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Department of Justice Indicts Five in International Piracy Ring

Five men were indicted Wednesday on charges that they hacked into the servers of production companies, and stole hundreds of films and TV shows, including “50 Shades of Grey” and “The Walking Dead.”

The men are based in four countries — the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and India. Only one has been arrested — Malik Luqman Farooq, 30, who is awaiting trial in London on separate charges. According to prosecutors, the men uploaded the hacked movies and shows onto a server in France, which contained 25,000 movie-related files. They are also accused of selling access to the stolen films via PayPal.

The suspects are alleged to have sold films to a confidential source working on behalf of the Motion Picture Association of America. The MPAA employs investigations firms to work with law enforcement to combat piracy.

The ring is alleged to have been run BollyTNT, an earlier site that hosted pirated Bollywood films. Two defendants, Aditya Raj and Jitesh Jadhav, are accused of using a camcorder to pirate films in movie theaters in India. Ghobhirajah Selvarajah, believed to be in Malaysia, is alleged to have operated the ring’s PayPal account, while Sam Nhance of Dubai is accused of running the server. Farooq is from the U.K.

The indictment alleges that the group was involved in hacking from early 2013 to the spring of 2015. They face seven counts of conspiracy to commit computer fraud, aggravated identity theft, and copyright infringement.

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