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Indian piracy arrests bother Bollywood BitTorrenters

Drama unlikely to end with dance number

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Indian police arrested four suspected movie uploaders last weekend in what is reportedly the first operation of its kind in the country.

The quartet are accused of running a business involving ripping pirated movie DVDs and music CDs and uploading them to a site called Torrentrockerz, which made its money from advertising.

The operation specialised in uploading Bollywood movies, and allegedly ran in competition with local rivals from Decemeber 2008 until a raid by Hyderabad police last weekend.

The suspects include Vijay Prabanj Reddy, 22, an engineering student from the Kadapa District of India who allegedly ran the site. Police seized two CD copiers/duplicators and two computers, as well as over 1,000 CDs and DVDs of Telugu, Hindi and English during a series of raids, as explained in a police statement here (scroll down to item headed "UPLOADING RECENTLY RELEASED MOVIES IN TO WEBSITE").

Broadband penetration is increasing in India and with it the use of BitTorrent and other filesharing technologies. The controversial hiring by Bollywood studios of a local firm prepared to launch DDoS attacks on filesharing sites if legal demands were ignored was one of the primary triggers for the Operation Payback campaign, launched against entertainment industry websites by the loosely-banded Anonymous collective.

TorrentFreak reports that the arrests have sparked "mild panic" among local BitTorrent tracker administrators, with some taking down their sites as a precaution. ®

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