Swedish police raided 10 different locations in Sweden and seized servers in a massive crackdown on torrent site Piratebay.org today.
Reports from a wide range of online Swedish news sources claim that up to 50 police officers were involved in the raids in Stockholm, Gothenburg and several other locations around the country. Computer equipment from homes and workplaces of three people involved with Piratebay - aged 22, 24 and 28 - has also been seized to further help the investigation.
Swedish Antipiracy Bureau’s spokesman Henrik Ponten - which represents the music and movie industry in Sweden - applauded the police for finally targeting large scale piracy organisations such as Piratebay.
The Antipiracy Bureau is allegedly also the organisation behind the police raids.
It is unclear if Piratebay has breached the Swedish copyright laws and the charges so far consist of crimes against copyright laws and aiding crimes against copyright laws. Usually, Swedish police would not have got involved in such a direct fashion when it comes to copyright crimes in Sweden due to the relatively low charges involved, which would only merit fines.
There are claimed to be at least one million file sharers in Sweden and it would be impossible for the police to charge every one for copyright theft.
The recently formed Pirat Partiet (the Pirate Party) – www.piratpartiet.se – is up in arms about the raid. Pirat Partiet is actively promoting more open and consumer friendly copyright laws and is running for government in the 2006 elections. Todays raids on Piratebay are likely to promote them further.
The Swedish police have allegedly also closed down the Pirat Byrån website, an organisation that promotes piracy and happens to have its servers located at the same site as Piratebay. It is unclear if this is actually the case, but at the time of writing Pirat Byrån's website was unavailable.
Judging from posts on several of the large Swedish newspaper forums, many people are outraged over the raid, not because the Piratebay was closed down, but because of the waste of taxpayers money and police time, when there are other more important crimes to solve.
According to a post on Slyck.com, one of the members of Piratebay has sworn that they will be back, even if they have to host the servers outside of Sweden.
As of 16.30BST, piratebay.org was live again, though the site currently consists of a single page detailing the raid.®