In June 2011, police across Europe carried out the largest anti-piracy operation the region had ever seen. Their target was massive streaming portal Kino.to and several affiliates with links to Spain, France and the Netherlands.
With many sites demonstrating phoenix-like abilities these days, it didn’t take long for a replacement to appear.
Replacement platform KinoX soon attracted a large fanbase and with that almost immediate attention from the authorities. In October 2014, Germany-based investigators acting on behalf of the Attorney General carried out raids in several regions of the country looking for four main suspects.
One raid, focused on a village near to the northern city of Lübeck, targeted two brothers, then aged 21 and 25-years-old. The pair, who were said to have lived with their parents, were claimed to be the main operators of Kinox.to and another large streaming site, Movie4K.to. Although two other men were arrested elsewhere in Germany, the brothers couldn’t be found.
This was to be no ordinary manhunt by the police. In addition to accusing the brothers of copyright infringement and tax evasion, authorities indicated they were wanted for fraud, extortion, and arson too. The suggestion was that they’d targeted a vehicle owned by a pirate competitor, causing it to “burst into flames”.
The brothers were later named as Kastriot and Kreshnik Selimi. Born in 1992, 21-year-old Kreshnik was born in Sweden. 25-year-old Kastriot was born in Kosovo in 1989 and along with his brother, later became a German citizen.
With authorities piling on the charges, the pair were accused of being behind not only KinoX and Movie4K, but also other hosting and sharing platforms including BitShare, Stream4k.to, Shared.sx, Mygully.com and Boerse.sx.
The now 24-year-old suspect reportedly handed himself to the German embassy located in the capital of Kosovo, Prestina. The location of the arrest isn’t really a surprise. Older brother Kastriot previously published a picture on Instagram which appeared to show a ticket in his name destined for Kosovo from Zurich in Switzerland.
But while Kreshnik’s arrest reportedly took place in July, there’s still no news of Kastriot. The older brother is still on the run, maybe in Kosovo, or by now, potentially anywhere else in the world.
While his whereabouts remain a mystery, the other puzzle faced by German authorities is the status of the two main sites the brothers were said to maintain.
Despite all the drama and unprecedented allegations of violence and other serious offenses, both Movie4K and KinoX remain stubbornly online, apparently oblivious to the action.
There have been consequences for people connected to the latter, however.
In December 2015, Arvit O (aka “Pedro”) who handled technical issues on KinoX, was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his involvement in the site.
Arvit O, who made a partial confession, was found guilty of copyright infringement by the District Court of Leipzig. The then 29-year-old admitted to infringing 2,889 works. The Court also found that he hacked the computers of two competitors in order to improve Kinox’s market share.