U.S. calls blitz on alleged pirated-sports sites

Government seizes domains of sites accused of illegally streaming live sports events--the latest round of government site seizures.

Visitors to some of the sites that had domain names seized by U.S. authorities found this message. Screenshot by Greg Sandoval/CNET

With the Super Bowl less than a week away, U.S. law enforcement officials have seized the domain names of 10 sites accused of illegally streaming live sports events.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in New York said today that it worked with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to shut down such sites as Firstrow.net, HQ-Streams.com, Rojadirecta.com, HQ-Streams.net, Ilemi.com, and Iilemii.com. The seizures were made Tuesday.

The Department of Justice and ICE said that streaming live events without authorization is harmful to sports leagues and broadcasters.

"The illegal streaming of professional sporting events over the Internet deals a financial body blow to the leagues and broadcasters, who are forced to pass their losses off to fans by raising prices for tickets and pay-per-view events," said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney in Manhattan.

The Obama administration has promised to crack down on copyright infringement and counterfeiting, and domain-name seizures appear to be the preferred method.

In June, the U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan and ICE teamed up and seized at least seven domain names belonging to sites that allegedly distributed pirated movies . In November, U.S. law enforcement grabbed 80 more domain names belonging to sites accused of using the Web to distribute a wide range of counterfeit goods and copyrighted materials.

 

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