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Music Piracy Sites Targeted By Europol & Bulgarian Organized Crime Unit

By iptv.legal , in Anti-Piracy EMPACT GDBOP music piracy Takedowns and Seizures , at April 15, 2024

GDBOP-BGDespite intense pressure from the United States, including criticism as part of the USTR’s reports on notorious pirate sites and foreign trade barriers, actions against online piracy are still relatively rare in Bulgaria.

Whether the Bulgarian government had any hand in the closure of RARBG last year remains unclear but its hoped that August 2023 amendments to Bulgaria’s Criminal Code will at least make pirate site investigations more straightforward. A new operation tackling music piracy may be an opportunity to demonstrate progress.

GDBOP Team Up With Europol

The General Directorate Combating Organized Crime (GDBOP) is a specialist unit within Bulgaria’s Ministry of Interior. GDBOP is most closely associated with the disruption of organized crime groups and transnational criminal networks, which often sees the unit take action in coordination with international partners.

In a recent action to disrupt music piracy, GDBOP carried out an operation under the supervision of the Sofia District Prosecutor’s Office, in coordination with the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, more commonly known as Europol.

“Employees of the Cybercrime Directorate (GDBOP) conducted an operation to prevent the illegal use of music as an object of copyright and related rights,” a GDBOP announcement reads.

“In the course of the special operation, the cybercrime police established the identity of the owner of 12 sites that he built and maintained to offer their users access to popular music in different countries, providing the possibility to download them in .mp3 format.”

Sites Targeted Display Seizure Banner

The domains of the dozen music piracy sites targeted “due to numerous violations of intellectual property rights” are reported by GDBOP as follows:

downloadmp3bg.com, baixarmp3gratis.com, www.tekstove.org, mp3pesme.com, mp3piosenki.com, descarca-muzica.com, indirsarki.com, mp3kostenlos.com, mp3hitove.com, mp3greek.gr, xn--3-wtbj.net, mp3aghani.com

The domains now display a seizure banner in Bulgarian (translation alongside)

GDBOP-seize

Considering the words used in the domains, it seems likely that in many cases they targeted an international audience.

Baixar, for example, is a Portuguese term for ‘download’ while descarca-muzica suggests downloading music and may have been directed at a Romanian audience. Most likely targeted at a German audience, mp3kostenlos translates to mp3free, indirsarki.com was intended for Turkish consumption, while mp3greek speaks for itself.

xn--3-wtbj.net is an internationalized domain name (IDN) using Punycode, a system used to encode domains containing non-ASCII characters; in this case the domain мп3.net.

Nine of the targeted domains are registered at Dynadot in the United States.

Action within the EMPACT Framework

In coordination with Europol, the action was carried out within the EMPACT framework (European Multidisciplinary Platform Against Criminal Threats) an initiative to “identify, prioritize and address threats posed by organized and serious international crime.”

Participants in EMPACT include law enforcement authorities, the judiciary, EU agencies, customs and tax offices, and various private partners. According to the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust), around 200 operational actions are carried out each year under EMPACT.

The specific reasons for targeting these particular dozen sites under EMPACT hasn’t been revealed by the authorities. The operator of the sites has reportedly been identified, but no arrests have been reported.

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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