German police raid internet file sharers

May 23, 2006 at 1:48 PM

BERLIN, May 23 (UPI) -- German police have carried out the country's largest raid of individuals illegally exchanging copyrighted material over file-sharing networks.

Some 130 private apartments and houses were raided, and dozens of computers confiscated, officials in Cologne said Tuesday.

Police identified more than 3,500 suspects who offered up to 8,000 music and film files over the file-sharing network eDonkey. The raid had been planned for several months by the police and the music industry. The individuals face legal charges and may face large fines and even jail time.

The music and film industries claim illegal file-sharing deprives artists and companies of several hundred million dollars each year.

Few minors were caught; most suspects were in their early twenties, and some older people, all of whom may now face fines of up to $19,000.

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