The US Department of Justice [official website] announced [press release] Tuesday that it is shutting down three of the most highly trafficked Android [corporate website] piracy websites. This marks the first time the DOJ has seized website domains involving cell phone apps. The DOJ acted in conjunction with the FBI and Dutch and French agencies. FBI Special Agent in Charge Lamkin said in the press release:
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. These thefts cost companies millions of dollars and can even inhibit the development and implementation of new ideas and applications. The FBI, in working with its various corporate and government partners, is not only committed to combating such thefts but is well poised to coordinate with the many jurisdictions that are impacted by such activities.During the investigation, nine search warrants were executed in six different districts of the US.
Recently, there has been a surge in government attention to copyright issues. In January US lawmakers decided to postpone [JURIST report] discussion of the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) [text, PDF]. Also in January the Spanish government approved a new law [JURIST report] that creates a government agency with the authority to force Internet service providers to block certain websites that are involved in pirating copyrighted material. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in November that Internet service providers cannot be required by law to monitor [JURIST report] their customers' activities as an attempt to combat illegal sharing of copyrighted material.