Yesterday and without warning, US authorities resumed “Operation In Our Sites” seizing several domain names associated with copyright infringement and counterfeiting. Today, yet more domains were added to the growing list. TorrentFreak caught up with one site owner who told us that while they were taken by surprise by a “pointless” seizure, they’ll soon be back.
As indicated in our exclusive report yesterday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have resumed “Operation In Our Sites”, the domain name seizing initiative designed to crack down on copyright infringement.
Following on from the most recent set of seizures in February, yesterday’s action represents the fourth phase of the operation. The following six domains were taken:
Today the list has grown again to include the following:
TorrentFreak managed to catch up with PiraCee, an admin at Re1ease.net, a portal that did not host any copyrighted material itself but linked to movie and TV shows on sites like Megavideo.com.
“We were not informed [that the seizure was imminent] in any way,” he told us. “I was just presented with the ICE image upon doing a page refresh.”
For those unfamiliar with the site, Re1ease.net was founded following PiraCee’s split with Ninjavideo.net in late 2008. NinjaVideo, readers will recall, succumbed to ICE raids in 2010 and never recovered.
While undoubtedly quite busy with around 10,000 visitors a day, Re1ease.net was not one the largest sites of its type on the Internet. Indeed, others with significantly higher levels of traffic remain intact, untouched by ICE.
“I don’t believe we were doing anything wrong at all. Many higher profile sites remain unaffected,” PiraCee told us.
So why was Re1ease singled out? Despite being operated from outside the United States, did they have a bad attitude to DMCA takedowns perhaps?
“We have only ever had two DMCA takedown requests – for Source Code and Hobo With a Shotgun,” PiraCee told us. “We removed both.”
But despite losing their domain, a body-blow event for any site, Re1ease.net aren’t giving in.
“We will be back,” said PiraCee, as the site mulled over a possible domain change this morning. “Give us about a week.”
That was a few hours ago though, and things move very quickly in this game.
“Scrrls.net will be our new domain and will be up and running soon as we fix our backend,” PiraCee assured us. Indeed, it appears to be fully functioning now.
TorrentFreak continues to monitor developments in phase 4 of Operation in Our Sites and if any additional domains are seized we will update this report.