BitTorrent Crackdown: Police Raid Private Tracker, Others Shut Down

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Anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån is making good on its threats to take file-sharing sites offline in Sweden. During the last 48 hours, police in Sweden and the Netherlands swooped on key staff and hardware connected to a long-standing private BitTorrent tracker. As yet another popular eBook site closes, famous tracker Scene Access is being warned - you're next.

Following the announcement this month that Sweden’s Supreme Court would not be hearing an appeal of the Pirate Bay trial, entertainment industry lawyers warned that file-sharing sites in Sweden were living on borrowed time. All 150 sites with Swedish connections were advised to shut down – or else.

For Swepiracy, a private BitTorrent tracker founded in 2006, it’s now too late. On Thursday, police in Sweden and the Netherlands swooped on the 30,000 member site after it was accused by the authorities of being one of the most important locations when it comes to illegally distributing Swedish films.

Anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån said that the tracker’s operators had ignored warnings to close down and instead took measures to protect themselves. The site’s servers were in the Netherlands, but police there assisted their Swedish counterparts and took the site down.

This is not the first time that Swepiracy has been taken offline. Following a similar torrent site crackdown following the “guilty” verdict in the Pirate Bay trial in April 2009, Swepiracy disappeared for a few weeks, but reappeared before the month was out.

Now, Antipiratbyrån say they will take the operators of Swepiracy to court and seek damages “according to The Pirate Bay model.” They also warn that other sites – including The Internationals (which was recently closed down only to later reappear) and famous private tracker Scene Access – are next if they don’t comply.

Also this week, police in Gothenburg carried out a raid against an individual they say is suspected of widespread file-sharing on The Pirate Bay and another local site, Shareitall. The man denied the charges and was subsequently released.

Other Swedish-based sites have already had enough. This week the admins of eBook-focused site closed down the site of their own free will.

“Bibliotik has shutdown all operations. We are no longer able to assume the risks involved. The staff would like to apologize for the sudden (but necessary) decision and thank everyone that participated and made Bibliotik such a great place for so long. We love you guys!” they said in an announcement.

Earlier this week, Sweden’s number 2 torrent site Tankafetast shut down after its operators decided that enough was enough. At the time, Antipiratbyran confirmed they had threatened the site with legal action. However, just days later, the site has changed owners and is now back online.

Update March 1st: Bibliotik say they are moving to a new datacenter and will soon be back online


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