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Authorities seize live sports streaming sites days before Super Bowl

February 2, 2011 | 10:54 am

ICE Days before the Super Bowl, government authorities in New York seized several streaming websites that they accused of illegally showing live and pay-per-view sports events.

Content on websites such as Rojadirecta.org, Channelsurfing.net and ATDHE.net was replaced by a note saying that the domain names were seized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials through seizure warrants obtained by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.

None of the three popular sites, which feature live sports and other programming, are hosted within the U.S. Ten sites total were seized Monday, including HQ-Streams.com, HQ-Streams.net, Firstrow.net, Ilemi.com, Iilemi.com, Iilemii.com and Rojadirecta.com.

The federal court order was unsealed in Manhattan federal court Wednesday and alleged that illegal online distribution of copyrighted events causes sports leagues and broadcasters to lose millions of dollars a year.

Piracy threatens “the leagues’ ability to sell game tickets and secure local television and radio carriage, and the value of advertising revenue generated by broadcast, radio and new media partners,” according to the affidavit. “Sports fans are also victims, as the costs expended by sports leagues in an effort to address online piracy are passed on to fans when they purchase tickets or subscribe to sports networks.”

The seized sites streamed material from the NFL, NBA, National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment and Ultimate Fighting Championship, authorities said.

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