In a landmark action, seizure orders have been executed against three website domain names engaged in the illegal distribution of copyrighted Android cell phone apps. According to the U.S. Department of Justice report... “This is the first time website domains involving cell phone app marketplaces have been seized.”
The three Web sites involved, applanet.net, appbucket.net, and snappzmarket.com, have been accused of infringing copyrighted material, namely mobile device apps. The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the operation by downloading “thousands of copies of popular copyright apps” from the sites. The agency didn’t specify which apps, but the hosting servers were based overseas, leading the FBI to call on international law-enforcement partners for help.
The seizures are the result of a comprehensive enforcement action taken to prevent the infringement of copyrighted mobile device apps. The operation was coordinated with international law enforcement, including Dutch and French law enforcement officials.
The seized sites are still online but Visitors will now be presented with the following banner:
I visited all three sites and strangely, the banner displays on only two, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com. The third, applanet.net, appears to be open for business as normal.
The USDOJ report also includes the following ominous statements – ominous for the cyber criminals that is:
- The theft of intellectual property, particularly within the cyber arena, is a growing problem and one that cannot be ignored by the U.S government’s law enforcement community
- Cracking down on piracy of copyrighted works – including popular apps – is a top priority of the Criminal Division.
- The Criminal Division is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the creators of these apps and other forms of intellectual property.
- We will continue to seize and shut down websites that market pirated apps, and to pursue those responsible for criminal charges if appropriate.
Although no arrests have been announced to date in connection with these seizures, the DOJ’s message seems clear enough… piraters beware!!