US government seizes 77 piracy and counterfeit domains

By on November 26, 2010, 2:01 PM
The US government has seized at least 77 domains belonging to sites associated with P2P file sharing and counterfeit goods. It appears that their owners were not notified, and the court system was apparently skipped, according to TorrentFreak.

The seizures were carried out suddenly and without warning by a branch of Homeland Security known as ICE. Many of the seized domains were online stores offering counterfeit goods, but there were also a few piracy websites, including a torrent search engine.

Torrent-Finder.com was a meta-search engine, meaning it didn't host BitTorrent links itself, but it offered an interface that loaded a selection of other BitTorrent search engines in iframes on the page. In other words, it didn't host copyright material, nor links to copyright material, but rather links to links to copyright material.

All of these domains now display the image shown above. Here is the corresponding text:

This domain name has been seized by ICE - Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court under the authority of 18 U.S.C. 981 and 2323.

Willful copyright infringement is a federal crime that carries penalties for first time offenders of up to five years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution (17 U.S.C 506, 18 U.S.C 2319). Intentionally and knowingly trafficking in counterfeit goods is a federal crime that carries penalties for first time offenders of up to ten years in federal prison, a $2,000,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution (18 U.S.C. 2320).





User Comments: 39

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Leeky Leeky said:

Seriously, is it illegal to have links of links, of torrents on your website?!?

Its hardly like they're actually hosting them, themselves or anything.

Can ICE and other "branches" just bypass the legal "system"?

Guest said:

"Can ICE and other "branches" just bypass the legal "system"? "

welcome to the United States

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"It appears that their owners were not notified, and the court system was apparently skipped, according to TorrentFreak."

Oh yeah, you're certainly going to get an unbiased opinion from TorrentFreak alright.

windmill007 said:

Booooo were now as bad as China or any of those other bad countries. Found guilty without a trial.>Seriously...someone needs to stop them before it gets out of control. Soon they will turn the reigns over to the RIAA... I bet 75% of the internet would be displaying that image if they had their way. Scary stuff!

windmill007 said:

TomSEA said:

"It appears that their owners were not notified, and the court system was apparently skipped, according to TorrentFreak."

Oh yeah, you're certainly going to get an unbiased opinion from TorrentFreak alright.

So what if they were..I didn't see a trial or anything....So your found guilty without a trail? Hummmm doesn't sound like the land of the free to me. it's not the point of what those websites had on them..it's the point that free speech is being threaten without a trial... Doesn't seem right to me.

dustin_ds3000 dustin_ds3000, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Most of this sites that were took down had nothing to do with torrents or piracy, most of them are selling physical counterfeit goods. I see this as a win for everyone.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

It does say they had a warrant. I'm pretty sure they can seize whatever they want with a property warrant. They just have to give it back after a "not guilty" verdict at a trial. OK, so maybe that's an unrealistic expectation of outcome.

Seriously, is it illegal to have links of links, of torrents on your website?!?

Its hardly like they're actually hosting them, themselves or anything.

If I were an AUSA, (which thankfully I'm not), I argue along the lines of, "aiding and abetting", much in the same way pawn shops could almost always be charged with receiving stolen goods. I think law enforcement keeps pawn shops around as unwilling CIs. In this case, they just chose not too.

Can ICE and other "branches" just bypass the legal "system"?
Sadly, our "Patriot Act", is for many intents and purposes, a carte blanche, "yes".

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

captaincranky said:

It does say they had a warrant. I'm pretty sure they can seize whatever they want with a property warrant. They just have to give it back after a "not guilty" verdict at a trial. OK, so maybe that's an unrealistic expectation of outcome.

That was my thought exactly.

Leeky Leeky said:

If I were an AUSA, (which thankfully I'm not), I argue along the lines of, "aiding and abetting", much in the same way pawn shops could almost always be charged with receiving stolen goods. I think law enforcement keeps pawn shops around as unwilling CIs. In this case, they just chose not too.

Sadly, our "Patriot Act", is for many intents and purposes, a carte blanche, "yes".

Thats an angle I hadn't really considered tbh. I guess in that sense they're as bad as every other domain hosting links like TPB among others.

princeton princeton said:

windmill007 said:

TomSEA said:

"It appears that their owners were not notified, and the court system was apparently skipped, according to TorrentFreak."

