Feds Nail Nine Web Sites for Pirating30 Jun, 2010 By: Chris Tribbey
Nine websites offering pirated films, some just hours after the films first appeared in theaters, were shut down by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) June 30.
The seizures were the first phase of an initiative, dubbed Operation In Our Sites, targeting piracy and counterfeiting on the Internet.
“ICE and our partners at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center are targeting pirate websites run by people who have no respect for creativity and innovation,” said ICE Assistant Secretary Morton, who made the announcement at The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, Calif. “We are dedicated to protecting the jobs, the income and the tax revenue that disappear when organized criminals traffic in stolen movies for their own profit.”
The operation fell under ICE’s purview since the federal organization manages the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) in Virginia. The IPR Center covers the government’s response not only to pirated entertainment online, but also counterfeit pharmaceuticals, software, electronics, games and other products that threaten public health and safety, the agency said.
Feds served four residential search warrants in North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Washington, and seized assets from 15 bank, investment, advertising and Paypal accounts.
“Criminal copyright infringement occurs on a massive scale over the Internet, reportedly resulting in billions of dollars in losses to the U.S. economy,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. “That translates into lost jobs and real hardships for ordinary working people. That’s why we took the actions we did. If your business model is movie piracy, your story will not have a happy ending.”
Officials seized the domain names and content of TVShack.net, Movies-Links.tv, FilesPump.com, Now-Movies.com, PlanetMoiez.com, ThePirateCity.org, ZML.com, NinjaVideo.net and NinjaThis.net. Investigators downloaded copyright protected content from the sites to prove the illegal activity. On NinjaVideo.net alone investigators said they found links to more than 200 movies and more than 300 TV shows.
“Content theft online has become increasingly ubiquitous as technology and software improve and access to the Internet increases,” said Mike Robinson, chief of operations, content protection for the Motion Picture Association of America. “We are committed to working with law enforcement to get the illegal choices out of the marketplace and instead focus on continuing to offer more innovative and flexible legal options to consumers to enjoy the movies and TV shows that we all love.”