Seizure warrants have been executed against three domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal reproduction and distribution of copyrighted works in support of a Brazilian-led takedown of digital piracy sites there, dubbed “Operation 404”.
The coordinated federal law enforcement operation targeted online services that provided illegal copies of copyrighted works, including television shows and movies.
“By seizing these domain names, law enforcement has disrupted the unlawful reproduction and distribution of thousands of pirated television shows and movies, while also cutting off the profits to unlawful actors willing to exploit the hard work of others for their own personal gain,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Justice Department, together with our international law enforcement partners, will continue to take enforcement actions to identify, seize, and disable these sites wherever they exist around the globe.”
“Illegal streaming is not a victimless crime,” said Derek Benner, Executive Associate Director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). “It harms the content creators of the shows that you know and love, and feeds a criminal enterprise whose profits support organized criminal endeavors. Now more than ever, the partnerships between the creative industry and law enforcement agencies are essential to combat digital piracy and protect consumers. The collaborative nature of this investigation is representative of the ongoing work HSI conducts with its international law enforcement partners to proactively identify, target and investigate individuals who violate U.S. intellectual property rights laws.”
According to the affidavit in support of the seizure warrants, each of the three domains—megatorrentshd.biz, comandotorrentshd.tv, and bludv.tv—offered “free access to copyrighted content to website visitors all over the world, including released and pre-release feature-length movies and television shows.” Megatorrentshd.biz featured approximately 84 navigation pages, with 20 film titles per page and approximately 21 navigation pages with approximately 16 television series titles per page. Comandotorrentshd.tv offered movies and television shows, with approximately 10 titles per page, distributed throughout approximately 124 navigation pages. Bludv.tv displayed approximately 670 navigation pages with approximately 14 titles per page.
Operation 404 was coordinated with Brazil’s Secretariat of Integrated Operations (SEOPI) at Brazil’s Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MoJPS). More information about the operation is available here.
The seized domains are in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to the sites will now find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities and educates them that willful copyright infringement is a federal crime.
The Justice Department thanks its Brazilian partners at SEOPI and the MoJPS, the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, and its domestic partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, HSI’s Washington D.C. field office and ICE HSI Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil, for its assistance and collaboration in this matter.
The Justice Department is working to provide intellectual property related training and technical assistance in other countries through the International Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (ICHIP) program. Learn more about the Criminal Division’s ICHIP Program, jointly administered by the Criminal Division’s Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training and the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, here.
The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) is one of the U.S. government’s key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. The IPR Center uses the expertise of its member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, and coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public’s health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters. To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.