Movie Piracy Crackdown: Nine Sites Shutdown

In an effort to crack down on Internet piracy, the federal government has seized nine separate movie piracy sites that had boot-leg versions of Toy Story 3 and Iron Man 2 on their site hours after their theater releases.

The federal authorities grabbed the domain names of sites that engaged in the “criminal theft of American movies and television.”  Among these sites were TVShack.net, PlanetMoviez.com, ThePirateCity.org and Ninjavideo.net, whose combined monthly visitor count was in the six million range.  Those same officials also seized assets from 15 bank, investment and advertising accounts along with executing residential search warrants in North Carolina, New York, New Jersey and Washington.  The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is working with U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York (Preet Bharara), the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies to bring these piracy sites to their knees.

A week ago, the Obama administration announced plans on how they were going to tackle global piracy, including the take down of some websites.  This particular surge took 100 agents working in 11 states and the Netherlands and was part of the renewed campaign called Operation in Our Sites by the feds.

According to the L.A. Times, Bharara “said in a statement that the actions were necessary to protect the jobs and livelihoods of ‘ordinary working people’ and warned others engaged in similar websites.  ‘If your business model is piracy, your story will not have a happy ending.’ ”

Film piracy is a tough thing to comment on.  On the one hand, you’re essentially “sticking it to the man.”  Big corporations make tons of money off movies that they paid ridiculous amounts of money for in the first place. Not everyone can afford spending $14 a movie ticket plus $20 in refreshments.  On the other hand, if we don’t pay the corporations their insane paychecks, they won’t have the money to make the films we want to see.  Yes, Napoleon Dynamite showed us that a good film doesn’t need huge amounts of cash, but can you imagine Iron Man on the same budget?