Police Raids in 19 Countries Take Down 60 Pirate Movie Servers

An international gang of internet film pirates known as the ‘Sparks Group’ has been put out of action following a series of police raids led by the US Department of Homeland Security. Police took a total of 60 servers offline in Canada, Czechia, Denmark, France, Germany, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Acting US Attorney Audrey Strauss said:

As alleged, the defendants were members of an international video piracy ring that was sophisticated and widespread. The group allegedly circumvented copyright protections on nearly every movie released by major production studios, as well as television shows, and distributed them by way of a worldwide network of servers.

The gang obtained content prior to its official release by tricking wholesale distributors into believing they were legitimate retailers of DVDs and Blu-Rays. They then cracked the copyright-protection controls on the discs to create digital copies which were uploaded to their servers.

Three men were charged following the police raids.

  • British citizen George Bridi was arrested in Cyprus; US authorities will seek his extradition.
  • Jonathan Correa, also known as ‘Raid’, was arrested in Kansas.
  • Umar Ahmad, also known as ‘Artist’, is a Norwegian citizen and remains at large.

You can read the US Department of Justice press release here.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.