European Police Conduct Raids Over File-Sharing

BRITAIN — Police swept across Europe today collecting evidence from ISPs and private individuals against several websites suspected of offering content to file-sharing networks without permission of the copyright holder.

A total of seven raids were conducted by Swedish police today at the request of Belgian authorities in Malmo, Eslöv, Umeå and at two places in Eskilstuna and around Stockholm, according to the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

A press release from the Swedish prosecutors said additional raids were conducted in Belgium, Britain, Germany and Italy. Four of suspects found in Sweden were interrogated but later released, reports say.

The raids follow a previous series of raids over the last two weeks that were related to file-sharing using the Direct Connect protocol. According to a report, the Swedish government currently is working on at least 20 other file-sharing investigations.

The police confiscated computer equipment at some sites, including at Umeå University and several private residences, Fredrik Ingblad, senior public prosecutor for the Swedish Prosecution Authority, told the New York Times. Police also visited the ISPs Phomera and PRQ.

"The sole purpose of the raids is to get information about IP addresses," he said.

According to Ingblad, the evidence collected will be turned over to Belgium officials.

Sweden has intensified its efforts in bringing file-sharing to a halt, including prosecuting four men related to the Pirate Bay search engine.