Monday, November 12, 2007

Polish police target 'topsite'

Polish police have taken a so called "topsite" server offline, which allegedly was used to distributed music illegally before its street release date. An album typically achieves the bulk of its sales in the first few weeks of its release and the record industry claims that the widespread availability of its tracks on the internet beforehand can dramatically undermine those sales.

Police shut down the HPN server during a raid at Wroclaw Technical University. The police also visited the HPN administrator’s home and have, in total, confiscated six servers with 37 hard drives containing 12 terabytes of disk space. Two people have been arrested and they are helping the police with their inquiries.

The hosted more than 11,000 complete MP3 albums and promotional CDs on its server for users to download. Investigators at IFPI, the body that represents the recording industry worldwide, ZPAV, which represents the recording industry in Poland, and anti-piracy group FOTA gathered evidence and drew the secretive HPN server to the attention of the Economic Crime Division of the Wroclaw Police who have subsequently conducted the raids and begun to question suspects.

"People that post pre-release material onto the internet are without doubt harming the music industry; one posting on a topsite can see an album appear in thousands of different locations across the internet in a matter of hours. The industry is highly focused on the problem of pre-release piracy and these actions in Poland will not be the last of their kind," Jeremy Banks, Head of the Internet Anti-Piracy Unit at IFPI, said.