Bulgaria cracks down on pirates

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Two Bulgarian men were arrested on Saturday for their part in what police have called Europe's largest internet piracy ring.

Police from Bulgaria's Organised Crime Unit arrested the men, an administrator and a system operator who worked for the website www.arenabg.com, after they millions of download links to albums and movies on the website. Visitors to the website were then charged $2.50 a month for access to the links.

"These people are among the biggest internet pirates in Europe," Liliana Yosifova, spokeswoman for the Sofia Investigators' Office told Reuters. "We are talking about big losses here."

The authorities also discovered three satellite receivers and 200 CDs with pirated films at the arrested men's homes. The website was also closed down and the men released on bail.

The European Union, which Bulgaria hopes to join in 2007, has demanded the country crack down on piracy, or see its membership delayed until at least 2008.

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