The FBI has seized domains belonging to sites involved in pre-release music piracy. ShareBeast.com and AlbumJams.com now display the infamous Department of Justice banner informing visitors that the sites are being investigated for criminal copyright infringement. The RIAA welcomed the news, describing the takedowns as a "huge win."
As efforts to hinder file-sharing sites gather pace around the world, in Europe in particular, criminal actions in the U.S. remain relatively rare.
Home to the very Hollywood studios and major recording labels pressing for tough measures elsewhere, the United States has taken somewhat of a backseat, with only sporadic criminal actions to report in the past few years.
This past Friday, however, U.S. authorities say they took action against a pair of sites involved in music piracy. According to the RIAA, ShareBeast.com and AlbumJams.com were responsible for the distribution of “a massive library” of popular albums and tracks. Notably, the sites are blamed for offering “thousands of songs” that hadn’t yet enjoyed their official release.
On Friday, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seizure notices appeared on both sites, suggesting that the authorities concluded that immediate domain seizures were required to bring ongoing copyright infringement to an end.
According to the RIAA, ShareBeast was the largest illegal file-sharing site operating in the United States and recent IP addresses do suggest that at some point the file-hosting site was hosted in Illinois.
However, when compared to other household file-sharing names the site’s traffic stats were pretty modest. In fact, as can be seen from the chart below, the site had been on a serious decline for some months already.