Friday, April 23, 2004

Latest piracy crackdown ...continued

Friday, April 23, 2004

Further details of yesterday's busts have now emerged making it abundantly clear that the scale of the operation had until now been vastly underestimated. Operation Fastlink (yes, 'the feds' are just as nerdy as the people they spend their coffee breaks snickering at) was brought into effect through the cooperation of anti-piracy organizations and intellectual property guardians in the United States, Singapore, Israel, Great Britain, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, The Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Sweden. Marauding forces conducted 120 sweeps resulting in the seizure of 200 computer and 30 computer servers housing an estimated $50m worth of software booty.

Amongst the individuals detained for questioning are the leaders, members and affiliates of the release groups FairLight, APC, Kalisto, Echelon, Class and ProjectX, some of which occupy roles in more than a single group. APC are influential players in the MP3 scene while Echelon, Kalisto and ProjectX specialise in the cracking and release of console games. Class and FairLight are renowned, idolised even, for releasing cut-down (ripped) and full CD image PC games respectively.

Note that rip group, Class, actually opted to hang up their mice of their own accord back in January of this year, and likewise, the FairLight of old willingly disbanded in June 2003. Consequently the direct impact of these actions is unlikely to be devastating for the PC ISO scene. Still, the reverberations could well ruffle a few feathers.

One of the more immediate effects I imagine will be the disappearance of defiant bluster such as "the feds have no jurisdiction outside the US" or "I'm untouchable because I live in country x where no-one cares about piracy".

You can pick over the remaining grisly details included in the official DoJ statement here.

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