Police Drop Investigation Into Pirate Bay Suspect

WIRE TELEGRAM – The investigation following a raid involving The Pirate Bay more than a year ago has been scaled back. The prosecutor handling the case says the investigation into one of the key suspects has now been dropped after police found they had no time to analyze the data seized during the raid. Other cases have higher priority, police suggest.

On December 9, 2014, the file-sharing world received a bombshell.

“There has been a crackdown on a server room in Greater Stockholm. This is in connection with violations of copyright law,” said Paul Pintér, police national coordinator for IP enforcement in Sweden.

More than ten police officers had entered a data center embedded into the side of a mountain in Nacka, just outside the capital. And with The Pirate Bay, EZTV and several other torrent related sites offline, it became clear this was no ordinary raid.

Days later it was revealed that police had held a still-unnamed key suspect in custody for a week.

“The suspicions relate to a violation of copyright law. Everything is being analyzed now and new hearings may possibly be held,” prosecutor Fredrik Ingblad said.

A major criminal investigation was clearly underway but months passed, seemingly without progress. In the meantime The Pirate Bay came back online, business as usual, leaving the authorities to try and pick up the pieces and join the dots.

READ MORE: Quentin Tarantino wants to turn The Hateful Eight into a play

But now, more than 13 months later, it appears that far from making significant progress, things are moving in the other direction.

In comments made to local media, Fredrik Ingblad says that the investigation into one of the key suspects in the case is now effectively over.

“Parts of the investigation are closed. And that’s because the police do not have the resources to analyze the seized hardware,” Ingblad says.

At least in part it appears that determination to leave no stone unturned contributed to the position police now find themselves in. During the raid police seized around 50 servers, some live, some from the datacenter’s storage rooms.

Also seized were computers and various servers owned by the former suspect but according to the prosecutor the task of analyzing the evidence they contain never properly got off the ground. Whether that’s due to sheer volume or possible encryption isn’t clear, but in any event it appears that very little has been done.

“These kinds of investigations take time, but in this particular case [the police] have barely begun to analyze the hardware and I have not received a plan when the police can start working again,” Ingblad says.

READ MORE: ‘The Hateful Eight’ Executive Producer Leaked the Movie for Early Illegal Pirating?

According to IDG, when questioned by Ingblad on their apparent lack of progress, police pointed to a lack of IT resources available to investigate the case. That, combined with a general lack of evidence to indicate that the suspect had committed any crime, means that the case against him was stood down.

Ingblad wouldn’t be drawn on questions of whether it’s common for cases to be dropped due to a lack of resources but conceded this was a first time for him. Describing his decision to drop the case against the suspect as unfortunate, Ingblad says the investigation into other suspects continues.

Precisely how many people remain on the police radar is unclear but it’s likely that Pirate Bay founder Fredrik Neij remains a suspect.

Movie studios target torrent users over recent leaked screeners

WIRE TELEGRAM: If you have been enjoying any of the latest leaked screeners of Hollywood movies, you may soon receive a warning notice from Hollywood studios. After more than a dozen of high quality DVD screeners were leaked online, the movie studios have sent thousands of warnings to Internet subscribers whose connections were used to share leaked DVD screeners.

The warnings have no immediate consequences for the affected subscribers but are meant to deter pirates from sharing the high profile leaks.

READ MORE: What Will Airbnb Do If Your House Gets Trashed?

Readers will remember that a movie leaking group, Hive-CM8 had promised to leak 40 high quality Hollywood movie screeners. However they stopped after releasing 14 such screeners and offered an apology to the producers.

Producers for these 14 screeners have started to issue takedown requests to various websites in the hope that this will prevent at least some people from downloading their films without permission. They are also sending takedown notices to individual BitTorrent users.

Paramount Pictures through its anti-piracy partner IP-Echelon is sending notices to websites, “We are requesting your immediate assistance in removing and disabling access to the infringing material from your network. We also ask that you ensure the user and/or IP address owner refrains from future use and sharing of Paramount materials and property,” the notice reads.

Paramount targets downloaders of DVD screeners of both The Big Short and Anomalisa. Roadshow Films uses the same messages to contact subscribers who allegedly pirated The Hateful Eight.

‘The Hateful Eight’ Executive Producer Leaked the Movie for Early Illegal Pirating?

The Hateful Eight is one of Tarantino’s and Samuel L. Jackson’s best up-to-date work. A lot of people were surprise when they started seeing the movie on sites like Pirate Bay and other pirating websites with hundreds of thousands of illegal downloads . The source of the online leak of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight has been traced to an awards-season DVD screener that had been sent to a leading Hollywood studio executive.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the pirated version of The Hateful Eight available from some file-sharing sites bears a digital watermark that identifies it as a DVD sent to Andrew Kosove, co-CEO of Alcon Entertainment, a major production and finance outfit involved in films such as The 33, Transcendence and the recent remake of Point Break.

Kosove, who is co-operating fully with the FBI agents investigating the leak, denied the DVD ever reached him. “I’ve never seen this DVD,” he said. “It’s never touched my hands. We’re going to do more than co-operate with the FBI. We’re going to conduct our own investigation to find out what happened.”

According to information cited by the Reporter, the DVD was uploaded to the internet by a hacker collective called Hive-CM8, and was downloaded at least 200,000 times on its first day. CM8 say they plan to upload 40 DVD screeners in total, and have also posted pirated versions of The Revenant, Creed and Legend.

Despite increased security measures, the awards season organisers have so far failed to curtail the leaking of films that are sent to voters on DVD. In 2004, Godfather actor Carmine Caridi was ordered to pay Warner Bros $300,000 and expelled from the Academy after films leaked online were traced to DVDs he had received.

Andrew Kosove, co-CEO of production-finance company Alcon Entertainment, was sent the “screener” copy of Hateful Eight for year-end awards consideration. That copy was signed for by an office assistant and later shared online, where it is now circulating on multiple file-sharing sites. Sources say officials with the FBI, working in conjunction with distributor The Weinstein Co., have been able to pinpoint Kosove’s copy of the film as the source of the leak from a watermark on the DVD sent to him. FBI agents are visiting Alcon’s Century City headquarters Tuesday to determine the chain of custody of the DVD and who is responsible for its uploading. Alcon is cooperating fully in the investigation.

“I’ve never seen this DVD,” Kosove tells THR in an interview. “It’s never touched my hands. We’re going to do more than cooperate with the FBI. We’re going to conduct our own investigation to find out what happened.”

Indeed, it is likely that Kosove is a victim in this leak rather than the perpetrator. Another employee at Alcon could have obtained and uploaded the DVD, or someone who either was given the screener or stole it could be responsible. Regardless, between 200,000 and 600,000 downloads of the film, depending on various reports, occurred the first day it was available online. Physical copies of Hateful Eight have been seen for sale on street corners in China and other markets.