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Feds Defend Internet Domain Seizure in Piracy Crackdown

• David Kravets via
 Federal prosecutors are asking a judge not to return the domain names of one of Spain’s most popular websites, seized as part of a major U.S. crackdown on internet piracy.

The legal filing over represents the government’s first legal response to a lawsuit challenging “Operation in Our Sites.”

Commenced last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has seized as many as 208 domains the authorities claim are linked to intellectual-property fraud. The court-ordered seizures are aimed at web sites that sell counterfeited goods, as well as sites that facilitate illegal music, film and broadcast piracy.

The Rojadirecta .com and .org domains were seized in January along with eight others connected to broadcasting pirated streams of professional sports.

“Returning the Rojadirecta domain names at this time would provide Puerto 80 with the very tools it used to commit the crimes the government has alleged it engaged in prior to the seizure,” (.pdf) the government said in a legal filing Monday. “Accordingly, Puerto 80’s petition should be denied.”

Puerto 80, the Rojadirecta site owner, last month asked a New York judge to return them. The petition is believed to be the only legal challenge lodged against Operation in Our Sites.

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