Anti-piracy success for French police
By Colin Mann

Police have closed down one of France’s most popular websites for downloading pirated content and arrested three men who ran it.

Liberty Land, set up in September 2009, was one of the most visited sites in France, claiming 800,000 users accessing and sharing pirated music, films and software.

Jean-Philippe Vidal, chief of the Rennes gendarmerie leading the enquiry, said three men aged between 25 and 30 were arrested in Marseille, near Le Havre and in the Paris suburb of Montreuil and charged with organised counterfeiting.

Released pending trial, they risk five years in prison and a fine of €500,000.

The arrests come at the end of a year-long probe after a music copyright protection body tracked a contributor to the site to Rennes.

Vidal said that investigators had managed to trace the operators of the site, who used a server in Canada and had also put up a large number of obstacles to hide its identity.

He said the site generated “a lot of money” through advertising banners, but could not confirm a reported figure of €200,000.