Portugal: Operation EVO shuts P2P site that distributed an estimated €1M in stolen content

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Portugal’s Judicial Police, through the National Unit to Combat Cybercrime and Technological Crime (UNC3T), in conjunction with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Department of Criminal Investigation and Prosecution (DIAP) in Lisbon, had been investigating this case of illegal sharing by a group called EVO since 2022.

The group offered movies and series programming that was taken illegally from the victims’ servers, causing a loss of more than €1,000,000.00, through p2p sharing (Torrents), and through subscription to illegal streaming platforms.  EVO was said to have established operations in 2019.

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The investigation originated with a complaint filed by Disney Enterprises, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, Universal City Studios LLC, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., Netflix Studios, LLC and Amazon Content Services LLC – all of which are members of the MPA’s Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) – against the EVO Release Group, an international criminal group that was running sharing film content illegally.

How EVO operated

EVO’s mode of operation consisted of extraction, recoding using specialized hardware and software, and re-distribution on illegitimate platforms. Home searches were carried out in Portugal, computer equipment was seized, and three defendants were arrested on suspicion of belonging to the criminal group.

Upon analysis, it was possible to identify the alleged leader of the group, in Portugal, to proceed to his arrest and carry out a home search.  Criminal charges include illegitimate access to the content owners’ servers, computer fraud, money laundering, tax fraud, crimes against the rights of authors (usurpation), and criminal association.


In its first session regarding EVO, the Court prohibited defendants from having any contact with one another, prohibited access to certain websites and related servers and has also prohibited the acquisition of any new computer equipment.

Further reading

Operation ‘EVO 1.2.’ Press release. April 4, 2023. Judicial Police (Portugal)

Why it matters

EVO had been one of the most active worldwide piracy groups, distributing copyright-protected audiovisual products since at least 2019.  The group was notorious for releasing copies of movies (Screeners) before their theatrical release.

The investigation identified servers storing the stolen content, located in the USA, and in collaboration with the FBI, the servers were shut down.

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