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US authorities shutdown websites accused of movie piracy

'Sheriff, this is no time to panic'

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US feds and customs officials shut down seven websites yesterday, for allegedly hosting pirated copies of popular Hollywood films and TV shows.

The net seizures came just one week after the White House announced its enforcement plan for confronting theft of intellectual property.

US authorities have accused (pdf) the sites of movie piracy and said that films such as Toy Story 3 were being offered free to users of the websites.

A Manhattan federal court issued warrants on behalf of the US attorney for the Southern District of New York that demanded the closure of seven sites: TVshack.net, Movies-Links.tv, FilesPump.com, Now-Movies.com, PlanetMoviez.com, ThePirateCity.org and ZML.com.

Six of the websites were described by the attorney’s office as “linking” sites that give access to portals where “pirated movies and television programs are stored”.

ZML.com was described as a “cyberlocker” that allegedly stored pirated films and TV shows which were made available for users to download.

“Criminal copyright infringement occurs on a massive scale over the internet, and reportedly results in billions of dollars in losses to the US economy. That translates into lost jobs and real hardships for ordinary working people,” said US attorney Preet Bharara, in justifying the action.

“If your business model is movie piracy, your story will not have a happy ending.”

His office said it would request that the domain names for the seized websites be forfeited. ®

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