Oh yeah, you're certainly going to get an unbiased opinion from TorrentFreak alright.

So what if they were..I didn't see a trial or anything....So your found guilty without a trail? Hummmm doesn't sound like the land of the free to me. it's not the point of what those websites had on them..it's the point that free speech is being threaten without a trial... Doesn't seem right to me.

If you look at the US it's actually guilty until proven innocent. Welcome to the Captalist hellhole called the USA.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

If you look at the US it's actually guilty until proven innocent. Welcome to the Captalist hellhole called the USA.
Yes, but we have "bail", which does at least pander to the, "innocent until proven guilty" sensibility

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

See, this is a glass half full, half empty argument. Most of you perceive this as being an attack on "freedom" comparing the US to China.

I look at it as this is the America judicial system functioning the way it should - protecting copyright owners from wholesale theft. Which has been happening ever since copyrights were issued.

Let's face it, most of you are pissed because your ability to steal games, movies and music with complete anonymity on the Internet are being minimized.

Guest said:

I look at it as the American Legal system fighting back against profit loss. Which would be fine if the companies involved/Government weren't Geedy in the 1st place.

I do believe that stealing is wrong..but greed is just as bad.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

THe US government actually has a more, "righteous", cause of action against counterfeit goods.

Our balance of trade is not that good to begin with, and consequently, anything that exacerbates this becomes a problem to the economy.

With that said, drugs are probably as bad a problem as counterfeit goods, perhaps worse.

With copyright infringement issues, the money would stay within our borders. (Movie mogul in Hollywood CA doesn't get rich).

But then there's overseas corporations like "Sony BMG". Enforcing copyright law in their favor, actually speeds the flow of our money overseas.

JMMD JMMD, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Too bad they're not spending this type of effort on cyber-crime and malware operators.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Too bad they're not spending this type of effort on cyber-crime and malware operators.

Um, because there's no money in it....?

treetops treetops said:

Lobbyist campaign contributions hard at work as usual. The USA is supposed to be for the people but its been for the money for hundreds of years.

Guest said:

Why should the government have to follow a law to confiscate a website that doesn't follow the law. It seams to me like they got a dose of their own medicine and I don't have a problem with that.

Now on the other hand I don't want the government to be censoring our internet like the reds. But this is well within the bounds of reason and "fair play"

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

This is silly, and it went out with the Old Testament......

Why should the government have to follow a law to confiscate a website that doesn't follow the law. It seams to me like they got a dose of their own medicine and I don't have a problem with that.
Well, because the good guys are supposed to follow the rules, whereas the bad guys don't. Your speil is like saying the police should be able to shoot you on the spot, if they think you've killed somebody. It's condoning, "eye for an eye" vigilante justice

That aside, the story is claiming that the federales executed a warrant, which is by the book, and patently legal.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

It starts as something good (taking down "illegal sites" but soon when the government has the right to rip down your facebook page and perhaps...i don't know...look at some information on it and use it against you, you won't be so happy.... that's what worries me.

Darkshadoe Darkshadoe said:

"Torrent-Finder.com was a meta-search engine, meaning it didn't host BitTorrent links itself, but it offered an interface that loaded a selection of other BitTorrent search engines in iframes on the page. In other words, it didn't host copyright material, nor links to copyright material, but rather links to links to copyright material."

So when are they taking Google down? It actually hosts links to copyrighted material. Just because they are a muti-billion dollar company shouldn't they be treated the same?

lawfer, TechSpot Paladin, said:

TomSEA said:

Let's face it, most of you are pissed because your ability to steal games, movies and music with complete anonymity on the Internet are being minimized.

Ah, no.

captaincranky said:

This is silly, and it went out with the Old Testament......

Why should the government have to follow a law to confiscate a website that doesn't follow the law. It seams to me like they got a dose of their own medicine and I don't have a problem with that.
Well, because the good guys are supposed to follow the rules, whereas the bad guys don't. Your speil is like saying the police should be able to shoot you on the spot, if they think you've killed somebody. It's condoning, "eye for an eye" vigilante justice

That aside, the story is claiming that the federales executed a warrant, which is by the book, and patently legal.

^This.

Guest said:

What does Homeland Security have to do with file sharing etc.?

Seriously. I mean isnt this the dept charged with looking for bombs and stuff.

How is this related to their business?

