Earlier today we reported that leading up to the Super Bowl this weekend, several sports streaming sites had their domain names seized by the Department of Justice and Homeland Security’s ICE unit.
At the time there was no official announcement from the authorities, but ICE has now confirmed that this, their 10th round of domain seizures, is being branded ‘Operation Fake Sweep.’
In total the authorities took down a record breaking 307 domain names. The majority, 291, sold counterfeit NFL merchandise and the remaining sites allegedly linked to copyrighted streams.
The full list of seized streaming domains is firstrow.tv, xonesports.tv, firstrowsports.tv, firstrowsports.net, firstrowsports.com, hq-streams.tv, robplay.tv, soccertvlive.net, sports95.net, sports95.com, sports95.org, sportswwe.net, sportswwe.tv, sportswwe.com, youwwe.net and youwwe.com.
In addition to the seizures, police also arrested 28-year old Yonjo Quiroa of Comstock Park, Michigan. According to the press release Quiroa is the owner of nine of the sixteen sites, which he operated from his home.
Responding to the arrest and domain seizures, ICE Director John Morton declared victory.
“While most people are focusing on whether the Patriots or Giants will win on Sunday, we at ICE have our sights on a different type of victory: defeating the international counterfeiting rings that illegally profit off of this event, the NFL, its players and sports fans,” Morton said.
“In sports, players must abide by rules of the game, and in life, individuals must follow the laws of the land. Our message is simple: abiding by intellectual property rights laws is not optional; it’s the law.”
NFL’s Vice President of Legal Affairs Anastasia Danias welcomed the support of the authorities.
“We are grateful for Homeland Security Investigations’ tireless efforts in combating intellectual property theft and are pleased to be working along with them and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on this important issue,” he said.
The controversial seizures which started early 2010 have now resulted in the takeover of 669 domain names. The majority of the sites in question offered counterfeit goods and three dozen were linked to copyright infringements. One domain name has been returned because it was seized by mistake.