An international criminal network responsible for the illegal distribution of movies and TV shows across the world has been dismantled by joint action between US authorities and their counterparts in 18 countries.
Over 60 servers were taken offline in North America, Europe and Asia. Several of the main suspects were arrested.
They are alleged to have caused tens of millions of dollars of losses to the US movie, television, and supporting industries.
“This case is an excellent example of what can be achieved if we work together across borders and continents. Thanks to the long-standing partnership between the US and the European authorities, we managed to deal a significant blow to online piracy. My sincere congratulations go out to all countries involved in yesterday’s joint action day’ said Ladislav Hamran, President of Eurojust, the European Union organisation that deals with judicial co-operation.
The Sparks Groups duped legal distributors into letting them obtain legal copies of DVD and Blu-Ray disks of blockbuster movies, television shows, and other content in advance of their release dates. It was then distributed via streaming websites, peer-to-peer networks, torrent networks
The servers were located in several countries around the world, including the Republic of Korea, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, Romania, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Norway and the UK.
“In an investigation that spanned several time zones, the Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies in the United States worked very closely with national authorities from all other countries involved, exchanging necessary information in real time in a highly dynamic landscape,” said Vaughn Ary, Director of the US Department of Justice’s Office of International Affairs. “The Department extends our gratitude to Eurojust, Europol, and our international partners, who played a critical role in the investigation and takedown of these alleged cyber criminals.”
One of the members of the alleged criminal network was arrested over the weekend in Cyprus and another suspect was arrested yesterday in the United States.