Website hit following police shutdown of streaming site

BERLIN — Suspected supporters of illegal German streaming site Kino.to launched a cyber attack against the MPAA-backed anti-piracy org GVU on Wednesday following the announcement that police had shut down the platform.

In a coordinated operation, police in Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands raided apartments, offices and data centers in one of the biggest ever anti-piracy investigations in Europe.

In Germany, some 250 police officers, assisted by tax investigators and computer specialists, arrested 13 suspects, confiscated the kino.to domain and took a number of associated streamhosting sites offline following raids in Leipzig, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Bremen, Nuremberg and Zwickau.

The Dresden prosecutor’s office has described the group behind kino.to as “a crime syndicate with the intention of systematic infringement of copyright.”

The move was welcomed by the German entertainment industry.

Martin Moszkowicz, head of film and TV at Constantin Film, said the action against kino.to was a “significant milestone” in the establishment of “new legal, digital distribution avenues,” which he stressed were not only important, but imperative for artists, producers and distributors.

Supporters of kino.to have argued that kino.to operators were not breaking the law because they simply offered links to other streaming sites, yet the GVU and its legal experts reject that notion.

According to Andreas Manak, a Vienna lawyer cited by the GVU on a separate blog site (one that has not yet been attacked), the current investigation indicates that the operators of kino.to also operated most of the streaming servers on which the pirated content was stored.

The GVU’s official website was still down on Thursday.

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