Authorities in Italy have closed down one of Europe's largest ever internet piracy rings, believed to have had...
an annual turnover of €100m (£70m) through sales of counterfeit software, music and films.
The police have charged 181 people and 10,300 others are under further investigation. The series of raids netted €118m worth of illegal copies of software from suppliers including Adobe, Apple, Macromedia, Microsoft and Symantec as well as pirated music and films.
The investigation, codenamed Operation Mouse, was supported by the Business Software Alliance and the Federation Against Music Piracy.
Beth Scott, vice-president (EMEA) of the Business Software Alliance, said the case marked the "very real threat" from "increasingly sophisticated" online piracy gangs.
According to the BSA, Italy has the second highest piracy rate for business software in Western Europe at 47%.
The authorities used IP address tracing, log file analysis and software to break encrypted messages as part of their efforts to smash the network, which advertised on the internet, communicated via e-mail and distributed goods using mail order.