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ICE posts anti-piracy video on seized Web sites

ICE site seizure banner

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) launched anti-digital pirating and counterfeiting public service announcements (PSAs) on 65 Web sites seized for the activity.

The HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) began "Operation In Our Sites" last June and has seized over a hundred Web sites since then for providing pirated entertainment programming and counterfeited goods. Since the launch, the IPR Center seized 120 domain names and redirected those domain names to a seizure banner. Sixty five of the 120 domain names have been administratively forfeited, it said and the new PSA is available on each of them.

The PSA features a street vendor providing “free DVDs” to passersby, with the catch that if they take the videos, a movie production person loses their job.

ICE said it provides ample time for owners or parties interested in the seized sites to petition with federal courts to contest the site forfeitures. Is said 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, it said. Other domain names are still in the administrative forfeiture process.

The sites, it said, provide a significant opportunity for public education on copyright pirating.  ICE claims since the operation was launched, the seized sites  -  which had displayed an ICE banner notifying visitors of the court-ordered seizure and copyright infringement rules  -   have received over 45 million hits. “With the amount of traffic to these seized sites, the new PSA will continue to assist in educating the general public on the true impact of IP theft, including the loss of American jobs,” it said in an April 26 statement.

"The public service announcement launched today will help raise awareness that American businesses, and American jobs, are threatened by those who pirate copyrighted material and produce counterfeit trademarked goods," said ICE Director John Morton. "Intellectual property rights and the ability to enforce those rights encourage American companies to continue the tradition of American innovation and develop products, ideas and merchandise. That is why we will continue to educate the general public about the real consequences of IP theft."

For example, visitors to www.dvdcollects.com, a domain name seized in November 2009, will now redirect to the PSA hosted on ICE's official YouTube page, said ICE.

Since the launch of "Operation In Our Sites," the IPR Center and HSI said they have conducted four enforcement phases. In February 2011, the IPR Center seized 18 domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods. In February 2011, HSI seized 10 websites that illegally streamed live sporting telecasts and pay-per-view events over the Internet were seized. In November 2010, 83 domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works were seized.  In June 2010, investigators executed seizure warrants against nine domain names of websites offering pirated copies of first-run movies, music and software.


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