Three Arrested As Police Swoop on Rapidshare Link Forum

An Internet forum which provided links to movies and TV shows hosted on sites such as Rapidshare has been raided by police. Following an anti-piracy group investigation, three alleged operators of the 30,000 member site were arrested, two of which were teenagers. Searches were carried out on members in three other locations.

With 30,000 members Filmowisko was a prominent file-sharing forum. The site didn’t host any illicit material, but like many of its type, linked to movies, TV shows, music and other warez stored on hosting sites such as Rapidshare.

“Forum administrators are not responsible for content written by users. The files placed here by users are only for promotional purposes. After 24 hours you must delete all files downloaded from this forum,” said the disclaimer on the front page of the site before it disappeared.

Polish police and the Foundation for the Protection of Audiovisual Creativity (FOTA) anti-piracy group clearly didn’t think the disclaimer counted for much, and on February 12th conducted raids against the site’s operators.

During the raid last Friday, police say they arrested three individuals on suspicion of running the site – a 21 year-old computer science student and two teenagers aged 16 and 17 – and also conducted searches on site members in three other locations.

Equipment was seized including 6 computers and 150 DVDs and CDs which allegedly contained copyright infringing content.

After lengthy questioning the 21 and 17 year-olds were released and now face copyright infringement charges which carry a maximum 5 year prison sentence in Poland. The 16 year-old, who was reported yesterday as still being detained, will be dealt with by the family courts.

The police, who are still to officially confirm the name of the site, say that “streaming movies” were also available via the forum and that those arrested benefited financially from operating the site as they collected revenue from advertising.

They add that the collected evidence is being examined by experts in order to assess the level of damages suffered by the creators of the films and music whose work was linked to by the site.

Anti-piracy group FOTA, which awards the police with “Golden Plate” accolades for carrying out piracy crackdowns on their behalf, will undoubtedly be pleased with this result.

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