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50 Streaming sites shut down, five arrested

Law enforcement officials in Italy are revealing the execution of a giant operation towards a network supplying live sports, movies and TV programs on the internet without authorization. The Guardia di Finanza state they focused on 50 websites operating on 41 servers located on three continents. Five suspects were taken into custody in what police calculate to be a 40 million euro business.

While torrenting continues to be common with millions of file-sharers, cheaper bandwidth and speedier Internet connections have resulted in an surge of material being streamed on the web.

Nowadays you’ll find countless websites offering large libraries of illegal content, all of it offered via a YouTube-like interface available via any web browser. With a non-existent learning curve, it’s piracy anybody can get involved with.

Prosecutors in Rome, Italy, are saying they’ve conducted a large operation to shut down a network of sites supplying live sports events, movies, TV shows and concerts without having approval from copyright holders.

Dubbed Operation Match Off 2.0, the operation was completed by the Comando Unità Speciali (Special Command Unit) of the Guardia di Finanza (GdF), a division under Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance assigned with handling financial criminal activity.

GdF state that the five suspects had created of a “vast network” of users and were gaining large profits from their site.

“To understand the scope of the operation we detected the presence of more than 340,000 registered users within a community,” GdF added in a statement.

If they’re found guilty, the five suspects may face fines and up to four years in jail.

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