At the request of the Justice Department and Homeland Security, federal courts have ordered the seizure of 82 domain names of Web sites the government says have been trafficking in counterfeit goods and copyrighted works including DVDs and software.
That is part of the Operation In Our Sites campaign to crack down on intellectual property theft.
Online surfers to the affected sites will be informed that they have been seized by federal authorities, like this one for boxsetseries.com.
"By seizing these domain names, we have disrupted the sale of thousands of counterfeit items, while also cutting off funds to those willing to exploit the ingenuity of others for their own personal gain," said Attorney General Eric Holder in announcing the seizures. "Intellectual property crimes are not victimless."
Holder is preaching to the choir when it comes to the TV and movie studios, music publishers and others whose distribution models are increasingly moving to or expanding online.
"The federal government today engaged in a broad crackdown on dozens of the most notorious websites that illegally sell and distribute counterfeit goods and copyrighted works, including stolen digital content and movie and television boxed sets," said the Motion Picture Association of America.
"These ‘worst of the worst' rogue websites, which cloak themselves in respectability yet traffic in counterfeit and stolen goods, victimize not only the buyers of these products, but the more than 2.4 million hardworking Americans whose livelihoods depend on a healthy motion picture and television industry," said the studios. "We thank the Department of Justice and ICE for their continuing efforts in addressing this serious problem."
"Today's action is a welcome example of law enforcement's ongoing and essential work to keep the Internet safe and lawful for consumers, creators and businesses," said The Copyright Alliance. "There is simply no defense for web operators that seek to corrupt the online world through digital theft."
The alliance includes studios, music publishers, broadcasters, sports leagues and others who depend on copyright protection.
The government will get even more power to shut down Web sites in the name of IP protection if a bill backed by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) makes it to the President's desk.
The Committee two weeks ago unanimously approved the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, a bipartisan bill that would give the Justice Department more power to shut down Web sites that illegally stream or sell TV shows and movies.