On June 11th last year Europe witnessed one of the largest piracy-related busts in history.
An international operation shut down the movie streaming portal Kino.to and police made more than a dozen arrests. As collateral damage, several file-hosting services connected to Kino.to also went down.
A few days ago Skyload.net, another cyberlocker with connections to Kino.to, was raided and shut down while the site’s alleged operator Maik P. was arrested. According to the authorities the 28-year-old operator was personally responsible for uploading more than 10,000 films .
The German anti-piracy outfit GVU reports that after Kino.to was shut down Skyload continued its operation by linking unauthorized streams and downloads to alternative movie portals such as kinoX.to.
Together with the operator of Skyload, the police also arrested Marcel E., the 25-year-old owner of the site’s hosting provider. Aside from providing hosting services to the cyberlocker, the Internet provider is also alleged to have hosted servers to release groups and movie streaming portals.
How tight the connections were between the hosting provider and the file-sharing services is unclear from the information currently being made public. It is quite unusual for a hosting provider to get arrested for alleged crimes that were committed through clients.
Both men have been charged with copyright-related offenses and face up to several years in prison if they’re found guilty. Several other people connected to the Kino.to ring have already gone on trial for their part in the site’s operation and the main admin was recently sentenced to three years in prison.
Together with the Megaupload shutdown, the actions against sites affiliated with Kino.to have drastically changed the cyberlocker business. In particular, rewards programs for uploaders became a liability and have been dropped by dozens of sites.