Operation Jackal: Police Track Down Charity Song Pirates

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In Italy artists and musicians made a charity song to raise money for victims of the recent earthquake. Like most music these days the song found its way onto P2P networks before its official release. Italy's answer to the RIAA reported the situation to the police, who are now reporting they have tracked down and arrested the leakers.

In April hundreds of people were killed after an earthquake hit L’Aquila in Italy, prompting several initiatives to raise funds for those affected. One project saw 56 artists and musicians come together to record a song called “Domani 21/4.09″ (Tomorrow 21/4.09).

Inevitably the song leaked onto P2P networks before its official release. Normally, the leak of any other song would be met with relative silence since it’s such a common event these days, but Italy’s answer to the RIAA, (FIMI, the Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana) decided to take advantage of the delicate nature of the leak to rally public opinion against file-sharing. They claimed that people were downloading the song instead of giving to charity, something which we seriously doubted in our earlier report.

Nevertheless, FIMI decided that the leak was so odious that it should be reported to Guardia di Finanza, an Italian police force dealing with everything from smuggling, money laundering through to copyright violations. FIMI claims that the leak has already cost the charity 1 million euros but provides no evidence of this.

So, to find the people responsible for the leak, Guardia di Finanza launched Operation Jackal and it hasn’t taken long to get some results. It’s now being reported that three individuals have been tracked down after uploading the track to various file-hosting sites and distributing it via an unnamed Direct Connect hub. The arrests were made in Rome and Milan.

At a press conference, Luca Vespignani, secretary general of the Federation Against Music Piracy said that they reported the leak to the police after they noticed “dozens of illegal download every day.”

FIMI president Enzo Mazza commented, “Whoever put this song on the file-sharing networks has done something evil and knowingly damaging the [fund-raising] initiative.”

As we noted previously, giving to charity is a voluntary act, done from the heart. Those that give to charity do so of their own free will and don’t avoid doing that, for instance, by downloading a song for free. To suggest otherwise is to misunderstand why people donate in the first place.

Donations to the fund can still be made here.

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