Authorities in Los Angeles seized the domain names of five websites suspected of offering illegal downloads of copyrighted movies, music, television programs and computer software, marking the first seizure of its kind carried out in the Central District of California.
The local seizure orders were among those executed nationwide against 82 domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
The coordinated federal law enforcement operation targeted online retailers of a wide array of counterfeit goods, including sports equipment, shoes, handbags, athletic apparel and sunglasses, as well as illegal copies of copyrighted DVD boxed sets, music and software.
Dubbed "Operation In Our Sites v. 2.0," the effort was the second phase of a national crackdown by the Justice and Homeland Security departments on the distribution of pirated goods over the Internet.
The enforcement actions were announced Monday by Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton.
During the course of the operation, federal law enforcement agents made undercover purchases from online retailers suspected of selling counterfeit goods. If the goods were confirmed as counterfeit or otherwise illegal, seizure orders for the domain names of the websites that sold the goods were obtained from U.S. magistrate judges.
The five Internet domain names disabled as the result of the locally issued seizure warrants include torrent-finder.com; RapGodFathers.com; RMX4U.COM; dajaz1.com; and onsmash.com.
Individuals attempting to access the websites will now find a banner notifying them that the domain name of that website has been seized by federal authorities.
Collectively, the five websites seized locally accounted for more than 185,000 daily page views. Some of the music and movies offered by those sites had not yet been made available for purchase or home viewing by the general public.
The most widely viewed, torrent-finder.com, was ranked among the 5,000 most popular websites in the United States. In late October, this site offered users access to first run movies such as "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps," "The Social Network" and "Red."