Feds seize websites selling illegal apps

Federal authorities seized three websites this week that they say were illegally selling thousands of copies of Android cellphone apps, the first copyright crackdown of its kind, prosecutors said.

The websites were identified as applanet.net, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com, according to the Justice Department, the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Atlanta and the FBI in Atlanta, which jointly made the announcement Wednesday, a day after the sites were seized.

Prosecutors said FBI agents downloaded thousands of copies of popular copyrighted apps from the websites, which were selling them without permission from software developers. The sites were supported by servers hosted in other countries. Dutch and French authorities assisted U.S. agents, and federal prosecutors in Mississippi, Florida, Michigan, Indiana, Rhode Island and Texas also were involved.

“Criminal copyright laws apply to apps for cellphones and tablets, just as they do to other software, music and writings,” U.S. Attorney U.S. Attorney Sally Quillian Yates in Atlanta said in a statement. “We will continue to seize and shut down websites that market pirated apps, and to pursue those responsible for criminal charges if appropriate.”

Authorities say the copyright violations cost developers millions of dollars in lost revenue. No arrests, however, were reported after the websites were seized. Visitors to the three sites are greeted with an “FBI anti-piracy warning.”

8 comments Add your comment

TazManDevil

August 22nd, 2012
9:37 pm

BoyWonder

August 22nd, 2012
9:57 pm

While the Chinese copy and duplicate many billions upon billions of trademarked items and they get – oh – most favored trade status.

Right.

Must have been an FBI agent who had his own copyrighted app ripped off to get them involved at this level.

C. Tampa Ironworse

August 22nd, 2012
10:23 pm

The worst thing is…the fake apps were “loaded potato skins” and “fried cheese sticks”. Not in America Jack!!!

ramblinman

August 23rd, 2012
12:37 am

I like cheap or free stuff as much as anyone, but if everything winds up on the net without anybody ever paying for it, then who is going to bother creating anything. I think this is a better use of resources than confiscating fake Rolex watches. I mean, in the first place, the Rolexes aren’t made in the U.S.A. and most people who buy fakes weren’t going to purchase a genuine article and nobody who was going to buy a genuine Rolex will be detered because there are fakes out there. This actually hurts creative people.

Christopher K.

August 23rd, 2012
3:44 am

Everything must be rosy if this is the most important thing on the FBI’s plate. This screams of “look at us, we’re justifying our budget by fighting piracy.” Pathetic.

shaggy

August 23rd, 2012
6:52 am

China, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, etc… Just what are the feds doing about these thieves, besides making sure more of their cheap crap is sold in this country?

Hoohaa tickler

August 23rd, 2012
7:39 am

Whats next….fake soul food busted?

Business Tactics

August 23rd, 2012
8:03 am

Remember when apps were just called “programs.” Computers were cool when they weren’t so mainstream.