In what appeared to be a massive, unprecedented raid on websites showing pirated movies, federal authorities including more than 100 agents on Wednesday shut down several sites offering downloads of recent films, saying that they had engaged in "criminal theft of American movies." Sites affected by the crackdown included TVShack.net, PlanetMoviez.com, ThePirateCity.org, NinjaThis.net and Ninjavideo.net. Officials also seized bank assets of the websites and executed search warrants at homes of the operators in North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, and Washington D.C. At a news conference held at the Walt Disney Studios on Wednesday, John Morton, head of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) said that the arrests represented what is intended to be a "long term effort to turn the tables on these thieves." MPAA official Kevin Suh praised the action as the "largest takedown of illegal movie and television websites in a single action by the federal government."

01/07/2010