Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) have announced the commencement of "Operation In Our Sites," an initiative to help stamp out Internet counterfeiting and piracy.
The Operation's first strike was to seize nine domain names associated with web sites offering first-run movies, often within hours of being premiered in cinemas. According to a related press conference, Internet counterfeiting and piracy costs the U.S. economy around USD $20.5 billion annually in lost output.
Web sites associated with the seized domain names had attracted 6.7 million visitors in a single month. Since the seizure, visitors to the sites have been shown a message stating law enforcement agencies has shut down the sites because they were trafficking in illegal downloads.
ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton says the theft of such intellectual property is a serious crime and one the U.S. government has made a priority combating.
Content theft online has increased as technology and software improve and access to the Internet broadens. "Operation In Our Sites" is targeting not only movies and music, but other items distributed over the Internet, such as counterfeit software, electronics, games and other products.
In addition to ICE, other government departments included in the operation include U.S. Customs and Border Protection; the FBI; the Department of Commerce; the Naval Criminal Investigative Service; the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and other agencies.
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