I used to think Alex Jones was a conspiracy crank but when you come across gross abuses of power like this it isnt hard to see why people say that America is a Police or Fascist state.

Obviously the law and constitution have become irrelevant.

Sick country glad I dont live there.

JudaZ said:

I see it as facism in practice

foreverzero89 said:

captaincranky said:

It does say they had a warrant. I'm pretty sure they can seize whatever they want with a property warrant. They just have to give it back after a "not guilty" verdict at a trial. OK, so maybe that's an unrealistic expectation of outcome.

Seriously, is it illegal to have links of links, of torrents on your website?!?

Its hardly like they're actually hosting them, themselves or anything.

If I were an AUSA, (which thankfully I'm not), I argue along the lines of, "aiding and abetting", much in the same way pawn shops could almost always be charged with receiving stolen goods. I think law enforcement keeps pawn shops around as unwilling CIs. In this case, they just chose not too.

Can ICE and other "branches" just bypass the legal "system"?
Sadly, our "Patriot Act", is for many intents and purposes, a carte blanche, "yes".

more like an anti-patriot act.

Guest said:

Welcome to United Corporations of America. Where individuals go to jail for penny candy theft and businesses steal trillions and get government bailouts for their little Mistakes?

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Welcome to United Corporations of America. Where individuals go to jail for penny candy theft and businesses steal trillions and get government bailouts for their little Mistakes?
Little setbacks like huge bailouts are bound to happen when your monetary system is based in "currency", which is largely a fantasy in the first place.

That's why it's always easier to write a check or pull out a credit card than it is to pay cash.

If anybody still had to grow something, dig something up, or manufacturer something, then the value of money would be much better appreciated. All that's happening now, is the fact that every few years, inflation just adds another zero to the back end of every financial transaction, and everybody's grumbling gets louder. Meanwhile, financial institutions, and legions of "middlemen", steal more and more of your less and less valuable credit rating.

So, the old saw that, "he who steals my purse, steals trash", is no longer a fable, but a reality.

Guest said:

I see hundreds of thousands of people going out of their way to find ways to download stolen copyrighted material. If you want the stuff that bad, then go rent it, pay for it, or find a friend with it. Honestly, some people spend most of their time on the internet trying to download movies, music, software and books...

Guest said:

OH QUIT WHINING! You put the Bush Administration in office from 2001-2008, now deal with his legacy you ******.

Leeky Leeky said:

OH QUIT WHINING! You put the Bush Administration in office from 2001-2008, now deal with his legacy you ******.

While not a US Citizen and therefore not overly aware of how your government elect presidents, I stil think its safe to assume that not every US citizen voted for him.

Unless of course he won his presidental bid/election/whatever it is with every single voters tick? Very doubtful in my opinion...

Besides which, doesn't the president actually need the approval of the senate before passing anything anyway? Which if so, would the senate not equally be to claim for your countries economic problems?!?

Economic slowdown is everywhere across the world, the US is suffering just like every other first world country. The UK is no different.

yRaz yRaz said:

Does it bother anyone that they are using tax payer money to fund these corporate crusades? The price they are asking is too much. We say "no, I don't think it's worth that much." so then they go around wasting OUR money to FORCE us to buy THEIR overpriced junk. I don't think I have seen a good movie, video game, or album come out in the past 2 years. If someone says MW2, BLOPS, Avatar, or Lady Gaga I'm gonna have to smack someone. Not paying for any of it. No one releases demos anymore, If you're lucky you get the beta buy pre-ordering it. This country is so messed up, AND DON'T BLAME THAT ONE ON OBAMA OR BUSH, JUST FALLOW THE MONEY!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Does it bother anyone that they are using tax payer money to fund these corporate crusades? The price they are asking is too much. We say "no, I don't think it's worth that much." so then they go around wasting OUR money to FORCE us to buy THEIR overpriced junk. I don't think I have seen a good movie, video game, or album come out in the past 2 years. If someone says MW2, BLOPS, Avatar, or Lady Gaga I'm gonna have to smack someone. Not paying for any of it. No one releases demos anymore, If you're lucky you get the beta buy pre-ordering it. This country is so messed up, AND DON'T BLAME THAT ONE ON OBAMA OR BUSH, JUST FALLOW THE MONEY!
While most of your statement is true, someone has to be in charge of the government, otherwise there wouldn't be a "Department of Homeland Security", ICE, or any other pseudo military agency involved in the prosecution of the "war on downloading".

