At 6am on May 7, 2004, Axel Gembe awoke in the small German town of Schönau im Schwarzwald to find his bed surrounded by police officers bearing automatic weapons.
One officer barked: “Get out of bed. Do not touch the keyboard.” Gembe knew why they were there. But, bleary-eyed, he asked anyway.
“You are being charged with hacking into Valve Corporation’s network, stealing the video game Half-Life 2 , leaking it onto the Internet, and causing damages in excess of $250 million,” came the reply. “Get dressed.”