Operation D-Elite

Operation D-Elite was an operation by agents of the FBI and U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement against leading members of EliteTorrents, a BitTorrent tracker site, resulting in five months of prison, five months of home arrest, and a $3,000 fine against Grant T. Stanley on October 17, 2006. Another administrator of the site, Scott McCausland, received the same sentence on December 19, 2006.

On May 25, 2005, authorities executed ten search warrants across the United States and seized the EliteTorrents domain. Like previous actions against BitTorrent sites such as LokiTorrent, the authorities obtained server logs of people who had been downloading and uploading through the site's BitTorrent tracker. As of January 15, 2007, there has been no action taken against the vast majority of normal members on LokiTorrent or EliteTorrents.

Events leading to the takedown

EliteTorrents was singled out among the large number of Bittorrent sites because EliteTorrents released a Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith workprint approximately six hours prior to the movie's theatrical release. This attracted the attention of the MPAA, which monitors BitTorrent sites. The MPAA began collecting information and pressuring the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take some form of action.

In addition to the Star Wars workprint, the owner of the EliteTorrents domain name lived in the United States, which made the site an easier target for US authorities. However, the site's server was located in the Netherlands, and the other BitTorrent trackers located on that server continued to operate.

When the site was first taken down, people who tried to access it were confronted by a notice, apparently created in Microsoft Word, which led the owners to announce that the site had been a victim of a DDoS attack or some other type of hoax. However, in the early hours of May 25, the United States Department of Justice and FBI announced that they had taken down the website.


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