to put him on surveillance for six months. Eventually a sting operation was launched, using an undercover police woman posing as an interested buyer.
The agent recorded a conversation about drug prices with Simanavicius, who further revealed that he obtained the drugs from a connection in the Netherlands. The undercover agent also bought drug samples from LANVA’s president, who intended to acquire bigger batches.
The deal never went through, instead, the then President of LANVA was charged with drug trafficking.
The two-year jail sentence Simanavicius received this week is the lowest possible under Lithuanian criminal law, and can be appealed at a higher court.
In recent years Simanavicius built quite a track record of legal proceedings against BitTorrent sites and users, and served as the local expert on anti-piracy matters.
In 2010 LANVA teamed up with software giant Microsoft again to sue the operator of LinkoManija. Microsoft demanded $43 million from the defendant and his company for assisting in the illegal distribution of its software.
This case is still ongoing, but it’s unlikely that Vytas Simanavicius will stay on as an expert witness.