MPAA chiefs have hailed a series of worldwide anti-piracyraids that resulted in the seizure this week of tens of thousands of titles foronline use worth at least $50m.

Operation Fastlink launched on the morning of Apr 22 in 27US states and ten other countries including the UK, Germany, France, Hungaryand Singapore.

Undercover officers from the FBI's cyber division andthe US Department of Justice (DoJ) conducted 120 coordinated searches in whatDoJ officials described as the largest multi-national law enforcement effortever directed at online piracy.

Officers targeted 100 individuals believed to head upso-called 'elite' sites that store thousands of new releaseswaiting to be disseminated illegally to internet users.

"The actions taken today by the Department of Justiceand FBI strike at the heart of the highly-organised andtechnologically-sophisticated groups that traffic in intellectual propertytheft on a global scale," John G Malcolm, senior vice-president anddirector of the MPAA's worldwide anti-piracy operations, said in astatement.

"We welcome the news today and commend the Departmentof Justice for committing the resources to go after these criminal syndicatesthat exist for the sole purpose of profiting from other people's creativeworks."