Largest BitTorrent site in Italy closed
Rome, 29th July 2008
Colombo-BT.org, the largest BitTorrent tracker site in Italy, has been closed following police action it was announced today. BitTorrent trackers help users find and exchange the computer files they want on certain peer-to-peer networks, enabling them to distribute uploaded copyright infringing material.
Colombo-BT.org helped to make available more than 390,000 music files and 500,000 movie files, including numerous pre-release titles. The illegal service had more than 400,000 registered users and 800,000 unique user accesses each month.
The Guardia di Finanza undertook the action in cooperation with FPM, the Italian anti-music piracy group affiliated with IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide.
Colombo-BT.org was run by three Italian men who have now been charged by the police with infringing copyright law and face potential prison terms of up to three years and heavy financial penalties through administrative sanctions. The operators were making money by accepting online donations from users.
Police investigations revealed the three men had tried to conceal their activities by using the name of another individual who loaned his identity for all the administrative procedures required by the site’s Czech-based service provider and for all online payment transactions.
The Guardia di Finanza closed the service, seizing several computers and freezing two bank accounts.
Enzo Mazza, president of FPM, says: "Colombo-BT.org was Italy's version of The Pirate Bay. Its operators deliberately facilitated availability of copyright infringing content to line their own pockets. The gang of three now face potential prison sentences and hefty fines as a result of their activities. This police action sends a strong message that Italy will not tolerate serious online music piracy so criminals looking for get rich quick schemes should consider other options."For further information contact:
Alex Jacob, IFPI London
Tel: +44 (0)20 7878 7935 (Press Office)