The French military police shuts down pirate site Zone-Telechargement.
A few weeks ago, French military police seized several servers from the private music tracker What.cd. Now, they’ve taken on Frances’ largest pirate site Zone-Telechargement.com. The site has millions of users and was recently ranked as the 11th most visited site in France. Telechargement is french for “download”, and the site offered direct downloads of an assortment of pirated films, music, games, and more. Yesterday afternoon, the site became inaccessible, and after some confusion, the French Gendarmerie took credit. In a tweet, they declared that the site, which supposedly caused rightsholders 75 million euros in losses, had been seized.
Zone-Telechargement was founded in 2011 and soared in popularity after the shutdown of Megaupload in 2012. In yesterday’s seizure however, it wasn’t the only site to fall. DL-Project, another direct download site, was seized as well. DL-Project was France’s 19th most popular website according to Alexa rankings. It has since been revealed that both of these sites were operated by the same people.
French music industry group SACEM and the movie group ALPA were both involved in the seizure. SACEM will reportedly release a statement soon, but one thing is clear. With SACEM and the Gendarmerie taking down two piracy sites in one month, France is on the war path against online piracy. The action is a combined effort between the Gendarmerie and Andorran police. In total, seven people were arrested and two remain in custody.
Since the site’s closure, there have been reports of Zone-Telechargement.com coming back online, though the download links have apparently stopped working. It is unclear if this is an attempt for the site to make a comeback.