Over the past several months, Danish law enforcement authorities effectively shut down the thriving local torrent tracker scene.
Torrent Tracker Crackdown
As is often the case, it didn’t take long before other sites stepped up. Rival trackers such as “Asgaard” and “ShareUniversity” opened their doors to new members, resulting in an explosive growth of these sites.
This bonanza only lasted for a few weeks. The Danish Government’s SØIK’s IP-Task Force kept the pressure on, with help from local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance. Soon after, these sites shut down as well, with the operators and users risking prosecution.
The strong language wasn’t just a warning. Last month we reported that a user of the DanishBits tracker was handed a conditional prison sentence of 60 days for sharing hundreds of movies and more than a thousand TV episodes and audiobooks.
DanishBits Ringleader Sentenced
Today, SØIK and Rights Alliance announced another victory that leads back to where it all started. The Copenhagen City Court handed the operator of DanishBits a one-year prison sentence, of which nine months are conditional.
The 33-year-old Dane was arrested in Morocco last October and was extradited to Denmark last month. The man admitted his wrongdoing which, in addition to the prison sentence, also results in 150 hours of community service.
The authorities describe the man as one of the “ringleaders” who, together with others, earned over $160,000 in revenue. The operator’s cut was roughly $40,000, which he will have to pay in damages to Rights Alliance.
According to SØIK special prosecutor Dorte Frandsen, the man played a very substantial role. Among other things, he helped to program and operate the DanishBits tracker.
“He had a very significant role in running the website, which gave many thousands of Danes the opportunity to download illegal material,” Frandsen says. “In light of the very extensive role as a ringleader, I am satisfied with the relatively harsh prison sentence that he has been sentenced to today.”
Rights Alliance director Maria Fredenslund is also happy with the sentence. She hopes that it will deter others from getting involved in similar sites.
“It is extremely important that examples are set which show that it does not pay to be a criminal,” she says, noting that copyright holders have been plagued by piracy for many years.
“Therefore, it is crucial that clear signals are now being sent that piracy is illegal and that breaking the law has consequences. We have a highly professional unit in SØIK’s IP-Task force, which has again done a fantastic job,” Fredenslund adds.
As reported previously, similar enforcement actions have shut down all sizable torrent trackers in Denmark. However, that doesn’t mean that copyright infringement is no longer a problem.
Data from piracy tracking firm MUSO shows that the number of Danish visits to pirate sites has only increased in recent months.