With that said, lobbyists actually run the country, and in most elections, any choice you have, involves voting AGAINST one CROOK, in favor of The OTHER CROOK.

The only recent electoral contradiction to that procedure, was when you cast a vote against George W Bush. That would have said loud and clear, that you were categorically against allowing severely mentally retarded individuals being allowed to meddle in YOUR government.

Unfortunately, casting such a vote would have been a violation of the, "Americans with Disabilities Act". So if you did so, don't tell anybody, or the "Thought Police" will surely show up at your door. Trust me they don't need no steenking warrants...

Oh, before I forget, nobody's actually "forcing" you to buy anything....!

yRaz yRaz said:

captaincranky said:

While most of your statement is true, someone has to be in charge of the government, otherwise there wouldn't be a "Department of Homeland Security", ICE, or any other pseudo military agency involved in the prosecution of the "war on downloading".

With that said, lobbyists actually run the country, and in most elections, any choice you have, involves voting AGAINST one CROOK, in favor of The OTHER CROOK.

The only recent electoral contradiction to that procedure, was when you cast a vote against George W Bush. That would have said loud and clear, that you were categorically against allowing severely mentally retarded individuals being allowed to meddle in YOUR government.

Unfortunately, casting such a vote would have been a violation of the, "Americans with Disabilities Act". So if you did so, don't tell anybody, or the "Thought Police" will surely show up at your door. Trust me they don't need no steenking warrants...

Oh, before I forget, nobody's actually "forcing" you to buy anything....!

LOL, I know what you said was entirely serious, but it was really funny. You are right that no one is forcing me to buy anything, just Don't confuse that with me being unwilling to pay for these things, I'm just not willing to pay the prices they are asking for. These past 2 years have been horrible on the movie, music, and gaming scene.

You also put it much better than I could have, "voting AGAINST one CROOK, in favor of The OTHER CROOK." Kinda what I was trying to say but I was drunk at the time.

Guest said:

That would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Although there was not a good Republican choice, there were several independents that were not intent on getting deeper into all of our pockets..

Instead, you elected an ignorant dilletante who thinks it makes sense to give out more and more "free ice cream" and thinks the money will just magicly appear to pay the bills.

Welcome to the United States of the Deluded.

yRaz yRaz said:

Guest said:

That would be funny if it weren't so sad.

Although there was not a good Republican choice, there were several independents that were not intent on getting deeper into all of our pockets..

Instead, you elected an ignorant dilletante who thinks it makes sense to give out more and more "free ice cream" and thinks the money will just magicly appear to pay the bills.

Welcome to the United States of the Deluded.

Is that so? I'm sure adding another $3.5 trillion to our national debt with the bush tax cuts would be effective for helping our economy. We tried it for the last 10 years and it failed, what else is there to say? In tough economic times the only thing that really works is unemployment. That money will immediately be use in the local economy, and not just some of it,all of it will be. I'm sure that isn't as effective as giving rich people money, though... The moment we want to stop giving rich people money is the moment someone did something HORRIBLY wrong. God forbid that we help the poor people that NEED help.

Want to know how these rich douche's repay us? This last quarter was one of the most profitable for businesses around the world. The DOW is now the highest it has been in 3 years, I'm sure Obama had nothing to do with that. But, wait, where are the jobs at? The businesses realize they don't need all those workers, so they don't higher anyone back. They overwork their current employees, don't higher anyone back(contributing to the unemployment), ask for tax cuts(contributing to the National Debt), and when people are hungry worried about losing there home(not their fault they got laid off), we leave them in the street hungry with nothing.

So many people have lost everything because of corporate greed. Now that they lost it, we deny them unemployment as the fat cats get to keep getting fatter. I guess we better privatize social security now so when the economy fails again we can have homeless old people everywhere.

The republicans are WRONG. I know I am going to get TONS of heat for saying that but, someone has to be right. bush administration and the state of the economy are great examples of how wrong republican policy really is. I hear tons of tea party quotes, and it is REALLY annoying, but here is my liberal quote.

