European anti-piracy sweep results in 10 arrests

Belgian police announced a European raid leading to 10 arrests related to copyrighted movies and music shared online through four different organized groups.

Five suspects were arrested in Belgium, with five remaining piracy ring leaders arrested in Poland, Sweden and Norway. They’ve been charged with crimes ranging from computer fraud and copyright infringement to being a member of a criminal organization.

European anti-piracy sweep results in 10 arrests

The suspects were motivated more to share mass amounts of copyrighted files rather than monetary profit, police sources told European members of the press.

“They are between 25 and 30 years old and they knew what they were doing,” Belgian police told the Associated Press. “They have the notion that all has to be free.”

In Belgium, England, Poland, Germany and Sweden, and seven other nations, a total of 48 servers helped distribute the copyrighted material, Belgian police now claim. The Belgian police led the two-year investigation into Dutch language piracy — four total groups were monitored — with Dutch TV episodes and movies widely shared.

It’s possible since their motives were based less on profit, they could receive better offers for plea deals as done in the past in similar piracy cases.

Cracking down on organized piracy and file sharing groups is now more appealing than targeting individual file sharers by police agencies. In the United States and across Europe, police agencies and federal authorities have led crackdowns against organized piracy rings accused of distributing thousands of copyrighted files online.

China and Eastern Europe are still seen as the “wild west” of global piracy, even though Shanghai and other cities have attempted “crackdowns” on piracy in the past. However, in nations where copyright groups are able to use their influence in national politics, federal departments such as US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have become involved in piracy efforts.

The U.S. government now plans to pressure China on piracy, and there were previous rumors of piracy holding up Russia from a World Trade Organization (WTO) bid.