Homeland Security Seizes Dozens of Piracy Websites

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Homeland Security Seizes Dozens of Piracy Websites

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Internet pirates are facing a big heap of new trouble with the U.S. government cracking down more than ever before.

Over the past week, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit of the Department of Homeland Security seized more than 70 websites in a new crackdown on internet piracy. Visitors that once found links to illegal downloads or goods on these sites are now greeted by a seriously badass set of U.S. government emblems and a warning instead.

Some of the websites allowed users to search through and find torrents, files that are opened with a special program to connect to the download of a specific digital product. Torrents can be used for both good and evil, but are a common download method used for piracy of music, videogames, and movies. Other websites provided access to counterfeit physical goods like watches and sports merchandise.

Instead of finding a link to download the latest Harry Potter film or Jonas Brothers album on these sites, users now only find a message that states: "This domain name has been seized by ICE - Homeland Security Investigations." Above the message are the emblems of the Department of Justice, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center. The NIPRCC actually has the most badass emblem of all, featuring a mean looking eagle soaring towards the viewer, grasping a banner in its talons that says: "Protection is our trademark, scumbag." I added the "scumbag" part, only because it fits so well.

ICE released a written statement that said the website domains were taken because of "court-ordered seizure warrants." ICE also said: "As this is an ongoing investigation, there are no additional details available at this time," and that these domain owners better "check themselves, before they wreck themselves." Okay, it didn't say that last part either, but it really should have.

The seizures occur as the U.S. government is in the process of passing the somewhat controversial Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in mid-November. COICA, if passed, would allow the government to suspend a website's domain if it was "dedicated to infringing activities," and some are saying it's in conflict with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. The DMCA allows infringing websites to be absolved from responsibility if they remove infringing content when notified. COICA would also create a blacklist of foreign websites that U.S. ISPs would be required to block, negating the effect of piracy websites located outside of the U.S.

The Senate will vote on COICA in an upcoming session. It, and these recent seizures, seem to indicate that the internet piracy scene will face new challenges in the decade ahead.

Source: WSJ

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There is always one truth that comes out of actions like this; Users can go elsewhere. Be it torrents or community downloads like rapidshares you only shift the threat you never really curb it. Just like the gnutella network and the like gave way to even more decentralised torrents you only ever make the pirates harder to deal with.

Sad day :(

"COICA would also create a blacklist of foreign websites that U.S. ISPs would be required to block, negating the effect of piracy websites located outside of the U.S."

Hooboy. And they thought the great firewall of China was big...if it passes, just wait till this little directive sprawls out of control and gets abused for all kinds of things that 'might' or 'could' have something to do with piracy.

DerpyDerpyDerp:
Sad day :(

Piracy is Bad!

OT: Other than piracy being a crime and all, how did the ICE - Homeland Security Investigations get all these powers?

And was it only sites registered in the US?

Scrumpmonkey:
There is always one truth that comes out of actions like this; Users can go elsewhere. Be it torrents or community downloads like rapidshares you only shift the threat you never really curb it. Just like the gnutella network and the like gave way to even more decentralised torrents you only ever make the pirates harder to deal with.

Unless they bring down the hammer like China....

Anyway, this law has the power to do much good...but lets be honest here. This is law in the United States we're talking about...I fear for sites like Newgrounds and Youtube now who may have a fight on their hands with the whole "omgosh you have copyrightz material!!"

Yeah, uh, make no mention that the DHS is completely overstepping their rights and responsibilities.

But yeah, it's awesome that federal defense dollars are being used to protect private corporations' copyrights. /sarcasm

Guess someone never learnt the point of the old fable about the Hydra...

Nice to see they're trying?

But as tkioz just said, the whole Hydra thing...yeah they'll just move on elsewhere =/

I think it's just wonderful that they can cut funding for education and caring for the disabled so that they can spend inordinate amounts of cash and resources to keep people from downloading the Jonas Brothers.

Loonerinoes:
"COICA would also create a blacklist of foreign websites that U.S. ISPs would be required to block, negating the effect of piracy websites located outside of the U.S."

