European Police Shut Down Web Pirate Kino.to

Rhett Pardon

BERLIN — A coordinated multi-country raid has brought down file-sharing site Kino.to.

The site, which hosted links to German versions of thousands of copyright protected videos, was shut today after raids at apartments, offices and data centers in Germany, France, Spain and The Netherlands.

Kino.to, which indexed material stored on file hosting services, had 4 million visitors a day and was among the 100 most-visited websites in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, countries where German is spoken.

Police have been unable to take down the site because its domain lay in the African country of Togo and outside European jurisdiction; however, prosecutors brought the charges local and arrested 13 people on charges of involvement in a criminal organization with the purpose of committing professional copyright infringement.

Following the raids, Kino.to closed the site and placed the following message on its splash page:

“The domain of the site you are trying to access was closed on suspicion of forming a criminal organization to commit professional copyright infringement.

“Several operators of KINO.TO were arrested.

“Internet users who illegally pirated or distributed copies of films may be subjected to a criminal prosecution.”