Movie Pirate Sites Busted

Some of the most popular websites accused of hosting pirated movies for downloading or streaming were among the nine busted by U.S. officials June 30 in a major crackdown.

In addition to shutting down the sites, which often offered downloads or streams of movies just hours after they appeared in theatres, officers also seized assets from 15 bank, investment and advertising accounts. Residential search warrants were served in North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Washington.

The nine websites that were seized include,, and

According to the Wall Street Journal, an affidavit written by a federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agent said that alone had links to thousands of movies and TV shows, and was ranked 1,779th most-popular website in the world.

ICE officials worked with the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

The raids were the first actions in a new initiative to combat Internet counterfeiting and piracy called “Operation In Our Sites.” The Motion Picture Association of America estimates the U.S. film industry loses $25.6 billion annually to piracy.

“Criminal copyright infringement occurs on a massive scale over the Internet, and reportedly results in billions of dollars in losses to the U.S. economy,” said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement. She added that copyright infringement translates into lost jobs.

“That’s why we took the actions that we did,” Bharara said. “If your business model is movie piracy, your story will not have a happy ending.”