Police Raid, Shut Down Music Web Site

Swedish police shut Web site in music piracy raid.

Swedish police detained three people in raids and closed an Internet site on Wednesday that the entertainment industry said was a major source of music and film piracy.

The Web site operators could not be contacted but supporters said the site had not been doing anything illegal and criticised the police action.

Last year, Sweden banned the downloading of copyright material after being singled out for criticism by Hollywood. The issue of file sharing and copyright has been emotive in Sweden, a hi-tech country with a tradition of openness.

"Three people ... have been taken in for questioning on suspicion of breaking copyright law or abetting the breaking of copyright law," Stockholm police, who carried out raids at 10 locations, said in a statement.

"The preliminary inquiry is related to so-called file sharing and concerns The Pirate Bay Web site," said the statement.

It gave no further details but the International Federation of Phonogram and Videogram Producers (IFPI) said The Pirate Bay was the world's largest search index using BitTorrent software, employed to download movies and music, and was a major source of illegal material.

"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.

But Rickard Falkvinge, who launched the Pirate Party this year to run in national elections in September and fight for changes to copyright laws, condemned the police action.

"Pirate Bay has not committed any crime," Falkvinge said in a statement on his Web site. "It is precisely this sort of raid which the Pirate Party wants to stop."

Copyright 2006 Reuters Limited.

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