U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Justice Department Wednesday launched anti-IP
piracy initiative "Operation in Our Sites" with the seizure of nine
domain names it says were offering films and TV shows online illegally, in the
case of the films within hours of their release.
ICE and the U.S.
Attorney for the Southern District of New York also seized assets from Paypal,
banks and advertising accounts, and searched residences in New York, New
Jersey, Washington, and North Carolina.
Announcing the seizures
on a Burbank soundstage (Walt Disney Studios) and flanked by members of the
Motion Picture Association of America, ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton said
that the sites had been run by people "who have no respect for creativity
and innovation," according to a release from U.S. Immigration and
According to Customs, the
sites seized were NinjaVideo.net, NinjaThis.net, tvshack,net, movies-links.tv, filespump.com, now-movies.com, planetmoviez.com, thepiratecity.org,
motion picture and television industry is one of our nation's most valuable
cultural and economic resources," said Mike Robinson, chief of operations,
content protection, for MPAA. "We are grateful to ICE, the Obama
administration and the federal agencies that have made the protection of
intellectual property for the United States."
The seizures follow the
White House's June 22 unveiling of its first strategic plan for cracking down
on intellectual property theft, including the pirating of TV shows, movies, and
other online content.
"Today's action builds on the comprehensive federal IP enforcement strategy that Vice President Biden and White House IP czar Victoria Espinel laid out last week," said Rick Cotton, EVP and general counsel of NBCU, "and there's no question that it's great news for the millions of workers who depend on the creative industries to earn their living. The initiative by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Justice is critically important to ensure that American jobs are not hijacked by digital thieves, and that American innovation and creativity continue to drive U.S. economic growth."