While BitTorrent is far and away the most popular file-sharing protocol in use today, it is relatively rare that its users attract the attention of the police.
The reasons for this are fairly straightforward. When the police get involved with file-sharers they are usually interested in very large-scale cases of copyright infringement. While BitTorrent users may indeed be sharing many items at once, it’s not simply a case of browsing that user’s shared folder to see what else is on offer – BitTorrent has no ‘shared-folder’-type setup.
Direct Connect, however, does have such a setup and its users are likely to share their whole music collections at once in an easily identifiable way. Although Direct Connect hubs are more difficult to access than a regular torrent site, once in, investigators find gathering evidence trivial if the sharers make no effort to mask their identities.
While details are scarce at the moment and the use of Direct Connect has not yet been confirmed, it appears that another large-scale file-sharer has fallen foul of the law.
Acting on a tipoff, Swedish police carried out a raid in the Uppvidinge Municipality yesterday.
After a search on the home of a 25 year-old man, he was arrested on suspicion of copyright infringement and his computer was seized.
According to the police, during questioning the man later admitted to sharing 12,000 songs on the Internet, although they probably mean ‘making available’ – a subtle but important difference. He was later released.
Police said the investigation was led by the prosecutors office in Stockholm, who were acting on a tip from what they describe as a “music interests organization.” Although unconfirmed at the moment, this type of tip and raid bears all the hallmarks of IFPI.
Just over a week ago, IFPI submitted a request to the Stockholm District Court to force an ISP to hand over the personal details of another alleged large-scale file-sharer, confirmed to have used Direct Connect. The action marked the first time a request had been made by the organization under the IPRED legislation introduced in April.
It is unclear why yesterday’s arrest of an alleged 12,000 track file-sharer means that his case will be dealt with in a criminal court, yet the other detailed above involving a 10,000 track sharer is destined for IFPI civil action.
At the time of writing, TorrentFreak’s requests for more information from the Stockholm police remain unanswered.