Major Scene MP3 Pre-Release Group Busted By Police

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A major online warez release group has been severely disrupted after a police and music industry investigation. A contender for the most prolific in its field, the group has suffered arrests, with the latest coming yesterday after police and the BPI conducted an early morning raid.

While much attention is currently focused on illicit file-sharing carried out by the UK public and the closing down of sites such as OiNK, TV Links and AradiTracker, the groups at the top of the so-called ‘piracy pyramid’ receive relatively little attention. These groups are the source of much of the music on file-sharing networks, particularly when it comes to pre-release material – sometimes identifiable by ‘Advance’ or ‘Promo’ tags in the release name.

Now, according to information leaked to TorrentFreak, one of the most prolific music release groups around has suffered a significant setback after police quietly started arresting members during the last month. The latest arrest came yesterday, as police and BPI investigators conducted an early morning raid on a senior member of the group.

At this stage we cannot publish the group’s name (see update at the bottom of this article for group name) but we believe that they are responsible for more than 3,000 single and album releases. The group was relatively young and had a membership of less than ten individuals, although they aren’t all based in the UK.

The first arrest happened mid-May and the most recent yesterday, conducted in a similar fashion to earlier raids against those involved in the TV Links and AradiTracker cases.

In early morning raids, officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Hi-Tech Crime Unit backed up by senior investigators from the BPI took the suspects by surprise. Sources close to the investigation told TorrentFreak that as many as 15 officers conducted searches on the target addresses, arresting suspects and taking them away for questioning.

Hardware was of great interest to the police as they seized large amounts of electrical equipment including all computers, cell phones, various CDs and MP3 players, bank statements and sundry other items from the addresses.

After hours of questioning by police in the presence of BPI investigators, in common with the OiNK uploaders the suspects were charged with Conspiracy to Defraud (the music industry), bailed and ordered to reappear at later dates.

According to sources, all remaining group members have gone into hiding, all servers are now offline and topsite accounts have been deleted.

More on this breaking story as we get it.

Update: Our sources have agreed to let us name the group – it is DV8. Their latest release was Brokencyde-Im_Not_A_Fan_But_The_Kids_Like_It-2009-DV8 – time will tell if it will be the last.

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