The FBI is getting tough on piracy. The agency conducted more than 120 raids yesterday (April 21) in 27 states and assisted law enforcement agencies in 10 other countries in an effort to dismantle ope

The FBI is getting tough on piracy. The agency conducted more than 120 raids yesterday (April 21) in 27 states and assisted law enforcement agencies in 10 other countries in an effort to dismantle operations involved with piracy of music, movies and software.

The initiative, known as "Operation Fastlink," resulted in the seizure of more than 200 computers, including 30 that served as storage and distribution hubs containing thousands of copies of pirated material. The FBI estimated the value of the seized material is at least $50 million.

According to the FBI, one server seized in the United States contained 65,000 separate pirated titles. No arrests were immediately announced.

Nearly 100 individuals worldwide have been targeted by the investigation, including leaders or high-level members of various international piracy organizations, says the FBI. As the investigations continue, additional targets will be identified and pursued.

Operation Fastlink is the culmination of four separate undercover investigations simultaneously being conducted by the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice.

The raided organizations are known by such names as Fairlight, Kalisto, Echelon, Class, Project X and APC, officials said. The FBI's assisted searches reached into Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore and Sweden.

In a related action, Phoenix newspaper the Arizona Republic reported that the FBI raided a local school district administrative office yesterday.

"Intellectual property theft is a global problem that hurts economies around the world," Attorney General John Ashcroft said in a statement. "To be effective, we must respond globally."

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