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Popular download site pulls plug on free movies

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Popular download site pulls plug on free movies
Market research shows some 45 percent of Spain's internet users visit pages offering links to pirated music and film material on a regular basis. Photo: Johan Viirok/Flickr
11:06 CET+01:00
The owners of Spain's most popular downloading site - 'SeriesYonkis' – have withdrawn all links to the countless series and films they offered, in the midst of a legal scandal which could see them spend up to four years behind bars.

The administrators’ decision, which according to Spanish daily El Mundo has been completely voluntary, comes as a Murcia judge was weighing up whether to order the website to be temporarily taken down.

A lawsuit against Burn Media -the holding company which encompasses SeriesYonkis, PeliculasYonkis and VideosYonkis - was first filed by Spain’s Anti-Piracy Federation (FAP) in 2008.

SeriesYonkis was also blacklisted by the US's Department of Justice as one of the sites helping to generate traffic for the now illegal Megaupload site.

According to estimates featured in the US’s Hollywood Reporter, the sites are responsible for at least €8 million ($11 million) in losses.

 “There was no way for us to contemplate any (legal) withdrawal while new links to the most recent releases were constantly being updated on the site,” FAP president José Manuel Tourné announced.

Web information company Alexa put SeriesYonkis at number 51 of Spain’s most visited websites ranking.

Founders David Martínez and Jordi Tamargo sold over all three sites to Burn Media SL and its main administrator Alexis Hoepnfner in 2009.

Tough new rules on internet piracy were introduced in Spain in September of last year, allowing judges to hand out sentences of up to six years to people found guilty of linking ‘pirated’ material such as films or music on their webpage.

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