Hooboy. And they thought the great firewall of China was big...if it passes, just wait till this little directive sprawls out of control and gets abused for all kinds of things that 'might' or 'could' have something to do with piracy.

your really comparing this to the propaganda hate machine of the Chinese. Really thats like comparing being slapped and being stabed,

Department of Homeland Security cracking down on... internet pirates?

It's nice to see that wonderful creepy-sounding institution committing itself and its resources to urgent matters such as movie piracy. It takes the hearts of new-born American babies to fuel illegal torrenting after all.

bahumat42:

Loonerinoes:
"COICA would also create a blacklist of foreign websites that U.S. ISPs would be required to block, negating the effect of piracy websites located outside of the U.S."

Hooboy. And they thought the great firewall of China was big...if it passes, just wait till this little directive sprawls out of control and gets abused for all kinds of things that 'might' or 'could' have something to do with piracy.

your really comparing this to the propaganda hate machine of the Chinese. Really thats like comparing being slapped and being stabed,

Depends what one classifies as 'propaganda' and how overt it might be really. And if I compare most european countries to that of the US the latter certainly has a great deal more propaganda.

Doesn't take much to shove it into China-levels either. It's not there yet, no. But with things like this it's certainly creeping towards it.

This, this is a much better way of attacking piracy than sueing thousands of end users, cheaper too. If they can do this consistently they might have a chance at reducing piracy in the Usat least, making torrents a pain in the ass to find will do more than attacking a few end users at any rate.

tkioz:
Guess someone never learnt the point of the old fable about the Hydra...

You kill the Hydra with fire, not by cutting off it's head.

For God's sakes don't tell them about killingthe Hydra!

Piracy is like cancer, unless you can get it all in one go (Which, lets fact it, for now they cannot), it'll just be back, and even if you get it all, it still can come back to haunt you.

Pirate Bay is still running, so I fail to see what this accomplished.

Nais! Keep kicking em down! It may not kill em, but it still weakens them!

a 2.000.000$ Fine!? Yikes!

They just made the user's look else where.

Though i must give them some kudos for doing this.

Chrono212:

DerpyDerpyDerp:
Sad day :(

Piracy is Bad!

OT: Other than piracy being a crime and all, how did the ICE - Homeland Security Investigations get all these powers?

And was it only sites registered in the US?

you got your video deactivated by youtube or the WMG or some lobby... but i know how this video goes, and i thank you for it.

What i believe about this news, is that clearly governments want to graps and control the Internet by the balls. that's why they use astronomical (if not "absurd") fines, and maintain this ideology that citizens are always guilty.

Loonerinoes:

bahumat42:

Loonerinoes:
"COICA would also create a blacklist of foreign websites that U.S. ISPs would be required to block, negating the effect of piracy websites located outside of the U.S."

Hooboy. And they thought the great firewall of China was big...if it passes, just wait till this little directive sprawls out of control and gets abused for all kinds of things that 'might' or 'could' have something to do with piracy.

your really comparing this to the propaganda hate machine of the Chinese. Really thats like comparing being slapped and being stabed,

Depends what one classifies as 'propaganda' and how overt it might be really. And if I compare most european countries to that of the US the latter certainly has a great deal more propaganda.

Doesn't take much to shove it into China-levels either. It's not there yet, no. But with things like this it's certainly creeping towards it.

propaganda is anything used to deliver a message (or hide in the case of china) to the people. The message in china is "we are amazing and never do anything wrong (while banhammering any history of their countries horrific history) whereas all the US are doing are wasting a little money to say piracy is bad (which it is!?!?!?)

And so it begins, its a good thing. (Not for people who want free stuffs)
Glad I stopped downloading.

At first they'll claim they're trying to stop piracy, then they'll start shutting down sites critical of the government.
Doesn't take long to abuse powers.

DazBurger:
Nais! Keep kicking em down! It may not kill em, but it still weakens them!

You're optimistic, to say the least.

Pirate Bay is still running, so I fail to see what this accomplished.

Pirate Bay isn't just a website. Pirate Bay is an idea, mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.
I guess what i'm trying to say is that unless the internet comes under full control and regulation (God forbid, figuratively speaking) there's no plausible way to slow down piracy, nevermind stop it.

