In 2007 the US planned to put a federal prosecutor in Budapest, Hungary, to “assist in the coordination of the enforcement of intellectual property laws”. Almost immediately action was taken against some BitTorrent and warez sites operating in the country.
In 2008 it was recommended in an International Intellectual Property Alliance report that Hungary should remain on a piracy ‘watch list’ for that year. The reasons were wide and varied, but included were problems related to widespread ‘pay to leech’ torrent sites, and pay for access warez sites. “It is difficult to energize police and customs officials to investigate Internet cases because Hungarian court decisions are not a deterrent,” said the report.
The authorities, undeterred by the lack of a court deterrent, have been involved in various raids and site closures ever since, and this year is no different. In mid April, Hungarian police carried out raids on four BitTorrent trackers including Bitlove, BitMusic and Indep – and shut them down. In the same operation they closed down warez sites and a significant source of spam. The police arrested up to ten individuals, eventually detaining six for further questioning.
The reason that police were able to move so forcefully against these sites is because they were operated on a purely commercial basis. Unlike most regular torrent sites or warez blogs, users paid for access via premium SMS. The operators were pretty unpopular in the ‘regular’ BitTorrent community too, having had conflict with other sites.
Over 40 servers were confiscated in the end, filled with 250TB of data. Here are the police photos from the raid, and remember folks; paying for warez is like paying for oxygen, it’s unnecessary and it gives decent pirates a bad name ;)