Just days before the Super Bowl, government authorities in New York shut down 10 streaming websites accused of illegally showing live and pay-per-view sports events.
Content on popular websites such as Rojadirecta.org, Channelsurfing.net and ATDHE.net was replaced by a note saying that the domain names were seized by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials through warrants obtained by the U.S. attorney's office for the Southern District of New York.
The other sites shut down Monday were HQ-Streams.com, HQ-Streams.net, Firstrow.net, Ilemi.com, Iilemi.com, Iilemii.com and Rojadirecta.com.
The court order, which was unsealed Wednesday in federal court in Manhattan, alleged that illegal online distribution of copyrighted events causes sports leagues and broadcasters to lose millions of dollars a year.
Piracy threatens "the leagues' ability to sell game tickets and secure local television and radio carriage, and the value of advertising revenue generated by broadcast, radio and new media partners," the affidavit said. "Sports fans are also victims, as the costs expended by sports leagues in an effort to address online piracy are passed on to fans when they purchase tickets or subscribe to sports networks," the document said.
The seized sites allegedly streamed material from the National Football League, National Basketball Assn., National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment and Ultimate Fighting Championship.