Feds Shutter 10 Sites2 Feb, 2011 By: Chris Tribbey
Ten websites accused of illegally streaming live sporting and pay-per-view events were shuttered Feb. 2 as part of an ongoing crackdown by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s, or ICE, Homeland Security Investigations.
ICE officials said the sites provided access to pirated telecasts of NFL, NBA, NHL, World Wrestling Entertainment and Ultimate Fighting Championship games, violating copyrights.
The U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which filed the seizure warrants, is asking that the domain names for these sites be forfeited.
“This swift action by our HSI New York special agents and analysts sends a clear message to website operators who mistakenly believe it’s worth the risk to take copyrighted programming and portray it as their own,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Protecting legitimate business interests is a priority for HSI and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, and we will continue to aggressively investigate this type of crime with our law-enforcement partners.”
The sites that were closed down include HQ-Streams.com, HQ-Streams.net, ATDHE.Net, ChannelSurfing.net, FirstRow.net, Ilemi.com, IIlemi.com, IILemii.com, RojaDirecta.org and RojaDirecta.com.
“The illegal streaming of professional sporting events over the Internet deals a financial body blow to the leagues and broadcasters who are forced to pass their losses off to the fans in the form of higher priced tickets and pay-per-view events,” said Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. “With the Super Bowl just days away, the seizures of these infringing websites reaffirm our commitment to working with our law-enforcement partners to protect copyrighted material and put the people who steal it out of business.”
The seizures were part of ICE’s ongoing Operation in Our Sites investigation into copyright violations online. In June 2010 nine sites were shut down for offering first-run movies, while in November more than 80 sites were shuttered for offering counterfeited goods, including DVDs.