Pirate Movie Sites Reappear After ICE Takedown

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From the whack-a-mole department: Authorities at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agency seized the domains of nine websites that had been charged with illegally pirating first-run movies yesterday. But while the domains were taken down as part of ICE’s “Operation In Our Sites,” two of the sites have already reappeared just 24 hours later.

The sites TVShack.net, Movies-Links.TV, FilesPump.com, NinjaVideo.net, NinjaThis.net, Now-Movies.com, PlanetMoviez.com, ThePirateCity.org and ZML.com, had all bought their domains from US-based registrars, which had allowed federal authorities to seize the domains. The ICE replaced those domains with the following image, warning users that it is unlawful to distribute copyrighted information without authorization.

Some of those sites were hosted in the US, including computers in Colorado, Florida and Illinois, but others were hosted on international servers in countries like Germany, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. In addition to seizing the site domains, the ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations reportedly seized assets from 15 different bank, PayPal, investment and other advertising accounts, and executed four different residential search warrants.

But the shutdown of some of the sites involved was short-lived. According to TorrentFreak, Movies-Links.TV and TVShack.net are now operating at Watch-Movies-tv.info and TVShack.cc, respectively.

The takedown and subsequent reappearance of the sites highlights the issue faced by federal agencies as they attempt to enforce local copyright in a global market. When a local injunction by a German court tried to force The Pirate Bay offline, its traffic was merely routed elsewhere, which interrupted access to the website, but ultimately didn’t result in a disruption in file trading.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: The Quest to Monetize File Sharing (subscription required)

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