THE UNITED STATES Department of Justice (DoJ) has seized three websites accused of distributing 'pirated' Android applications.
The DoJ said that this is the first time that websites offering mobile phone apps have been seized, and suggested that this might be just the start of more activity in this area.
The three seized domains - applanet.net, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com - are all now showing the typical three logo seizure notice that accompanies this sort of thing. In its statement the DoJ said that the banner will help to educate visitors about "willful copyright infringement".
"Cracking down on piracy of copyrighted works - including popular apps - is a top priority of the Criminal Division," added US Assistant Attorney General Breuer in a statement.
"Software apps have become an increasingly essential part of our nation's economy and creative culture, and the Criminal Division is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect the creators of these apps and other forms of intellectual property from those who seek to steal it."
As part of the investigation the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) downloaded "thousands of copies" of popular and protected apps from the markets. It said that much of the content was hosted in other countries, adding that it had to cooperate with international law enforcement agencies in obtaining and seizing servers and evidence.
Since this is the first seizure of its kind, those involved are keen to remind us that their reach will always extend into anywhere where there is a suggestion of copyright theft.
"Criminal copyright laws apply to apps for cell phones and tablets, just as they do to other software, music and writings," said US Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.
"These laws protect and encourage the hard work and ingenuity of software developers entering this growing and important part of our economy. We will continue to seize and shut down websites that market pirated apps, and to pursue those responsible for criminal charges if appropriate." µ