NEW YORK, February 2, 2011 — The Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday seized the domain names of 10 web sites that officials said were illegally rebroadcasting sporting events online.
The domains are: ATDHE.NET, CHANNELSURFING.NET, HQ-STREAMS.COM, HQSTREAMS.NET, FIRSTROW.NET, ILEMI.COM, IILEMI.COM, IILEMII.COM, ROJADIRECTA.ORG and ROJADIRECTA.COM.
DHS alleged that the sites were providing links to illegally streamed live sports events, the broadcasts of which are owned by the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment and Ultimate Fighting Championship.
“This swift action by our HSI New York special agents and analysts sends a clear message to website operators who mistakenly believe it’s worth the risk to take copyrighted programming and portray it as their own,” said ICE Director John Morton. “Protecting legitimate business interests is a priority for [Homeland Security Investigations] and the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center and we will continue to aggressively investigate this type of crime with our law enforcement partners.”
“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 the fans in the form of higher priced tickets and pay-per-view events,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara. “With the Super Bowl just days away, the seizures of these infringing websites reaffirm our commitment to working with our law enforcement partners to protect copyrighted material and put the people who steal it out of business.”
This latest round of domain name seizures by the U.S. DHS is its third in recent months.
The technique is controversial among some in the technology community because they deem it to be potentially disruptive to the domain name system, and they question its efficacy.
Nevertheless, it gives the law enforcers a quicker way to disrupt the targeted activity. Sometimes the web sites are run from abroad, but the domain name registries are located in the United States and thus can be made the subject of a civil asset forfeiture proceeding.
More details about the seizures are available in the affidavit below. It was unsealed Wednesday.