Just days before the Super Bowl, federal officials seized the Web addresses of 10 websites accused of illegally offering access to sports events and other copyright-protected content.
In the seizure warrant unsealed Wednesday, investigators estimated that "each year sports leagues and broadcasters lose millions of dollars from the illegal distribution of copyrighted, live sporting events over the Internet."
The 10 sites provided links to other websites that hosted pirated sports events and Pay-Per-View content, according to the unsealed documents.
Federal officials from the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized the website addresses on Tuesday.
The targeted sites were: atdhe.net, channelsurfing.net, hq-streams.com, hqstreams.net, firstrow.net, ilemi.com, iilemi.com, iilemii.com, rojadirecta.org and rojadirecta.com.
"The illegal streaming of professional sporting events over the Internet deals a financial body blow to the leagues and broadcasters who are forced to pass their losses off to fans by raising prices for tickets and pay-per-view events," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement.
Federal attorneys say they will ask that the domain names be forfeited.