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Copyright cops raid Filesoup admin

Police and movie industry join forces

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The British administrator of a former BitTorrent tracker site is out on police bail after his home was raided by police working with film industry investigators.

The 50-year-old man, who can't be named, was arrested on suspicion of offences under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act last Monday by Avon and Somerset Police, the force confirmed. Officers acted on information supplied by the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), a copyright enforcement body funded by movie producers and distributors.

In a forum posting on Filesoup, the filesharing site he is accused of running, the man said that officers had seized an array of computer equipment when they searched his home just after 9am on 27 July.

According to the man, the seized items have been handed by police to FACT for computer forensics investigation.

He wrote: [After several hours in a cell] I was then interviewed by two police officers and it was recorded on tape, they asked loads of questions about all sorts of things to do with Filesoup.

"I had to correct and explain things to them several times, in very simple terms, a lot of the misconceptions or misunderstandings they had about the way BitTorrent works, how servers and hosts operate, how the internet works, what a domain name was, what a URL was, to name but a few things!"

The man was released in the evening of the same day and bailed to surrender at the police station in October.

Launching in 2003, Filesoup was one of the earliest BitTorrent trackers. In 2005 it switched tack to act mainly as a community where members shared links to copyrighted material hosted on download websites.

Filesoup's more recent incarnation operated on a basis more similar to TV Links than to a BitTorrent tracker. That site's administrator was arrested on trademark infringement charges in 2007.

This latest filesharing arrest follows a high profile raid in Middlesborough, also in 2007, on Alan Ellis, who administered OiNK.cd. That investigation was conducted by local police with help from the BPI, FACT's music industry counterpart. Ellis' trial on charges of conspiracy to defraud is currently scheduled for September. ®

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