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Feds crack down on Internet movie pirates, score bust

Adding some swashbuckling to its tough talk on fighting piracy, the federal government Wednesday seized several websites that were offering downloads of pirated movies such as "Toy Story 3" and "Iron Man 2" within hours of their release in theaters.

Federal authorities announced that they had seized domain names from nine websites engaged in the "criminal theft of American movies and television." The websites include TVShack.net, PlanetMoviez.com and ThePirateCity.org and Ninjavideo.net. The sites combined drew 6.7 million visitors a month, authorities said.

Officials also seized assets from 15 bank, investment and advertising accounts and executed residential search warrants in North Carolina, New York, New Jersey and Washington, according to a statement from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which coordinated its investigation with the Southern District of New York, the Department of Homeland Security and various other agencies.

The crackdown, which involved 100 agents working in 11 states and the Netherlands, is part of a renewed campaign dubbed "Operation in Our Sites" by the feds to curb Internet counterfeiting and piracy. The announcement comes a week after the Obama administration unveiled a detailed plan on how to tackle global piracy, including targeting illegal websites.

ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton, speaking at a Walt Disney Studios soundstage where he was joined by movie studio executives and union representatives, trumpeted the bust as the beginning of a "long-term effort to turn the tables on these thieves." The targeted websites, he added, are "run by people who have no respect for creativity and innovation."

Preet Bharara, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement that the actions were necessary to protect the jobs and livelihoods of "ordinary working people" and warned others involved in similar websites. The studios claim that they lose hundreds of millions of dollars annually to pirated content.

"If your business model is piracy, your story will not have a happy ending," Bharara said.

-- Richard Verrier

Comments () | Archives (62)

rofl all the time and money they wasted to shut them down for what ? they sites are already up and running again, face feds fuckers you are losing this battle, why don't you focus my tax money on securing our borders or cleaning the oil spills you bastards did ???

the feds should have better things to do... purely promoting capitalism

Way to go TAX Dollars!!!
government spending at its best!

Them saying they have no respect for innovation and creativity, or whatever it was, is a load of crap.

I watch and listen to things, THEN buy them. - Closing these sites is a feeble attempt to control piracy and the flow of the internet, it will never be stopped... shutting them down only makes 6.7 million people a month have just that little bit more less respect for governments and their short sightedness. Shutting them down will do squat, people move to other sites, and tvshack just changed to tvshack.cc

All its done is destroy forums and communities, and piss people off. One site shuts down, two more take its place. Long live the internet - is all i say.

This type of thing makes me so angry, the only people that are for this type of action are either missinformed or can afford to spend a lot of money on buying stuff before they even know how good it is.. GAH!

i loved ninja video GREAT WEBSITE , heres the thing NINJA VIDEO only linked you to other sites so how CAN THEY GET IN TROUBLE ? the feds need to calm down if people want to pay for something they will , it being online may effect some sales but if your reall worried about it , dont show movies in theaters beacuse they are making & off Movies and sites like hulu show stuff for free so , if i think its worth paying for i WILL PAY FOR IT , but sadly today there arent many things worth what people are charging , Hell if i want to see it online i WILL FIND IT so have fun cause when 1 site goes down i hope 1000 more take its place ....lol PEOPLE THESE DAYS ARE TOO DAMN GREEDY be happy someone wants to see your product ..... it COULD BE WORSE!

noo!! this cant be true, i love ninjavideo!- such a big mistake.

This whole effort is a big waste of money. Other sites will pop up soon and then what? People want to watch movies and get music for free....and they will.

This is why I have no respect for our government. Do I think that the record/movie industry has a right to protect its product, and to prosecute piracy? Yes, I do--very much so. Do I think that the government should be wasting my tax dollars on this. No, I don't.


And here is some real evidence that Hollywood is ran by Morons. Instead of using technology to make Money, Hollywood and the RIAA are spending all their measly profits on fighting piracy. So how does the tech world respond?

They create iTunes and make billions every day. Hollywood and the RIAA could have done the same thing. And why didn't they? Because they are morons.

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You could save ninja!

I find it a bit peculiar how all these news sites (including this one) are removing the fact that this was all done from a DISNEY soundstage. I wonder why oh great government of ours...news outlets have freedom of press, do they not? So not only the internet, but now you are controlling the news? Communist nation, here we come!!! Yeeeehawwww.

I think its nice to see our tax dollars being spent on the internet rather than education, medical institutions and military protection.

Why not try for something petty rather than tackle the big issues? Because the easy win is so much more PC.

So instead of doing any of the things this administation promised they are going to refresh the napster like debate.

I actually feel bad for our president because of how far he has alienated the public and press, little dumb things like this are one of the many reasons, if people want to download movies or music and get virus after virus it shouldn't be a governemnt issue, it should be the musicians and directors and actors that go after these problems, a lot of bands are already blazing the trail, offering samples of their new cds to get the ball rolling with sales.
Personally, I believe this will give the indiviudals more control over the art they create and put more money in their pockets rather than us throwing money in every direction but the creators of the music, tv, movies and games we love.

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