Feds Seize a Piece of the Internet Over Illegal App Sales

The Justice Department seized three website domain names suspected of illegally selling cell phone and tablet apps without paying fees to the software developers.

The Justice Department seized a piece of the Internet Monday afternoon. Three website domains names were seized that officials said illegally distributed copies of copyrighted Android cell phone apps.

Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Sally QuillianYates of the Northern District of Georgia, and Special Agent in Charge Brian D. Lamkin of the FBI’s Atlanta Field Office made the announcement today, Aug. 22, saying that this is the first time website domains involving cell phone app marketplaces have been seized.

The operation was coordinated with international law enforcement, including Dutch and French law enforcement officials. The three seized domain names – applanet.net, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com – are in the custody of the federal government. Visitors to the sites will now find a seizure banner that notifies them that the domain name has been seized by federal authorities and educates them that willful copyright infringement is a federal crime.

FBI agents downloaded thousands of copies of popular copyrighted mobile device apps from the alternative online markets suspected of distributing copies of apps without permission from the software developers. In most cases, the servers storing the apps were being hosted in other countries, and international law enforcement partners assisted in obtaining or seizing evidence stored on these servers. Nine search warrants were also executed in six different districts across the country today as part of the operation.



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