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German police have exposed the names of thousands of users of an illegal Internet piracy site, in a crackdown on swapping illegal copies of movies, games, music and computer software.

Three months ago German police arrested a 46 year-old lawyer who, along with two brothers from Thuringia, offered bootleg software, games and movies through the high speed download service Ftpwelt.com for over a year. Among the releases offered were movies shot in cinemas with digital camcorders. According to the police the men, who are still in custody, grossed over € 1m.

At the time the German society for the pursuit of copyright infringements said it had a list of 45,000 customers who knowingly paid for illegal content. Estimates are that the police now have the names of at least 16.000 copyright violators who could face heavy fines or even prison terms, although it is still unclear when charges will be pressed. ®

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