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.