Over the past several months a series of domain name seizures by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made headlines across the Internet.
Under the flag of “Operation In Our Sites” the authorities shut down a dozen file-sharing and streaming sites, as well as close to 80 sites selling counterfeit goods. On the majority of these domains, the authorities have now decided to run an anti-piracy announcement to honor yesterday’s World Intellectual Property Day.
“To coincide with World Intellectual Property Day, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has launched a new public service announcement (PSA) that aims to raise awareness of the economic impact of IP theft,” they announced.
The authorities can “use” the domains for this campaign because the previous owners did not file an appeal. This means that the domains have fallen into the hands of the U.S. Government.
“If no petitions or claims are filed, the domain names become property of the U.S. government. Since “Operation In Our Sites” began, 65 domain names have been forfeited using this process. Other domain names are still in the administrative forfeiture process,” the authorities explain.
Interestingly enough, the video that appears on the domains is an anti-piracy campaign, targeted at those who download illegal movies. However, of the 100+ domains that were seized over the past year, only one (torrent-finder.com) was linked by the authorities to illegal movie downloads. But this falls flat, since Torrent-Finder is actually one of the few sites that appealed the seizure of its domain, and thus not showing the video.
Most of the domains that now link to the video have nothing to do with ‘piracy,’ but were selling counterfeit goods. Something entirely different according to the law, but that doesn’t seem to bother the authorities. If we have to take a guess, we’d say the anti-piracy video was probably put up at the MPAA’s request.