Authorities Raid Largest Torrent Site

The world's largest BitTorrent site, ThePirateBay.org, was raided and shut down by authorities in Sweden early Wednesday. The site's servers were confiscated, along with those used by Swedish pro-piracy political group Piratbyrån.

The Pirate Bay surged to popularity following the shutdown of SuprNova.org and LokiTorrents, both large repositories and search indexes for torrent files. The site has been spared much of the legal crackdown on illicit file sharing over BitTorrent thanks to lax piracy laws in Sweden.

Although The Pirate Bay, like other torrent sites, hosts no copyrighted material itself, it plays a central role in facilitating the searching for and downloading of such content. Its operators have openly mocked and taunted those who threaten it with legal action.

On Wednesday morning, Sweden's Antipiratbyrån anti-piracy organization and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) apparently had enough. The Swedish National Criminal Police served a search warrant to Rix|Port80, a datacenter that houses The Pirate Bay, and hauled away equipment in a number of server racks.

"The police took down all servers in the racks, including the non-commercial site Piratbyrån, the mission of which is to defend the rights of TPB via public debate," reads a notice on ThePirateBay.org site. "The necessity for securing technical evidence for the existance of a web-service which is fully official, the legality of which has been under public debate for years and whose principals are public persons giving regular press interviews, could not be explained."

"The allegation was breach of copy-right law, alternatively assisting breach of copy-right law," Piratbyrån added.

Three Pirate Bay employees were also taken into custody, according to reports coming out of Sweden.

"The Pirate Bay has damaged the legitimate music industry on an international scale and I am very pleased that the Swedish authorities have taken such decisive action against it," IFPI chairman and chief executive John Kennedy said in a statement.

"Pirate Bay has not committed any crime," retorted Piratbyrån founder Rickard Falkvinge. "It is precisely this sort of raid which the Pirate Party wants to stop."

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