The Department of Homeland Security’s ICE has launched a major crackdown on websites enabling copyright infringement or selling counterfeits of trademarked goods. In just the past few days ICE has seized at least 12 domains, TorrentFreak reports.
The sites fall into two categories: torrent sites that enable the download of copyrighted music, and sites selling knockoffs of trademarked goods like designer handbags.
A controversial bill that would allow the Attorney General to shut down domains on similar grounds was recently derailed (temporarily) by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.
The owner of an affected site told TorrentFreak that his domain was taken over without any prior complaints or notification from the court.
Following on the heels of this week’s domain seizure of a large hiphop file-sharing links forum, it’s clear today that the U.S. Government has been very busy. Without any need for COICA, ICE has just seized the domain of a BitTorrent meta-search engine along with those belonging to other music linking sites and several others which appear to be connected to physical counterfeit goods….
In what appears to be the latest phase of a far-reaching federal crackdown on online piracy of music and movies, a number of sites that facilitate illegal file-sharing were shut down this week by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a division of the Department of Homeland Security.
By Friday morning a handful of sites that either hosted unauthorized copies of films and music or allowed users to search for them elsewhere on the Internet, were shut down, their content replaced by a notice that said, in part: “This domain name has been seized by ICE — Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court.”
In seizing the domain names of the sites, or Web addresses, the government effectively redirected any visitors to its own takedown notice.
“ICE office of Homeland Security Investigations executed court-ordered seizure warrants against a number of domain names,” said Cori W. Bassett, a spokeswoman for ICE, in a statement. “As this is an ongoing investigation, there are no additional details available at this time.”
Among the domains seized were torrent-finder.com and three that specialized in music: onsmash.com, rapgodfathers.com and dajaz1.com. TorrentFreak, a news blog about BitTorrents — a file-sharing system that has tended to elude the authorities because it is decentralized — said that at least 70 other sites had been seized, most having to do with counterfeit clothing, DVDs and other goods.