Yes spend money fighting the pirates, there is really nothing better we could use that money for anyway.

NOOOOO WHY GOD WHY.

its a sad day when greedy becomes law

Homeland security? So if people downloads illegal Justin Bieber album, they are terrorist? Umm??? Can someone help me here, how can that turn some little pimple faced 13 years old awkward girl in to a terrorist. Or, have I understood the American legal department' wrong again?

Rusty Bucket:
Pirate Bay is still running, so I fail to see what this accomplished.

It is not an American service, these departments don't apply to them. They can block American connections from connecting to their servers, but they can bring down them or shut them down, since PB is Swedish and under Swedish law and EU regulations.

Well this is amusing ^_^

70 sites in one week? if they keep this up their wont be anywhere to download free stuffs, which I'm glad about.

I think this is appropriate

poiumty:

DazBurger:
Nais! Keep kicking em down! It may not kill em, but it still weakens them!

You're optimistic, to say the least.

Pirate Bay is still running, so I fail to see what this accomplished.

Pirate Bay isn't just a website. Pirate Bay is an idea, mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.
I guess what i'm trying to say is that unless the internet comes under full control and regulation (God forbid, figuratively speaking) there's no plausible way to slow down piracy, nevermind stop it.

Nah... Im just hopefull. Im tired that Publishers are beginning to exclude PC's and the ones that aren't, puts in silly DRM's.

Why? Piracy... I like games.. I dislike things that ruin games...

[Edit: Besides.. They killed TV links]

fix-the-spade:

tkioz:
Guess someone never learnt the point of the old fable about the Hydra...

You kill the Hydra with fire, not by cutting off it's head.

For God's sakes don't tell them about killingthe Hydra!

Problem is fire in this instance would be killing the entire Internet and frankly the US government, nor any government around the world really, really doesn't want that to happen, it would make the GFC look like a boom time.

ionveau:
NOOOOO WHY GOD WHY.

its a sad day when greedy becomes law

How are they being greedy? they are stopping something that most people with half a brainstem know is bad.

If everyone downloaded illegally, the music/movie and even game industry would crumble.

SinisterGehe:
Homeland security? So if people downloads illegal Justin Bieber album, they are terrorist? Umm??? Can someone help me here, how can that turn some little pimple faced 13 years old awkward girl in to a terrorist. Or, have I understood the American legal department' wrong again?

Its easy in the American governments mind,
if you dont spend money and make money like a little puppet you are worthless, so they will do anything to make you start spending again.

Instead of downloading photo shop CS5 they want you to work in your little job for a month to afford it,
Dont you understand? we are not people in the eyes of the government we are play things that build up the money for the rich and if we decide not to give the rich money by stealing or downloading e.g piracy the rich from the government will come down on us

arc1991:

ionveau:
NOOOOO WHY GOD WHY.

its a sad day when greedy becomes law

How are they being greedy? they are stopping something that most people with half a brainstem know is bad.

If everyone downloaded illegally, the music/movie and even game industry would crumble.

Yes piracy is bad keep helping the developers and god speed

This does nothing, the pirated content is not on any specific site. It's on all of the users pc's. A new site is created and problem solved, it may actually benefit some sites by the shifting of people from one site to another in the search for a new place to regularly download.

It is like you were dirking with some friends on a corner and a police man ask's you to stop it, you move to another corner and he doesn't bother you for a few months/years.

Many of these sites benefit or are sustained by ad's content. Making it illegal to advertise on data sharing sites would be an interesting move.

That would be like blocking the money you and your friends use to buy booze. Free big traffic sites would be harder to sustain and that would probably be a bigger hit.

arc1991:

ionveau:
NOOOOO WHY GOD WHY.

its a sad day when greedy becomes law

How are they being greedy? they are stopping something that most people with half a brainstem know is bad.

If everyone downloaded illegally, the music/movie and even game industry would crumble.

And if everyone was gay, the human race would collapse.

See? I can make a-priori arguments too! Doesn't make either of us right.

OT: Why is this a Homeland Security Issue?

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