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By | Jan Libbenga 17th September 2004 06:56

German lawyer arrested in piracy crackdown

Customers could be next

German police have arrested a 46 year-old lawyer who, along with two brothers from Thüringen, offered illegal software, games and movies through the high speed download service Ftpwelt.com for over a year. Details will be revealed during a press conference today.

The German Society for the pursuit of copyright infringements e.V. says (press release in German here) the police dealt a serious blow to the warez (pirated software) community. The organisation says it also has a list of 45,000 customers who knowingly paid for illegal content and may have to face legal consequences later.

German papers today report that the main suspect, Bernhard S., was responsible for bookkeeping and finance. The three men operated several fileservers in the Netherlands, the USA and Russia.

Customers paid with credit cards, directly through their bank or through premium rate services. They could download three movies for €15 or pay €135 per month for an all-you-can-eat menu. Among the releases offered were movies shot in cinemas with digital camcorders. According to the police the men grossed over €1m. Most of the money went through an offshore company on the Virgin Islands.

Police monitored the suspects for several months after a curious hacker gained access to their servers and discovered many details about the operation, including a list of customer accounts. More arrests may follow. ®

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