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Authorities search German anti-piracy group

Anti-pirates baited warez merchants

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German authorities searched the offices of the German Federation Against Copyright Theft (GVU) this week following a world-wide series of raids on warez operations.

But the group, a federation commissioned by the film and entertainment software industry, has rejected claims it is being investigated for bribing administrators of warez release groups to facilitate the raids.

Local and federal police, along with Interpol, raided over 300 homes and offices this week in Germany, Austria, Holland, Poland, Israel, the Czech Republic, Canada and USA and arrested 35 individuals, some of whom were responsible for releasing King Kong hours before it was released in European cinemas.

In Baden-Wurttemberg alone, 150 law enforcement authorities took part in raids.

Several FTP servers owned by release groups such as Knights, TFCiSO, Cinemaniacs and German-Friend were closed.

The GVU in particular was proud to have stopped Klapsmühle (formerly known as "Paradise Beach") in Vienna, Austria, where 28 independent hard drives offered a storage potential of four Terabytes.

German news site Heise Online suggested earlier this week that GVU paid at least one administrator in Frankfurt several times to obtain IP addresses and server logs. Other publications wrote that the GVU provided the groups with actual material.

"We do have paid informants in the warez scene," GVU spokesperson Diane Gross told The Register. "It is even legal to provide those groups with material, however, we are not disclosing details of this particular case."

She admitted that the State Attorney of Ellwangen investigators did search the Hamburg office of GVU earlier this week. "They needed more evidence against four pirates; at least this is what they told us.

"We believe they may have had doubts about the evidence we provided, but that's all speculation. We would have given the requested material if they had asked for it. The search is unrelated to the modus operandi."

To some, the German case sounds all too familiar. Last year Swedish anti piracy organisation Svenska Antipiratbyrån (APB) admitted it had used a paid informant, dubbed Rouge, to place illegal material on servers of Swedish ISP Bahnhof, which unknowingly facilitated warez groups. In the end, however, both sides agreed to cease any legal actions against each other.®

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