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May 26, 2005

Elite Torrents Raid [8:37 am]

One question — *what* agency spearheaded this? DHS?? Star Wars pirates forced off net

An internet site that let film fans illegally download the new Star Wars movie before it reached cinemas has been shut after raids in the US.

The Elite Torrents site allowed 133,000 members to download thousands of films and software programs, according to the Homeland Security Department.

The Justice Department said fans used it to download Revenge of the Sith 10,000 times before it was released.

It was shut after raids by federal agents in 10 cities across the country.

The WaPo doesn’t tell us which agency: Federal Agents Shut Down File-Sharing Web Site [pdf]

Wired News raises a more troubling point - U.S. Jacks Torrent Site

Acting on detailed information provided by the motion picture industry, federal agents descended on administrators and users of a popular pirate-friendly file-sharing site Wednesday in what the government is calling the first criminal law enforcement action against BitTorrent users.

FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents executed 10 search warrants in nine states in a strike on Elitetorrents.org, a free, members-only BitTorrent aggregator hosted in the Netherlands.

[...] Another 10 suspects outside the United States remain under investigation, but were not a part of Wednesday’s raids, said Sevel. Casual downloaders were also spared, but a Justice Department spokesman in Washington would not rule out future federal action against them. [...]

ICE, the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, spearheaded the investigation because of its international scope.

So, yes, the Department of Homeland Security headed this up……

Later: The Register’s Fearless Feds sink Star Wars pirate website comments on the troubling, yet absurd, elements of this story.

The FBI Press release: Federal Law Enforcement Announces Operation D-ELITE, Crackdown on P2P Piracy Network

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