The US authorities have charged eight people in connection with the illegal trading of copyrighted films, music, games and software over the net.
US police say $100m worth of illegal material was removed from the net
The Justice Department said they were key members of online piracy networks.
They were charged following an international police operation across 15 countries.
Acting Assistant Attorney General John C Richter said the "charges strike at the top of the copyright piracy supply chain".
"Cases like these are part of the Justice Department's coordinated strategy to protect copyright owners from the online thieves who steal and then sell the products they work so hard to produce."
The eight men were charged with copyright infringement in Charlotte, North Carolina, following two FBI investigations known as Operation FastLink and Operation Site Down.
The US-led investigation involved 15 countries - Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Portugal, the UK and the US.
The Justice Department alleged the defendants were leading members in the illegal online trade of copyrighted material known as the "warez scene".
It said that once a film or game is copied, the pirated material is sent to servers throughout the world in minutes and then makes its way to file-sharing networks.
"This FBI Charlotte undercover operation was very successful in identifying and collecting evidence against those individuals who were the primary source of pirated digital material around the globe," said Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Robert Clifford.
"Those committing the cyber crimes can be identified and located anywhere in the world," he said.