FBI zeroes in on Android piracy

The FBI has shut down three websites offering illicit Android apps, in a crackdown on piracy on the platform.

The FBI has shut down three websites offering illicit Android apps, in a crackdown on piracy on the platform.

(Credit: CBSi)

Three domains have been seized by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, including applanet.net, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com, leaving nothing behind but the FBI seizure notification you probably remember from the Megaupload takedown.

The FBI's takedown notice, warning users that piracy is illegal.(Credit: FBI)

A US Department of Justice media release described the seizure as part of an effort to prevent copyright infringement of all mobiles apps, with Assistant Attorney-General Lanny A Breuer of the Department of Justice's Criminal Division calling it a top priority.

Cracking down on piracy of copyrighted works — including popular apps — is a top priority of the Criminal Division. Software apps have become an increasingly essential part of our nation's economy and creative culture, and the Criminal Division is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the creators of these apps and other forms of intellectual property from those who seek to steal it.

We could take that to mean that makers of unpopular apps or app developers outside of the US still have a lot to worry about; facetiousness aside, though, it is interesting that the FBI is doing something to protect indie devs, presumably unprompted by an industry body, such as the RIAA.

The FBI conducted an operation that saw operatives download thousands of apps from illegal sources, most of which had server hosting outside of the US. French and Dutch law enforcement agencies assisted in seizing those servers. The FBI also issued nine search warrants across the US as part of the operation.

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