Pirated Android Mobile App Sites Shut Down by Justice Department, FBI
The Justice Department sting is believed to be the first one involving pirated Android mobile apps, which is a huge, growing and profitable market for software counterfeiters.Three Websites that allegedly sell pirated copies of Android apps have been shut down and seized by U.S. government authorities as part of ongoing efforts to battle online software piracy and counterfeiting around the world. The seized Web domainsâApplanet.net, Appbucket.net and Snappzmarket.comâall now only display a "seizure banner" from the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). The banners notify visitors that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities due to copyright-infringement issues, according to an Aug. 21 DOJ statement.
The government has previously taken similar actions against other Websites that allegedly sell pirated or counterfeit software.
In January, the FBI shut down the Website, Megaupload.com, one of the largest file-sharing services on the Internet, on charges that it systematically abetted the widespread piracy of copyrighted music, movies, video and other intellectual property.In a 72-page indictment in that case, the government charged seven people and two corporations, Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited, of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated movies and other content. The individuals face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on racketeering charges, five years for conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, 20 years on money-laundering charges and five years on related charges. In December of 2011, a federal judge in Nevada ruled in favor of luxury brand Chanel and allowed the company to have about 600 different Websites shut down for selling counterfeit Chanel products. This week's criminal case against the Android sites included several federal agencies such as the DOJ's Task Force on Intellectual Property and its Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section; the Office of International Affairs; the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Georgia; the FBI's Atlanta Field Office; and six other U.S. Attorneys' Offices, including the Southern District of Mississippi, the Middle District of Florida, the Western District of Michigan, the Southern District of Indiana, the District of Rhode Island and the Northern District of Texas.