"A country that ignores its past has no future" -Machiavelli

Guest said:

If this were legitimately a government action (doubtful, see below), it would be a criminal matter. As such, ICE did follow the legal systems. The courts weren't bypassed at all. Where do you think warrants come from? It doesn't have anything to do with the Patriot Act, Bush, or Terrorists. ICE has a mandate to protect against copyright infringement, they just happen to fall under Homeland Security because they also control border crossings.

Many people confuse civil trials with criminal. True, if this were a civil trial, the sites would have been notified, followed by legal wrangling, then perhaps a trial. If the verdict went against them, the sites would be shut down. In a criminal matter, law enforcement just has to show enough evidence of a crime to convince a judge to sign a warrant. For example, if you are accused of crime the police / DA can file for a warrant to search your home and seize any property that is suspected to be involved with the crime. They do not have to find you guilty first, they only have to come up with probable cause for the warrant. While this may seem draconian if you are innocent, it is the best system that we have come up with, and you won't find a much more lenient system anywhere in the world.

**Why this may not be a government action at all:

the content below was dug up by a slashdot commenter known as 'hey!' using freely available ns lookups.

"Well, it looks fishy to me. Here are the questionable elements.

(1) The domain registration information information still lists a private domain owner and and admin contact.

(2) The name servers ns1.torrent-finder.com and ns2.torrent-finder.com, as well as the torrent-finder.com ALL redirect to addresses in a private hosting company (74.81.170.108, .109 and .110 respectively), physically in Charlotte, NC. The picture you're greeted with is served from one of the hosting company's addresses.

(3) Whois reports the registrar to be Go Daddy, but the name servers ns1 and ns2.seizedservers.com whose IP addresses aremanaged by a private company called "wild west domains".

(4) The "seizedservers.com" domain is controlled by a company called "immixGroup IT solutions". The registrar is network solutions and the registrant is using network solution's privacy service to block his contact identity.

Notice what is missing here: any reference to a government controlled host, domain or name controller. All we have is a set of privately procured and managed name and web servers with anonymous administrative contacts. There is literally *nothing* to connect the picture you are seeing at the torrent-finders.com website to DHS, other than the picture's *claim*.

A little googling shows this exact same picture shows up in similar "DHS seizure" cases, with the exact same pattern of private servers and domains leading back to some anonymity service and NO government ip addresses, domains or contacts involved, although the *private* domains and servers involved are different. If this were a DHS seizure program, wouldn't the trail lead back to the same government contacts?

It looks to me like this is either a hoax or a case of private hijacking by a private individual or group who uses different domains and accounts to cover his tracks."

Guest said:

I just read elsewhere they started patting down people at bus stations now.

Like there have been many terrorists flying planes into buses right?

I guess next its cinemas, supermarkets...its got to be only a matter of time until people are prohibited from gathering in a group of 3 without TSA permission....

got your ID papers lady? no? well youre off to the detention centre.

Its all gone way too far and the American public just sit back and take it

Guest said:

Hope and Change... all bitter medicine forced down my throat and now by legislative judges on the bench. Glad China is prospering from this though -- where the true piracy stems. Nothing like avoiding the root of the problem.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

The republicans are WRONG. I know I am going to get TONS of heat for saying that but, someone has to be right. bush administration and the state of the economy are great examples of how wrong republican policy really is. I hear tons of tea party quotes, and it is REALLY annoying, but here is my liberal quote.
The Republicans are 99 44/100's percent wrong, 100% of the time. That said, you can find way too many "Republiciles", chafing at the bit, eager for a chance to vote for the carping, nasal, annoying, ***** of a has been beauty queen that is Sarah Palin. And for that matter, her lard a**ed unwed mother turned "teen activist" daughter Bristol". ("teen activist" is the politically spun term for a teen aged girl, who is too stupid to either shut her legs, or force her boyfriend to wear a condom" .

"A country that ignores its past has no future" -Machiavelli
I'm going to take a wild guess and say that George Santayana has read Machiavelli also;
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. .... Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. ... The world is a perpetual caricature of itself; at every moment it is the mockery and the contradiction ..

And then there was this gem

OH QUIT WHINING! You put the Bush Administration in office from 2001-2008, now deal with his legacy you ******.
George W. Bush was elected with a 50.7% plurality of the popular vote. That means, roughly half of the people of the US, didn't want him as their president! Or, to put another way, half of the voting public aren't *****'s, but we suffer the slings and arrows of those who are.

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