Fed Takes Down Torrent Sites

By Jon Newton 5/25/05

Homeland Security, the FBI's Cyber Division and US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “today the first criminal enforcement action targeting individuals committing copyright infringement on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks using cutting edge file-sharing technology known as BitTorrent”.

Acting as inspiration was the movie cartel’s MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America).

“This morning, agents of the FBI and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed 10 search warrants across the United States against leading members of a technologically sophisticated P2P network known as Elite Torrents,” says a statement.

Jon Newton

“Employing technology known as BitTorrent, the Elite Torrents network attracted more than 133,000 members and, in the last four months, allegedly facilitated the illegal distribution of more than 17,800 titles - including movies and software - which were downloaded 2.1 million times.

“In addition to executing 10 warrants, federal agents also took control of the main server that coordinated all file-sharing activity on the Elite Torrents network.”

Parroting the tired MPAA and RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) ‘hard-pressed workers’ line, "When thieves steal this data, they are taking jobs away from hard workers in industry, which adversely impacts the U.S. economy,” said the FBI's Louis M. Reigel.

Ironically, the statement specifically says the final entry in the Star Wars series, Episode III -Revenge of the Sith, was, “available for downloading on the network more than six hours before it was first shown in theatres” and in the next 24 hours, “was downloaded more than 10,000 times”.

In fact, the file was a print copy available only to Hollywood insiders.

Nonetheless, "Federal authorities on Wednesday shut down an online file-sharing network that had the new Stars War movie before it was shown in theaters," says CNN, faithfully following Hollywood dictated media doctine.

Sith grossed $158.5 million from Thursday to Sunday and was as online ticket seller Fandango Inc’s top movie for opening weekend sales. The first two days of the movie's release, Thursday and Friday, were Fandango's top selling 48 hours.

“Operation D-Elite is being conducted jointly by ICE and the FBI as part of the Computer And Technology Crime High Tech Response Team ("CATCH"), a San Diego task force of specially trained prosecutors and law enforcement officers who focus on high-tech crime. Federal and state member agencies of CATCH include ICE, the FBI, the Department of Justice, the San Diego District Attorney's Office, San Diego Police Department, the San Diego Sheriff's Department, and San Diego County Probation,” says the statement.

“Operation D-Elite was coordinated and will be prosecuted by the Justice Department's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, with the assistance and support of Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) coordinators in San Diego and U.S. Attorneys' Offices in Arizona, Illinois, Kansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“The Motion Picture Association of America provided valuable assistance to the investigation.


Jon Newton is the editor of p2pnet.net and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.


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