Federal Authorities Shut Down Movie Sharing Websites

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NEW YORK, N.Y. – Federal officials moved to shut down seven websites that allegedly facilitated the distribution of pirated movies.

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and John T. Morton, the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, announced the unsealing of warrants issued by the United States District Court in Manhattan, authorizing the seizures of the domain names of seven sites: TVSHACK.NET, MOVIES-LINKS.TV, FILESPUMP.COM, NOW-MOVIES.COM, PLANETMOVIEZ.COM, THEPIRATECITY.ORG, and ZML.COM, for violations of federal criminal copyright infringement laws.

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Six of the websites allegedly provide access to illegal movie files through links to other websites where pirated movies and television programs are stored. The seventh website, ZML.COM, is a “cyberlocker,” where illegal copies of movies and television shows are allegedly stored for downloading.

The websites allegedly offered access to movies such as “The Karate Kid,” “Toy Story 3″ and “Sex and The City 2,” among other popular copyrighted movies that are currently in theaters and not legally available over the internet. MOVIES-LINKS.TV is the 258th most popular website in the world, with over 3 million visitors per month, officials said.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York will ask that the domain names for these websites be forfeited. As authorized by the warrants, all visitors to these websites will be redirected to a banner that advises them that the domain name has been seized by Order of the Court, in connection with criminal copyright violations.

Several search warrants were also executed today on servers associated with the subject websites and other websites illegally offering copyrighted material.

Bharara said, “Criminal copyright infringement occurs on a massive scale over the internet, and reportedly results in billions of dollars in losses to the U.S. economy. That translates into lost jobs and real hardships for ordinary working people. That’s why we took today’s action. If your business model is movie piracy, your story will not have a happy ending.”

Morton stated: “Immigration and Customs Enforcement and our partners at the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center have been tracking the proliferation of pirate web sites run by people who have no respect for creativity and innovation. We are dedicated to protecting the jobs, the income and the tax revenue that disappear when organized criminals offer stolen movies for their own profit.”

According to federal officials, the U.S. economy loses an estimated $25.6 billion per year, and an estimated 375,000 jobs per year, to criminal copyright infringement.


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