ICE Seizes Website Domains as Part of Copyright Crackdown

July 1, 2010 -

As part of its “Operation In Our Sites” initiative, which targets illegal items distributed via the Internet that “threaten public safety and health,” U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has seized a series of websites for criminal copyright violations.

In conjunction with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, ICE executed nine seizure warrants against websites, seized domain names, detained assets from 15 banking and associated accounts and enacted four residential search warrants in North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Washington.

Downloading movies in an “undercover capacity,” led ICE officials to seize the following websites: TVShack.net, Movies-Links.tv, FilesPump.com, Now-Movies.com, PlanetMoviez.com, ThePirateCity.org, ZML.com, NinjaVideo.net and NinjaThis.net. Sites taken over are now decorated with a seizure notice, as illustrated here.

To trumpet the seizures, ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton held a press conference, in which he was joined on stage by “by senior representatives from major movie studios, entertainment unions and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).”

Mike Robinson, the MPAA’s Chief of Operations, Content Protection said, “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.”

U.S Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, offered that, “Criminal copyright infringement occurs on a massive scale over the Internet, reportedly resulting in billions of dollars in losses to the U.S. economy. Bharara did not reveal the statistical source of the “billions of dollars” claim.

Operation In Our Sites is ongoing and targets the illegal distribution of films, music counterfeit pharmaceuticals, software, electronics and games.


Comments

Re: ICE Seizes Website Domains as Part of Copyright ...

Movies-Links.tv is where I watch my movies, but now that site doesn't host movies anymore. It's on a diff. site & I'm not telling. I save money & it is healthy for me to NOT spend my money.

 

 

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Re: ICE Seizes Website Domains as Part of Copyright ...

WTF does copyright have to do with the ICE?

Re: ICE Seizes Website Domains as Part of Copyright ...

 Wait, how does ICE have the authority to seize a .tv site?

Re: ICE Seizes Website Domains as Part of Copyright ...

I think it's probably because .tv is administrated by VeriSign, but I'm not 100% on that.

Re: ICE Seizes Website Domains as Part of Copyright ...

The .tv domain is currently leased (through 2012) to the American company, Verisign, which is likely how the U.S. gained the authority to seize the site.

Re: ICE Seizes Website Domains as Part of Copyright ...

The best stuff comes from private torrent sites, most of which are hosted where they can never be taken down.

And it's not illegal to download from such sites where I live.

Re: ICE Seizes Website Domains as Part of Copyright ...

They certainly have the right to shut down sites engaging in copyright violations, but saying they "threaten public safety and health" is...well, I was going to say it's a pretty big stretch, but the fact is it's an outright lie.

That claptrap about "offer[ing] more innovative and flexible legal options to consumers to enjoy the movies and TV shows" is absurd too.  If that's what they're doing, how come I can't access Hulu from XBMC?

It would be trivial for a company with the TV networks' resources to provide a service that works like sabnzbd+ -- automatic, commercial-free, DRM-free downloads of all your shows -- but without sabnzbd's pain-in-the-ass configuration and reliance on often-flaky external sites that provide episodes of inconsistent quality and RSS feeds that often result in downloading the same ep multiple times.  I would happily pay a monthly fee to use a legal service like that.

But they won't offer one, because they're still laboring under the misconception that DRM works, and trying to protect the cable TV business model, which is no longer sustainable in the long term.  What, I have to pay for Fox News to get Comedy Central?  AND sit through ads when I've already paid a subscription fee?  Yeah, good luck with that -- the only thing that allowed that model to work was a lack of alternatives.

Re: ICE Seizes Website Domains as Part of Copyright ...

I think that the "public safety and health" thing refers to the organization's work in the area of counterfeit products.  Given that counterfeit products are often inferior to the genuine article, and often those products are replacement parts that, if they fail, can create a safety hazard, I think that the statement is technically correct.

With regard to movies though...yeah, I don't remember any case where copying a video resulted in bodily injury.

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Re: ICE Seizes Website Domains as Part of Copyright ...

Maybe.  I'm curious as to the source of the "threaten public safety and health" quote, as a search for that coupled with the phrase "in our sites" only comes up with this article and others linking to it.

 
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