Polish Police Shut Down Pre-Release Music Site in Wroclaw Raids

London, 9th November 2007 – Polish police have shut down a computer server that was used to illegally post music onto the internet before its official release date following raids in Wroclaw yesterday.

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 enquiries.

HPN was a ‘topsite’, a server with a high bandwidth internet connection that allows for the rapid transfer of data, used by so-called ‘release groups’ to post music on the internet before it is legally available to the public. It hosted more than 11,000 complete MP3 albums and promotional CDs on its server for users to download.

‘Topsites’ are hosted all over the world and operate under strict security using secured, authenticated file transfer protocol (FTP) communications.

‘Release groups’ consist of individuals who are dedicated to obtaining music before it is legally available and posting it on the internet before anyone else has been able to. Members of these groups gain kudos from being the first to leak sensitive material.

Such pre-release piracy is damaging to the recorded music industry. An album typically achieves the bulk of its sales in the first few weeks of its release and the widespread availability of its tracks on the internet beforehand can dramatically undermine those sales.

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.

Jeremy Banks, Head of the Internet Anti-Piracy Unit at IFPI, says: “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.”– Ends –

For further information please contact Alex Jacob or Adrian Strain
Tel. +44 (0)20 7878 7940 / 7935

Notes to Editors:

About IFPI

IFPI is the organisation that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide. Its membership comprises over 1450 major and independent companies in more than 75 countries. It also has affiliated industry national groups in 48 countries. IFPI’s mission is to fight music piracy; promote fair market access and good copyright laws; help develop the legal conditions and the technologies for the recording industry to prosper in the digital era; and to promote the value of music.

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