RENNES, France — Police have closed down one of France’s most popular websites for downloading pirated content and arrested three men who ran it, an officer said Saturday.
Liberty Land, set up in September 2009, was one of the most frequented sites in France, claiming 800,000 users accessing and sharing pirated music, films and software.
Jean-Philippe Vidal, chief of the Rennes gendarmerie leading the probe, said three men aged between 25 and 30 were arrested in Marseille, near Le Havre and in the Paris suburb of Montreuil and charged with organised counterfeiting.
Released pending trial, they risk five years in prison and a fine of half-a-million euros ($700,000).
The arrests come at the end of a year-long probe after a music copyright protection body tracked a contributor to the site to Rennes.
Vidal said that step by step investigators succeeded in tracing the operators of the site, who had erected a large number of barriers to protect them and used a server in Canada.
He said the site generated “a lot of money” through advertising spots but could not confirm a reported figure of 200,000 euros.