Swedish authorities step up battle against file-sharers

Operators of Direct Connect file-sharing hubs are being targeted

Swedish police have searched houses belonging to people suspected of illegal file-sharing in Stockholm, Haparanda and Östersund in the last two weeks.

The latest search was made on Friday in Östersund. Police impounded a computer and questioned a suspect, according to senior public prosecutor Henrik Rasmusson. The results show that they are on the right track, he said.

The police raided houses in Stockholm and Haparanda on Aug. 26, and that investigation is ongoing.

Both cases are related to the use of file-sharing protocol Direct Connect, and the raids were on people suspected of running the hubs needed to share files.

They are also part are part of a bigger push to target Swedish file-sharers. A special police team has been formed in Gothenburg to investigate copyright infringements involving computers, and its training has resulted in smoother and faster investigations, according to Rasmusson. Similar teams are being set up in Stockholm and Malmö

Today, about 20 cases are in various stages of investigation, Rasmusson said.

The new police teams were not involved in Sweden's most famous copyright case, which will return to court later this month.

Four people involved in the running of infamous file-sharing site The Pirate Bay were found guilty in April 2009 of being accessories to crimes against copyright law. Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström were each sentenced to one year in prison, and the Stockholm district court also ordered them to pay about 30 million Swedish kronor (US$4.1 million) in damages. Their appeals trial is scheduled to start on Sept. 28.

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