US crackdown on piracy shuts down 9 websites

The United States government has cracked down on Internet piracy by seizing nine popular domains accused of copyright infringement and piracy.

This is the latest show of force against piracy by the U.S. government, with increased pressure from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

US crackdown on piracy shuts down 9 websites

As part of “Operation In Our Sites,” 15 bank and advertising accounts were also seized during the multi-state operation.  Search warrants were executed in New York, New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington – including an investigation with Dutch law enforcement.

The Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) worked with the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and expect to launch future joint operations aimed against piracy sites.

The following sites have been disabled:  Movieslinks.tv, ZML.com, Planetmoviez.com, Thepiratecity.org, TVShack.net, Filespump.com, Ninjavideo.net, Ninjathis.net, and Now-movies.com.  Movies ranging from ‘Avatar’ and ‘Iron Man 2’ to TV series ‘Scrubs’ and ‘Lost’ were available on these sites, government officials said.

All nine sites were registered in the United States, but one was operated from The Netherlands.

President Barack Obama recently outlined how his administration will crack down on piracy and counterfeit goods with the 35-nation ‘Operation Global Hoax.’  Protecting intellectual rights and fighting piracy are two initiatives very close to the Obama administration — U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said copyright infringement leads to lost U.S. jobs.

Increased protection against piracy was expected when Obama appointed several former RIAA executives to his staff.

I’m all for a crackdown on piracy, but still feel that ICE and DHS have better things to be doing than chasing around piracy sites.  If anything, I think the FBI and state authorities should work with the district attorney to crack down on piracy – let ICE and DHS target bigger projects.