STOCKHOLM, Sweden – In a crackdown on suspected illegal file sharing, police raided 10 locations in central Sweden and shut down a popular site called The Pirate Bay. Three people were detained for questioning.
Three Swedes, ages 22, 24 and 28, were suspected of violating copyright laws but had not been formally arrested, police spokesman Ulf Goranzon said. He said they were linked to The Pirate Bay.
The actions were applauded by the Motion Picture Association of America, which claims movie studios lost $6.1 billion to piracy last year.
"The actions today taken in Sweden serve as a reminder to pirates all over the world that there are no safe harbors for Internet copyright thieves," said Dan Glickman, the MPAA's chief executive.
Last year, a Swedish court handed down the country's first Internet piracy conviction, fining a man $2,200 for using a file-sharing network to distribute a movie online. A district court ruled that Andreas Bawer, 28, violated Swedish copyright laws by making a movie available for others to download.
The verdict was hailed by the entertainment industry as a first step toward stricter enforcement of copyright laws in Sweden, which has been criticized as a safe haven for online piracy. Up to 10 percent of all Swedes are estimated to freely swap music, movies and games on their computers.
The MPAA said The Pirate Bay has made available more than 157,000 illegal files, including movies such as "The Da Vinci Code" and "Mission: Impossible III."
On Wednesday, the site displayed a brief message explaining that its servers had been seized as part of a police investigation. It also said The Pirate Bay could receive compensation from the government "in case that the upcoming legal processes show that TPB is indeed legal."