A number of Android-based piracy websites have reportedly been seized as part of a joint venture involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Justice, multiple US attorneys’ offices as well as Dutch and French law enforcement officials. A statement released by the DOJ notes that this is the first time that domains involving mobile phone app marketplaces have been seized.
Domains now in the custody of the federal government include appplanet.net, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com. Users visiting these destinations are now shown a seizure banner that indicates what has happened and further reminding visitors that willful copyright infringement is a federal crime with stiff penalties for those found guilty.
“Software apps have become an increasingly essential part of our nation’s economy and creative culture, and the Criminal Division is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the creators of these apps and other forms of intellectual property from those who seek to steal it,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the DOJ’s Criminal Division.
Authorities were able to download thousands of copies of popular mobile apps during the investigation. The notice highlights the fact that servers storing apps sold through third party marketplaces were often hosted in other countries. In these situations, officials worked with international partners to obtain evidence stored on the servers. In the US alone, nine search warrants were issued across six different districts as part of the operation.
This of course is good news for developers as each pirated copy of an app they created is money out of their pocket. These extra funds could potentially be rolled back into the same project and result in a more innovative product for the end-user.