Ukraine shuts down top file sharing website

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 31, 2012 11:43 AM
Ukraine shuts down top file sharing website

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian police on Tuesday shut down the former Soviet republic's most popular file sharing website, Ex.ua, accusing its owners of illegally distributing copyright-protected software, music and videos.

The move, which followed a crackdown by the United States on a similar but much larger website Megaupload earlier this month, was a result of complaints by software companies such as Microsoft and Adobe, police said.

"During a search at the website (owners') office and data centers, police confiscated numerous computers... including 200 servers containing about 6,000 terabytes of information in total," the Interior Ministry said in a statement.

"Police have found out that the website was run by a citizen of Latvia."

The ministry said 16 people who had worked at Ex.ua's office were being questioned but did not say how many people, if any, had been detained.

Under Ukrainian laws, the website's owners could face up to five years in prison if found guilty, it said.

Ex.ua's users numbered in the millions, according to police. Most users logged on from within Ukraine.

(Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Peter Graff)