US nabs 30 suspects in antipiracy 'DrinkorDie' raids

Federal investigators have turned up roughly 30 suspects and continue to raid college campuses a month after moving to shut down a massive software piracy ring, a Customs Service official said Monday.

Federal agents have not arrested any members of the "DrinkorDie" piracy ring but roughly 30 people, including an executive of a major company, have retained lawyers to negotiate settlements with the government, said Allan Doody, who is overseeing the antipiracy effort.

Doody told Reuters that agents were poised to raid an East Coast university Monday or Tuesday to search for more evidence. (Get those big heavy magnets ready lads... Ed.)

Investigators have seized more than 200 computer hard drives believed to have been used by DrinkorDie members to distribute everything from computer operating systems like Windows XP to movies like "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," Doody said. The Customs Service estimates that the ring and other similar "Warez" groups are responsible for 95 percent of all pirated software online, causing at least $1 billion in lost sales annually.

Federal agents have raided corporate offices and private residences, but have focused much of their efforts on college campuses (MIT, Duke University, University of Oregon, Rochester Institute of Technology, and UCLA were targeted for storing the stashes of pirated software), where computer networks often feature lots of available storage space and low security barriers.

News source: Reuters

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